E2 Visa vs EB-5 Visa – The 7 Key Differences

E2 Visa vs. EB-5 Visa

The E2 visa and the EB-5 visa are both great options to consider if you are an investor or entrepreneur looking to come to the US.

 

At first glance, both of these visas appear to be very similar. Both visas allow you to come and work in the US based on making an investment in a US business.

 

Yet, both of these visas are very different in many ways.

 

The right visa for you will depend on your particular immigration goals and your individual circumstances.

 

This article will go over the 7 main differences between the E2 visa and the EB-5 visa.

 

When you are finished reading, you should have a better understanding of which visa is best for you.

 

If you have any questions about any of the points we cover, feel free to email me at Michael@AshooriLaw.com. I’m here for you.

 

Now, lets get started…

Roadmap of what we will cover:

 

1. Nonimmigrant vs. Immigrant Visa

 

2. Nationality Requirement

 

3. Minimum Investment Amount

 

4. Job Creation

 

5. Source of Funds

 

6. Timeline

 

7. Work Authorization

 

1. Nonimmigrant vs. Immigrant Visa

 

The first major difference between the E2 visa and the EB-5 visa is that the E2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa, and the EB-5 visa is an immigrant visa.

 

Nonimmigrant visas are temporary and do not directly lead to a green card.

 

Immigrant visas lead to a green card and lawful permanent residence in the US.

 

This means that with an EB-5 visa you are eligible to get a green card and become a lawful permanent resident.

 

With an E2 visa, you can still live and work in the United States while you are in lawful status, but your visa will not directly lead to a green card. In order to go from an E2 visa to a green card, you will need to “adjust status” to an immigrant visa status, or apply for an immigrant visa.

 

Also, because the E2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa, you are required to have the “intent to depart” the US once your E2 status ends.

 

The EB-5 visa does not require you to have the intention of leaving the US.

 

2. Nationality Requirement

 

The next major difference between the EB-5 visa and the E2 visa has to do with your nationality.

 

The E2 visa is only available to people possessing the nationality of a country with an E2 treaty with the US.

 

To check whether your country has an E2 treaty with the US, you can visit the US Department of State website here:

 

https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/fees/treaty.html

 

I’ve also typed out the list of countries here:

 

Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Taiwan, Colombia, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Kinshasa), Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia.

 

There are quite a few major countries that do not have E2 treaties with the United States, including:

 

  • China
  • Russia
  • Brazil
  • India

 

This means that nationals from countries that do not have E2 treaties with the US are not eligible for an E2 visa.

 

On the other hand, the EB-5 visa has no nationality requirement. You can be a national from any country and be eligible for an EB-5 visa.

 

3. Minimum Investment Amount

 

The next major difference between an E2 visa and an EB-5 visa has to do with you minimum investment amount.

 

For an EB-5 visa, you are required to invest a minimum of $1 million in a US business. If you invest in a “targeted employment area” you can qualify to invest a reduced amount of $500,000.

 

A targeted employment area is an area of high unemployment or a rural area.

 

On the other hand, the E2 visa does not have a set minimum investment amount. To get an E2 visa, you need to invest a “substantial” amount in a US business. The regulations do not clearly define a set minimum amount that is considered substantial.

 

Instead, the minimum investment amount for an E2 visa is based on a “proportionality test.”

 

This means that, for an E2 visa, the amount you invest will be compared to the total amount of a comparable established business.

 

For lower cost businesses, your investment is expected to be a larger proportion of the total established business cost. For higher cost businesses, your investment can be a lower proportion of the overall established business cost.

 

This concept can be confusing.

 

As a rule of thumb, we recommend that your investment should not be less than $50,000 for an E2 visa.

 

4. Job Creation

 

The next major difference between the E2 visa and the EB-5 visa has to do with job creation.

 

To get an EB-5 visa, you are required to create 10 full-time jobs for US workers. These jobs must be created before you get your permanent green card.

 

To get an E2 visa, there is no formal requirement for you to create jobs.

 

Instead, to get an E2 visa, you must show that the business you are investing in is not “marginal.”

 

A marginal business is a business that does not have the present or future capacity to generate enough income to provide more than a minimal living for the E2 investor and their family.

 

So to meet the marginality requirement for an E2 visa, you can show that your business will generate enough income to provide more than a minimum living for you and your family.

 

You could also meet the marginality requirement by showing that your business will have the need to hire US workers and therefore have a positive impact on the US economy.

 

So for an E2 visa, you can show US job creation but it is not necessary the same way it is for an EB-5 visa.

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5. Source of Funds

 

For the E2 visa and the EB-5 visa, you are required to show that your investment capital was earned lawfully.

 

Some examples of lawful sources of funds are:

  • Earnings from lawful employment
  • Earnings from the sale of a property
  • Earnings from the sale of a business
  • A Gift
  • A loan
  • And many others

 

While both the E2 visa and the EB-5 visa require that your funds come from a lawful source, the difference is in how strictly this requirement is enforced.

 

To get an EB-5 visa, the lawful source of funds requirement is scrutinized more heavily than for an E2 visa.

 

For an EB-5 visa, you should be prepared to provide a lot of documentation proving exactly how your funds were obtained.

 

6. Timeline

 

The next major difference between the E2 visa and the EB-5 visa has to do with the length of time it takes to get the visa.

 

It takes much longer to get an EB-5 visa than it takes to get an E2 visa.

 

See below for a detailed explanation:

 

The EB-5 process is a very long and multi-step process:

 

Step 1 — I-526 Processing

  • The first step to get an EB-5 visa is to file a Form I-526.
  • It currently takes about 18 months on average for USCIS to process an I-526.

 

Step 2 — Adjustment of Status or Visa Processing

  • The second step to get an EB-5 visa is to “adjust status” or go through consular processing.
  • Adjustment of Status: takes about 6 months
  • Consular Processing: takes about 8 to 12 months

 

Step 3 — Conditional Lawful Permanent Residency:

  • After you complete Step 2, you get a 2 year conditional green card.

 

Step 4 — I-829 Processing

  • 3 months before your conditional green card expires, you are supposed to file a Form I-829 to become an unconditional green card holder.
  • The current processing time for the Form I-829 is roughly 2.5 years.

 

As you can see, the EB-5 process is long and takes multiple steps.

 

On the other hand, the E2 visa is much quicker and the process is easier. 

 

There are 2 ways to apply for an E2:

  • Change of Status
  • Visa Processing

 

Change of Status:

  • A Change of Status is done entirely in the US.
  • The regular processing time for a Change of Status is about 3 months
  • You can pay an additional fee for Premium Processing to get your application processed in 15 days.
  • These are the forms that your attorney will file:
  • Form I-129 as well as the E Supplement
  • Form I-539 for your dependents

 

Visa Processing:

  • Visa Processing is done in a US Consulate abroad
  • This process takes about 3 months
  • These are the forms that your attorney will file:
  • Form DS-160
  • DS-156 E
  • DS-160s for your dependents

 

7. Work Authorization

 

The next major difference between the E2 visa and the EB-5 visa has to do with your ability to work in the US.

 

Both visas authorize you to work in the US.

 

The difference is in the extent to which you can work.

 

E2 Visa

  • With an E2 visa, as the principal investor, you are only allowed to work for the E2 business.
  • You are required to come to the US to “direct and develop” the E2 business.
  • Your spouse can apply for work authorization to work for any company.

 

EB-5 Visa

  • With an EB-5 visa, you are authorized to work for any company.
  • You are still required to “engage in the management” of the EB-5 business. But you can work for other companies as well.
  • Your spouse can also work for any company.

 

Conclusion:

 

There are 7 main differences between the E2 visa and the EB-5 visa:

 

1. The E2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa. The EB-5 visa is an immigrant Visa.

 

2. The E2 visa is only available to people who possess the nationality of a country with an E2 treaty with the US. The EB-5 visa is not limited to certain countries.

 

3. The EB-5 visa requires that you make a minimum investment of $500,000. The E2 visa has no minimum investment amount, but requires that you invest a “substantial” amount of capital.

 

4. The EB-5 visa requires that you create 10 full-time jobs for US workers. The E2 visa has no job creation requirement. Instead, the E2 visa requires that your business not be “marginal.”

 

5. Both the E2 visa and the EB-5 visa require that the source of your investment funds be lawful. For the EB-5 visa, this requirement is enforced more strictly.

 

6. Getting an E2 visa is much faster than getting an EB-5 visa. The E2 visa can be processed in as little as 15 days with premium processing. The EB-5 visa currently takes about 2 years to process.

 

7. With an E2 visa you, as the principal E2 investor, can only work for the E2 company. With an EB-5 visa, you can work for any company.

 

__________

 

Now that you’ve read the 7 differences between the E2 visa and the EB-5 visa, you should have a better idea about which visa is best for you.

 

Still, before you decide on which visa you will apply for, I highly recommend consulting with an experienced immigration lawyer.

 

An immigration lawyer can help you pick the best visa option based on your individual goals and circumstances.

 

You may find out that there is a visa option that better suits your needs than either an E2 or EB-5 visa.

 

An immigration lawyer can also give you an idea of how likely it is that your application will be successful.

 

Ashoori Law is a full-service immigration law firm focused on helping investors and entrepreneurs get visas to the United States.

 

We would be happy to answer any questions you have. Feel free to reach me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com

 

Helping investors and entrepreneurs succeed is one of my passions and I would love to help you as well!

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I had the privilege of being represented by Ashoori Law in filing for a re-entry permit. They were highly exceptional, professional, detailed and well versed with immigration law. I was extremely pleased with their services especially how they... followed up with USCIS and gave me constant feedback. Ashoori Law works diligently on your behalf , and I truly felt like I was their only client.Thank you for the outstanding service .read more
Nupur Dave
02:36 10 Apr 21
I used Ashoori law for my permit application. What I loved about working with them is the care that they took of me and my case. They were genuinely interested in helping me. They were responsive and give me almost personalised attention by... answering all my questions in detail.I also loved the way they manage the cases Through a dashboard where you can see the latest status of your case. It really helped me access the status of my application at any time I wanted.Their fee was very reasonable. Their understanding of the legal implications of my application was comprehensive. I intend to continue to use their services in the future. 👍read more
Ricardo de Santiago
22:44 02 Apr 21
Ashoori Law firm provided outstanding service to my immigration need. Lahaina Araneta, Esq. helped me obtain the highly sough-after TN Visa as a Management Consultant and I couldn't be more grateful. The staff is very friendly, responsive, and... knowledgeable. I highly recommend this firm.read more
Zohir Berkane
16:14 25 Mar 21
Miss Karla was really nice and very helpful. She was answering all my questions and gave me many advices. Miss Karla, thank you so much, you made my day.
Jane Lopez
17:08 19 Mar 21
The best Law Firm I have ever called. Very friendly Staff. Was able to answer my inquiries right away. And was able to solved my Problem. Thank you so much Ashoori Law.
Elsha Shaju
22:01 11 Mar 21
I would highly recommend the firm Ashoori Law for any immigration cases or concerns and had a great experience with, Mr.Rohit Srinivasa. I am very much satisfied and will look forward working with them in future for any related cases. Best Wishes to... the entire team and sincere thanks for all your efforts.read more
Ravil Sharma
04:25 11 Mar 21
Ashoori Law were able to accommodate me quickly enough to meet my deadlines. They have been helpful throughout the entire process, answered many questions and always got back to my emails or voice messages in a timely manner. Michael and his team... are professional. I came across them after not completely satisfied with the work of my previous immigration law firm as they were cheaper. I then teamed up with Ashoori law and saw a huge difference from the first consultation and continue to see that standard throughout. I highly recommend to anyone to chose Ashoori law, it can be a daunting experience if not handled properly. However Michael’s team have done so many times before will manage to take the stress out and take care of business at hand.read more
Donna Hua
23:59 10 Mar 21
The team has all the right ingredients to success: Knowledgeable, responsive, efficient and informative. What more could you ask for?
Mahendra Satya
22:27 05 Mar 21
Initial consultation was great, able to clear my doubts in single shot, thanks Karla
Shaheen Ali
19:05 05 Mar 21
I am Canadian born citizen who had a general question in regards to moving to the US. I spoke to Karla Samayoa. I must say my consultation experience was nothing but exceptional. I had a general inquiry on the preferred methods of obtaining a visa... with dual intent. Karla was extremely helpful and answer any question I had from her. For anyone is not sure which path they should take in terms of immigration, book a free consultation with Ashoori Law. Ask for Karla, she is hands down the best person to ask for advice.read more
Susan Borzou
03:41 05 Mar 21
I couldn't be more blessed by finding Ashoori Law on google. Mr. Ehsan is so professional and helpes his clients from the heart, which was genuinely precious for me. I am also thankful for the bunch of useful videos they have on youtube 😇
Sarbjit Singh
04:49 25 Feb 21
Michael Ashoori is the Quickest ANSWERING Immigration Lawyer in the entire USA, even it’s 08:38 pm In west cost Los Angels and I texted him thru google and he immediately replied to me Question and answer booked my Free appointment for tomorrow... which is gonna be February 25 ,Well I feel very positive about it so let’s see what happens TomorrowJust want to sayThank you MichaelBestSabiread more
Ale
00:03 24 Feb 21
Karla Samayoa was very knowledgeable regarding my case and gave me thorough advise. She was very professional and kind. I will definitely look of Ashoori Law's help should I have a case to proceed further. I recommend to contact them for your legal... case regarding immigration.read more
Harim
01:10 10 Feb 21
Ashoori Law was very helpful throughout the whole process of applying for a travel document (re-entry permit). I asked them to process my case ASAP and they tried their best to expedite the process. They were informative and responsive. The most... helpful part was their prompt responses to my emails, especially given the pandemic situation. Also, their online system for filling out necessary documents was convenient and allowed me to easily track my case status. Overall, I definitely recommend working with them!read more
Natasha Methwani
00:49 10 Feb 21
We are really impressed with their services. Really professional, knowledgeable, up to date with all immigrantation changes. Our case got approved. We will recommend them for any immigration services.
Jaskiran Dhillon
17:05 03 Feb 21
My friend Ujjwal recommended Mr. Rohit Srinivasa. Had an amazing consultation with Rohit. He was very helpful and kind. He gave me ample time, guidance and resolved all my queries. I am looking forward to work with Ashoori Law Firm. Keep it up,... Rohit. Good Luck.read more
Emily S.
16:00 26 Jan 21
When I decided to engage an immigration attorney in December, I knew I needed someone that had a track record of successful execution, had a support team that could collaborate to expedite the timeline, communicated professionally, and most... importantly, was confident in my ability to get the case approved.I interviewed thirteen highly experienced immigration attorneys that were recommended by my extensive business network. I came across many issues. First of all, I was quoted astronomically high rates with long timelines. I was recommended visas that did not fit my needs, which would ultimately result in more lengthy filings and high fees. Many of these attorneys had their own private practice where they had a bias towards one type of visa they were specialized in, so they recommended immigration solutions that did not meet my profile whatsoever. Further, they did not have a strong and large enough team so they couldn’t confidently work on an expedited timeline. On the other end of the spectrum were the attorneys who worked at large firms with hundreds if not thousands of employees – they recommended the most expensive and lengthy visas, which were unrealistic for my budget and timeline.When I shared my difficulty finding an immigration attorney with a friend of mine who is a corporate lawyer in Los Angeles, he was quick to recommend Michael Ashoori. After only a few minutes of speaking to Michael on the phone for our initial consult, I knew Ashoori Law could help me with my immigration case because of their customized approach, experienced team and confidence in the visa they were recommending. Over the course of a week, I worked with his team to put together a stellar and thorough case. A few weeks later, we received an approval! Working with the Ashoori Law team on my case was a great experience! I highly recommend Ashoori Law to anyone who needs US immigration services.read more
Roberto GCB
23:38 11 Jan 21
My experience with Ashoori Law was really! Lahaina Araneta helped me through out all of my visa process and everything was really amazing. They really pay attention to every detail and try to deliver the best case possible. Totally recommend it!
Sameer Agashe
23:08 29 Dec 20
Keep up the good work!
Yousuf Dadi
02:34 29 Dec 20
I had a great experience with Ashoori law Working with Lahaina has been great. She is very professional and knowledgeable in her field. I would strongly recommend this firm. I would like to thank all team of Ashoori Law from bottom of my heart.... They respond me immediately when i need their help, I appreciate all that they have done for me.your consideration,guidance,help and time. Thanks in bunchesread more
Rhys Gray
22:07 28 Dec 20
Rohit is a credit to the company. Really took the time to listen to & understand our situation, then talked us through all of our suitable options clearly & concisely with a friendly & pressure-free manner. Absolutely would recommend to anyone who... needs help & guidance in navigating what can be an incredibly confusing processread more
karla marro
05:23 22 Dec 20
Michael and Lahaina are the best they support me from the beginning and always answering my questions and concerns and following up so I super recommend them !
3 Dots IT Solutions
18:20 07 Dec 20
I just want to say Ashoori Law firm has been the best I ever dealt with. Starting from the front desk receptionist, everybody is very professional and responsive. Lahaina is my attorney whom I worked with. She is very well organized and guided me on... the right direction towards a successful approval of H1 for my consultant. To my surprise, there wasn't a RFE at all. Thanks so much for your service and I would highly recommend them for any immigration related service.read more
Art E
18:49 30 Nov 20
After multiple, futile attempts to seek Immigration Attorneys who are knowledgeable in worker visas (specifically L1A), we were finally able to find Ashoori Law! Our first L1A case submitted to Ashoori Law was successfully APPROVED. Despite the... most recent restrictions and suspensions with worker visas, Ashoori Law was able to put forth a compelling petition. Ashoori Law's internal processing systems and network of subject matter experts makes submitting a petition much easier and understandable. Highly recommended!read more
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Michael Ashoori Headshot

Michael Ashoori, Esq.

U.S. Immigration Lawyer

I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer and I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.

Since starting my law firm, I’ve helped hundreds of people from all over the world with their immigration needs. I’m very passionate, hard-working, and committed to my clients.

Got a question? Send me an email.