Investor Visas
Unlocking Opportunities: Your Guide to U.S. Investment Visa Options

Foreign investors choose to invest in the United States because it provides an opportunity to obtain a green card through investment. If you’re willing to invest, there are several visa options that can lead you to your American dream. In this guide, we’ll explore three prominent investment-based visas: the E-1 Visa, E-2 Visa, and the EB-5 Visa.

E-1 Visa: The Treaty Trader Visa

Are you a foreign national involved in international trade and commerce? The E-1 Visa might be your ticket to the United States. This is a non-immigrant visa designed for individuals or businesses engaged in substantial trade between the U.S. and treaty countries. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Qualification: To be eligible for an E-1 Visa, you need to be a citizen of a country that has a special trade agreement with the United States.


  • Investment Requirement: There’s no specific investment amount required for this visa. Instead, your business should demonstrate a consistent and substantial volume of trade between the two countries.


  • Duration: You can renew E-1 Visas indefinitely as long as the trade continues.

Bennefits of the E-1 Visa

The E-1 Visa offers a plethora of benefits to eligible applicants. Here, we delve into some of the key advantages:

  1. Legal Employment: With an E-1 Visa, you can work legally in the United States, opening a world of professional opportunities.
  2. Unrestricted Travel: If you have an E-1 Visa, you can freely come and go from the United States, unlike some other visa holders who may have travel restrictions.
  3. Renewable Visa: You can renew the E-1 Visa indefinitely, granting you continued access to the benefits it provides. Each renewal typically spans up to two years, offering stability and flexibility in your stay.
  4. Family Inclusion: Your immediate family members, including your spouse unmarried children (those under 21), can also benefit from E-1 status. This means your children can attend school, and your spouse can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), enabling them to work in the United States.

Applying for an E-1 Visa

Inside the United States:

If a treaty trader is already in the United States legally, they may be eligible to request a change of status. Navigating these processes can be complex, so it’s wise to consider professional legal assistance. Our immigration experts are here to guide you through these steps efficiently and effectively.

Outside the United States:

If you are outside the US, you will have to apply for an E1 visa at an embassy or consulate abroad. This process can get pretty complicated.

Partnering up with an experienced immigration attorney is strongly recommended to get guidance and support throughout the application process. Your attorney will help you collect and organize all the required documentation for your application. This ensures everything is in order and increases your chances of success.

Keep in mind that different consulates can have their own specific rules about the documents they require and how they want them arranged.

E-2 Visa: Investor Visa

The E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa category based on investment. This visa permits foreign nationals to reside and work in the United States by making an investment in either a new or established U.S. business.

  • Qualification: E-2 Visas are available to citizens of countries that have a qualifying treaty with the United States. Fortunately, the list of eligible countries is extensive, making this visa accessible to many. See the current list of countries here.


  • Investment Requirement: There’s no specific investment amount set, but investment must be substantial and at risk. It should also be in a real, operating enterprise.


  • Duration: E-2 Visas are typically issued with an initial stay of up to two years, which can be extended through renewal. However, the beneficiaries are required to maintain the intent to leave the United States when their status concludes or is terminated.

Bennefits of the E-2 Visa

The E-2 Visa offers a range of benefits that can help you achieve your business goals in the United States:

Flexibility: Unlike some other visa categories, the E-2 Visa allows you to operate and manage your business actively. This hands-on approach can be crucial for entrepreneurs looking to oversee their investments closely.

Spousal Employment: E-2 Visa holders’ spouses are eligible for employment authorization, which means they can work in the United States. This can significantly enhance your family’s financial stability while pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams.

Renewability: Initially, E-2 Visas are typically issued for two to five years, but they are renewable indefinitely, as long as the qualifying business remains operational and meets the visa requirements.

Investment Portfolio: E-2 Visa holders can diversify their investments in various U.S. businesses, providing opportunities for growth and financial stability.

How long does it take to process an E-2 Visa?

The processing timeline for an E-2 visa varies depending on the investor’s location. If the investor is already in the USA, the typical processing time is approximately 5 months. For those seeking expedited service, premium processing is available for $2,500, with a turnaround time of 15 days. If applying from outside of the US through a Consulate, E-2 visa processing times can range from 2 weeks to 4 months.

EB-5 Visa: Immigrant Investor Visa Program

If your goal is to obtain a Green Card through investment, the EB-5 Visa is your direct path. This program was created for immigrant investors seeking permanent residency in the U.S by investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business that meets program requirements. This not only lets investors pursue their American dreams but also contributes to the growth of the U.S. economy.

Fundamental EB-5 Visa Requirements:

To be eligible for an EB-5 visa, you must fulfill two fundamental criteria:

  • Make an investment in a U.S. business: Your investment must meet the minimum amount either $1,050,000 or $800,000, depending on the location of the investment (Targeted Employment Area or TEA). 
  • Have the intention to create or sustain at least 10 full-time jobs that can be filled by U.S. workers. 


Duration: Initially, you’ll receive a conditional Green Card, which can later be converted to a permanent one.

EB-5 Program Pathways

Direct Investment:

  • Under this pathway, an investor directly invests in a new commercial enterprise that they own.
  • The minimum investment required for direct investments is typically $1.05 million. 
  • However, if the investment is made in a targeted employment area (TEA), where there is high unemployment or in a rural area, the minimum investment is reduced to $800,000.
  • The investor must actively participate in the day-to-day management or policy formation of the business.
  • The business must create or preserve a minimum of 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years of the investor’s admission to the U.S.

Regional Center Investment:

This pathway allows investors to invest in a USCIS-designated Regional Center. Regional Centers are entities, often focused on specific industries or geographic regions, that pool investor funds into large-scale projects. 

  • The minimum amount required for this pathway is $800,000. 
  • Investors do not have to be actively involved in the day-to-day management of the business under this pathway.
  • Job creation can be both direct and indirect, and the investor can count jobs created by the project as a whole rather than just jobs directly created by their investment.

What is a Targeted Employment Area?

A targeted employment area, at the time of investment, can be either:

A rural area; refers to any place outside designated metropolitan areas or cities/towns with populations of 20,000 or more according to the latest U.S. census.

An area with a history of high unemployment, which is defined as having an unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average unemployment rate.

Important Reminder

U.S. immigration authorities thoroughly examine the legality and legitimacy of the funds’ source. Any uncertainty or suspicion concerning the origin of the funds can result in delays or denials in your EB-5 application.

How long does it take to get an EB-5 visa?

  1. The initial Immigrant Petition (Form I-526) can take between 29.5 and 61 months, as of August 2023, based on USCIS estimates.
  2. If you’re already in the USA and applying for a Green Card through the I-485 application to Adjust Status, it can take anywhere from 7 to 29 months, depending on the service center.
  3. If you’re outside of the US and going through the National Visa Center and Consular process, it typically takes about 6 to 12 months.


Please keep in mind that USCIS processing times can change due to the number of pending applications and the annual volume of new applications for each visa category.

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