The E-2 nonimmigrant treaty investor visa classification allows a national of a treaty country to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.
Investors who are not from any of the countries on the treaty list and wish to invest and live in the United States may want to consider obtaining citizenship in a treaty country first, which can open the door to a U.S. E-2 visa. Upon issuance of a visa by a U.S. embassy or consulate, you may seek admission at a U.S. port of entry as an E-2 nonimmigrant. You must be coming to the United States to develop and direct the enterprise in which you are investing, and the investment must be substantial.
Two good examples of investment programs in treaty countries that can lead to citizenship in those countries are Turkey’s and Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs. Highlights are summarized below.
Turkey’s CBI program offers the following investment categories:
- A three-year minimum fixed capital investment of USD $500,000 or equivalent foreign currency or Turkish lira;
- Acquiring a property worth a minimum of USD $250,000 or equivalent with a title deed restriction on its resale for at least three years;
- Creating jobs for at least 50 people;
- Depositing at least USD $500,000 or equivalent in banks operating in Turkey with the condition not to withdraw the same for at least three years;
- Buying at least USD $500,000 or equivalent of government bonds with the condition that they cannot be sold for at least three years; or
- Buying at least USD $500,000 or equivalent in a real estate investment fund share or venture capital investment fund share with the condition that they cannot be sold for at least three years.
To apply, a person must obtain a certificate of eligibility, obtain a residence permit, and then apply for citizenship.
Grenada’s CBI program makes it possible for those who invest in Grenada’s economy or real estate development to gain citizenship to live or work in Grenada. Applicants must choose between two potential routes to citizenship:
- A substantial contribution to the National Transformation Fund (NTF). Applicants who choose the NTF route must make a one-time contribution to the NTF and must use the services of an Authorized Local Agent. Under the NTF route, applicants may either apply immediately for citizenship or apply for permanent residence first and then apply for citizenship at a later stage; or
- A substantial investment in an approved real estate project in Grenada. This process begins with the Citizenship by Investment Committee, which reviews viable projects and recommends them to the Minister, who decides which to approve. The vast majority of approved projects are real estate developments on the island of Grenada, including luxury hotels, resorts and villas. Applicants must make their investments through an Authorized Local Agent. Investments must be maintained for at least three years from the date on which citizenship is granted.
The minimum investment for the NTF route is USD $150,000 for the main applicant/investor, and additional USD$50,000 for up to three dependents. The minimum for the real estate route is USD $350,000 for a sole investor (reduced to $220,000 when investing with a second party). There are fees and costs to be paid as part of this process, which are not small. For example, for the NTF route, there is an application fee of USD $1,500, a processing fee of $1,500, and a “due diligence fee” of $5,000. For the real estate route, there is a “government fee” of USD $50,000, along with the processing and due diligence fees.
- E-2 Treaty Investors webpage, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/e-2-treaty-investors
- Treaty Trader & Investor Visas webpage, U.S. Department of State, https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/employment/treaty-trader-investor-visa-e.html
- List of treaty countries, https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/fees/treaty.html
- “Guide to Foreign Citizens’ Acquisition of Turkish Citizenship,” Investment Office, Presidency of the Republic of Turkey, https://www.invest.gov.tr/en/library/publications/lists/investpublications/guide-to-foreign-citizens-acquisition-of-turkish-citizenship.pdf
- Grenada CBI program, https://www.cbi.gov.gd/grenada-citizenship/type-of-citizenship/
Contact your WR attorney for advice in specific situations.
WR is a world leader in global mobility using WRapid, the firm’s immigration management system Powered by Salesforce, to facilitate the movement of talent worldwide.