With the price increase of the EB-5 (Investor visa program) to $900,000, immigration to the U.S. has become even more challenging. Family-based immigration takes about 10 to 15 years, and the Green Card Lottery is just a matter of luck. With the increased cost and wait times of EB-5, more investors are looking at an E-2 visa to immigrate to America.

What is the E-2 visa?
The E-2 treaty investor visa allows foreign entrepreneurs from treaty nations to enter into the United States to develop and direct an enterprise that they have invested in. About 63,000 Treaty trader or Investor visas were issued in the past year.

The E-2 visa may seem like the perfect solution with benefits such as fast processing and the ability to extend the visa indefinitely. The E-2 visa also permits the applicant the ability to travel freely. The investor may remain in the U.S. as long as the E-2 is valid, and their children can attend school. It also allows the investor’s spouse to work in the U.S upon obtaining an EAD.

Everything sounds great so far, so what is the catch?
The biggest downside with the E-2 visa is that it is a non-immigrant visa. The visa was designed for foreign entrepreneurs to come to America for a short while, grow trade between their countries, and then leave again. While it can be renewed indefinitely, it does not offer a direct path to a Green Card or Citizenship.

This is great for some people who do not want American permanent residency and plan to leave in a few years. For other people, this can lead to big problems, especially for those who are unaware of the implications.

The issue of ‘ageing out.’
The first issue surrounds the children of the applicants. When applying for an E-2 visa, the spouse and children of the applicant are also granted a visa, just like other U.S. visas. Given that the E-2 visa is indefinitely renewable, investors can spend many years in the U.S., building their business, creating jobs, and forming new roots. Children of E-2 visa holders who accompany their parents at a young age live most of their lives in the U.S. and can attend schooling with no extra visas.

However, these children have no route to permanent residency in the U.S. and must leave before their 21st birthday. This inability to continue under the parent’s visa after the age of 21 is what is meant by ‘ageing out.’ The child is forced to return to their country of origin where they may have little to no employment prospects and very few familial ties. This is not the case for immigrant visas like an EB-5 or EB-1c. A small amount of initial planning goes a long way in preventing something like this from happening.

What can you do to avoid this?
As mentioned, the E-2 visa can be great for those who plan to live in America for a few years. For others who intend to stay permanently, the E-2 visa needs to be tied with an immigrant visa like the EB-5 or EB-1c visas. Without an immigrant visa, the applicant and their family will ultimately have to leave America.

What other options are available?
The best and fastest means to ensure a Green Card for your children is the EB-1c (Immigration through Acquisition) program. This program offers a direct path to a Green Card and, ultimately, citizenship for the investor and their family. The EB-1c visa grants you a green card in as little as eight months.

Is the EB-1c program impacted by the new Executive Order?
The President’s recent Executive Order on immigration will impact the everyday U.S. Immigration life for many people around the world, whether they are in the US already or they were planning to start their visa process in the near future.

The good news is that there is very little effect on the Immigration through Acquisition program. Immigration through Acquisition utilizes the EB-1c immigration visa to get business owners to America on a Green Card.
The current processing times for EB-1c visas is the shortest it has been in a long time, currently sitting at 8-14 months.

The process, however, has affected those who wished to come to America sooner, as no L-1A visas will be issued until January the 1st. For those who aren’t aware, the L-1A visa is a temporary visa that allows business owners to come to America while their EB-1c is being processed. An L-1A could normally be processed and approved in 1-2 months allowing for a very fast move to the US. This is no longer an option until the 1st of January, 2021.

Reach out to us to learn more about the Immigration Through Acquisition program!