When demand drives supply, people find ways to accomplish their goals. This situation is the case for Chinese & Russian investors who have been seeking to come to the U.S. via the EB-5 investment visa program. Long processing times and uncertainties about the future of the program have become an obstacle for Chinese investors – especially those who wish to come to the USA in a short period.
Accelerated Access via the E-1 & E-2 Visas Program
The E-1 and E-2 visas are intended to facilitate the temporary work authorization of non-U.S. citizens, to advance trade and investments between the U.S. and other nations with which the U.S. has signed treaties. Investors, business owners, managers and essential employees may obtain Trade Investment Visa and perform work here in the United States.
By providing a way for substantial traders and investors to establish businesses in the U.S, this stimulates the exchange of goods and services between the U.S. and other nations. Aliens who are citizens of treaty signing countries are referred to as Treaty Foreign Nationals, or TFNs, and are eligible to receive an E-1 or E-2 visa, which allows those individuals to live and work lawfully in the United States for an extended time.
An E-1 or E-2 visa is for people who qualify in one or more of the following categories:
- Managers, executives, or specialists for a company operating in the U.S.
- Key staff managing a U.S. branch of an affiliate.
- Personnel sent by a treaty nation company to establish a U.S. company.
Apparent Obstacles to Immigration
There are two apparent obstacles for Chinese & Russian investors to using the E-2 visa.
- The E-2 visa is a temporary visa, not eligible for a Green Card.
- Mainland China & Russia are not TFN nations.
- Any non-immigrant visa holder may find a green card category for which they qualify and apply for a green card. The “restriction” that is often cited for E-2 visas is not really an exception at all. Applicants holding an E-2 visa may renew indefinitely every two years. This will allow the applicant to remain in the U.S. until the Green Card is issued.
- A viable option for Chinese & Russian investors is available by what has been called a “Caribbean Citizenship by Investment” using similar programs available in Nevis, St. Kitts, Santa Lucia, Costa Rica, Grenada and several other Caribbean countries.
Access Through Grenada (as a sample of the Caribbean Citizenship by Investment)
Grenada is an island nation in the Caribbean north of Venezuela. The country enjoys a highly respected relationship with the USCIS and is a qualifying treaty nation. Chinese & Russian nationals who desire relatively quick access to the U.S. may apply for citizenship in Grenada at less expense and in much less time than it takes for EB-5 processing. “There are two ways of acquiring citizenship of Grenada through economic means:
- through a gratuitous contribution to the Island Transformation Fund Donation (minimum amount $200,000); or
- through the purchase of real estate (minimum cost $350,000).”
The gratuitous contribution method takes approximately 12 weeks to obtain Granada citizenship.
Once citizenship has been obtained in Grenada, the investor may apply for an E-2 visa, a process that takes only about two months.
The result is that a Chinese orRussian investor may obtain an E-2 visa in less than six months. That is considerably less time than the two or more years (sometimes up to eight years) for processing an EB-5 visa.
Another benefit of the Granada Workaround is that E-2 visas obtained through Grenada are for five years, three years longer than a standard E-2 visa.
Advice for Interested Investors
While this process is much more expedient, it is also much more complicated. The information here is a summary. Every step includes understanding technical and timing details that require the expertise of qualified immigration attorneys. No investor should attempt to attempt to utilize the process on his or her own.
If you have questions, we have answers. Contact us. We are here to help you.