Investor Based Visas

EB-5 Investors Visa

The EB-5 visa for Immigrant Investors is a United States visa created by the Immigration Act of 1990.

There are essentially two EB-5 programs: the Individual and the Regional Investment Center (RIC) program. To qualify under the Individual program, the applicant must meet the following three basic requirements:


  • Investment in a new or existing commercial enterprise owned and operated by the individual investor
  • Investment of at least $1 million (or $500,000 in certain cases) into the business
  • Creation of employment for at least 10 full-time U.S. workers
  • The investment may consist of various forms of capital, including cash, equipment, inventory, property, and other tangible equivalents. An investment amount of $1 million is generally the minimum.

However, an investment of $500,000 is acceptable if the business is situated in a targeted employment area (TEA). The second program—The Immigrant Investor Pilot Program—was created by Section 610 of Public Law 102-395 on October 6, 1992. The investment could only be received by an economic unit defined as a Regional Center. The Regional Investment Center program is ideal for the investor who does not wish to actively operate a business in the U.S.


An EB-5 regional center is defined as any economic unit, public or private, engaged in the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, increased domestic capital investment, and requires formal regional center designation by USCIS.

E1/E-2 Treaty Trades and Investors

An E-1 Visa is known as a “Treaty Trader” visa. The general qualifications necessary to obtain an E-1 visa include:


  • Be a national of a country that has a trade treaty with the U.S.;
  • Carry on “substantial trade,” which can include goods, services, banking, transportation, technology, etc.;
  • Maintain a “continuous flow of sizable trade items,” but no minimum monetary value is required
  • Carry on “principal trade” between the U.S. and home country (e.g., if you are a Mexican national, over 50% of your international trade is between the U.S. and Mexico).


The initial E-1 Visa may be granted for up to two years, and the visa holder may apply for unlimited extensions in two-year increments.


Spouse and unmarried children under 21 are eligible for E-1 dependent status, and the spouse may also obtain U.S. employment authorization (work permit).

An E-2 Visa is known as a “Treaty Investor” visa.These visas are reserved for persons who seek to enter the U.S. “solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise.” General qualifications necessary are:


  • Be a national of a country with which the US maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation;
  • Have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the U.S.; and
  • Seek to enter the US to develop and direct the investment enterprise (shown by at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial or executive position).


E-2 applicants must demonstrate they will serve in the U.S. as a hands-on manager or corporate officer of the investment enterprise. E-2 provisions for employees are similar to E-1 in that they are employed as executive or “supervisory character,” and/or have “special qualifications” within the principal applicant’s company/enterprise, and must be of the same nationality as principal alien employer.

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