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A comparison of the EB-5 green card v. E-2 visa

by Cedric M. Shen

March 7, 2011 | 4:18 pm

Many people have been asking me whether they should apply for an E-2 treaty trader visa or an EB-5 green card.  I have previously discussed each one of them in my previous posts.  There are several advantages and disadvantages to each one, which I will outline in this post.  Which one is right for you depends on your specific needs and resources.

If your goal is to simply live in the United States, I would recommend an EB-5 green card through a Regional Center.  An investment of $500,000.00 gets you and your family an immediate green card without the need to start up a company or to oversee operations.

If your goal is to start up your own business operation, then an E-2 visa would be ideal unless you have a significant amount of money to invest – in which case a $1 million EB-5 green card may be appropriate.

Advantages of an E-2 visa

- Renewable indefinitely

- Smaller investment than and EB-5 green card (as little as $50,000.00 to $250,000.00)

Disadvantages of an E-2 visa

- Money must be substantial and at risk

- No path to permanent residency

- Visa expires upon termination of the business

- Unable to accept income until E-2 is granted; even though you have already put the investment at risk prior to approval

Advantages of an EB-5 green card

- Immediate residency in the U.S.

- Spouse and children under 21 obtain residency under the primary applicant’s investment

- Live, work, travel, study in the United States without any restrictions

- Residency is permanent – generally no expiration

Disadvantages of an EB-5 green card

- Higher investment amount ($500,000.00 to $1 million)

- Investment tied up for extended period of time.

This is a rather cursory overview, but hopefully you get an idea of the differences between the two.  As always, please feel free to contact me if you need more details.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Cedric M. Shen is a Los Angeles-based immigration attorney experienced in helping foreign nationals enter the United States. His law practice focuses on employment-based green...

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