The E-5 and E-2 visas are both employment-based visas within U.S. immigration law that pertain to investment. While both visas require an investment component, they have distinct requirements and purposes.
E-5 Immigrant Investor Visa (EB-5 Visa):
Purpose: The EB-5 visa, also known as the E-5 Immigrant Investor Visa, is designed for foreign investors seeking to obtain U.S. permanent residency (green card) through a significant investment in a new commercial enterprise in the United States.
Investment Amount: The EB-5 program requires a minimum investment of either $1.8 million or $900,000, depending on whether the investment is made in a standard area or a targeted employment area (TEA), respectively. The investment must create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years.
Job Creation Requirement: One of the key elements of the EB-5 program is job creation. The investor must demonstrate that the investment will lead to the creation of the required number of jobs. This can be achieved through direct investment in a new commercial enterprise or by investing in a USCIS-designated regional center, which allows for indirect job creation.
Conditional Permanent Residency: Initially, successful EB-5 applicants receive conditional permanent residency for a two-year period. After the two-year period, they must file Form I-829 to remove the conditions and obtain permanent residency without restrictions.
E-2 Treaty Investor Visa:
Purpose: The E-2 visa, known as the Treaty Investor Visa, allows individuals from certain treaty countries to enter the United States for the purpose of investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. Its primary objective is to promote trade and investment between the United States and treaty countries.
Treaty Country Eligibility: The E-2 visa is available only to nationals of countries that have signed treaties of commerce and navigation or bilateral investment treaties with the United States. The list of eligible treaty countries may change over time, and not all countries have E-2 treaty agreements.
Substantial Investment: The E-2 visa requires a substantial investment that is at risk and committed to an operating business enterprise in the United States. While there is no fixed minimum investment amount, the investment must be substantial and proportional to the business being established or acquired.
Ownership and Control: The E-2 visa requires that the investor or the investor's company from the treaty country maintains a controlling interest in the U.S. enterprise. The investment must be made with the intent to develop and direct the business, with a commitment to the active and ongoing operation of the enterprise.
Non-Immigrant Status: The E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa, meaning it does not directly lead to permanent residency. However, E-2 visa holders can renew their visa indefinitely as long as they maintain the qualifying investment and meet the requirements of the visa category.
It's important to note that the specific requirements, investment amounts, and processes for both the EB-5 and E-2 visas can vary, and eligibility depends on individual circumstances and the applicable immigration laws and regulations. Working with experienced immigration attorneys or professionals who specialize in investment-based visas can provide invaluable guidance and support throughout the application process for either visa category.