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Why An E-2 Visa May Be Better Than An EB-5 Green Card

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on November 20, 2017

There are several reasons why investor immigrants may be better off applying for E-2 visas instead of EB-5 green cards. Some of the specific advantages that E-2 visas have when compared to EB-5 green cards include:

Faster Processing Times

If investors want to speed up the processing time, which can be quite extensive for backlog applicants, they’re better off with E-2 visas. While EB-5 green cards can take between two to even eight years to process, E-2 work visas only take a few months.

Less Expensive Investment

EB-5 green cards cost as much as $500,000 for regional center projects or up to $1 million for direct investments, while E-2 visas cost around $200,000 or less.

More Control Over Funds

Another benefit that investors get with E-2s is more control of funds in the investor’s business, with less stringent due diligence. On the other hand, EB-5s offer no control of funds in third-party regional center project investments. They also require stricter due diligence and risk of loss.

Increased Travel Flexibility

E-2s don’t require applicants to maintain domicile and physical presence, whereas EB-5 green card applicants need to adhere to strict residence rules.

Lower Legal Fees

E-2s come with legal fees of between $10,000 to $20,000, while EB-5s can incur fees of anywhere between $50,000 to $70,000.

Potential Tax Advantages

E-2 holders can avoid tax on worldwide income as a nonimmigrant resident as long as they stay in the U.S. for no more than 122 days per year. Worldwide income of investors with EB-5s is taxed.

Lower Amount of Paperwork

E-2 visas entail less paperwork and investor compliance is treated with more flexibility. EB-5 holders experience more severe enforcement of compliance requirements.

Disadvantages of E-2 Visas

E-2 visas come with many benefits that EB-5 green cards lack, but there are several disadvantages that accompany them. For instance, E-2s don’t permit passive investment and applicants must work, while EB-5s offer permanent resident status with no work requirement. E-2 investors also need to renew the visa every five years, whereas EB-5 holders need to renew their permanent residence cards every ten years. Since E-2 visas do not offer any clear path to citizenship, EB-5 visas afford more long-term certainty and may be a better fit for those who wish to become U.S. citizens.