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EB-5 Investor Visa Program vs. the E-2 Investor Visa, Which One Is Better for You?June 5, 2019

The EB-5 visa might be a better choice for international entrepreneurs that are looking to start a business in the United States. The EB-5 visa is an immigrant visa, where the E-2 in a non-immigrant visa. If you are looking for a path to permanent residency in the United States for you and your family, the E-2 visa might not be the right choice. - CMB Regional Centers

The E-2 visa is available to foreign investors who make a substantial investment in a bona fide enterprise that they control. The E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa, which means it does not allow the investor to live in the United States permanently, and if they ever sold the business or had to close it due to not making enough profit, they would have to exit the U.S. The benefits of the E-2 visa is the upfront expense is a minimum of $150,000, plus legal costs, and the approval process is relatively shorter. An E-2 visa applicant, if approved, can enter the U.S. in as little as 45-90 days, once the business plan is approved. Some downsides to the E-2 visa are: You are unable to live somewhere other than where the business is located, the investor has to be at least a 51% owner of the business, and the investor is unable to work for any other employer while on the E-2 visa.

On the other hand, the EB-5 investor visa continues to grow in popularity for foreign entrepreneurs looking to immigrate permanently to the United States, since unlike the E-2 visa it provides for permanent residency in the U.S. The EB-5 program issues 10,000 visas a year to investors and their qualified family members (wife and unmarried children under 21 years old) and allows them to live and work anywhere in the U.S. The program requires the foreign investor to invest $1 million into a new commercial enterprise or a lower amount of $500,000 if the project is in a qualified targeted employment area (TEA), which is an area of high unemployment or a rural area. Additionally, the investment must create a minimum of 10 new American jobs.

There are two types of EB-5 investment options. There is the direct investment, where the investor would invest into a business that they will manage themselves and have to employ the required 10 minimum full time employees for over 2 years. The other option is the regional center program, which is the more popular option. When you invest your funds into a regional center sponsored partnership, the regional center will take care of the day to day operations and the job creation. The EB-5 visa through a regional center also allows you to live anywhere in the United States, regardless of where the project is located, since the regional center manages the day to day operations. Additionally, only regional centers are allowed to use the indirect method for job creation, which are created when the EB-5 investment capital is used in the construction phase of the project. The jobs are calculated with a job creation multiplier, which is usually the RIMS II multiplier. There are many EB-5 regional centers that exist today, but not all have been successful.

CMB Regional Centers has been involved in the EB-5 program since 1997 when our first regional center was approved, CMB Export LLC. Since then, CMB has been able to assist over 5,300 immigrant investors and their families with their immigration pursuit to the United States.

The EB-5 visa might not be for everyone, but it is one of the fastest ways to immigrate to the United States on a permanent green card. There is an upfront cost of at least $500,000, plus other associated costs. The EB-5 program is for someone that is looking to move to the United States, typically for a better education, retirement, safer communities, and different climate. If you would like more information on the EB-5 investor visa program, please contact us at,, or 309-797-1550

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