EB5 Visa Case Study: From E2 Visa to Green Card
In this captivating case study, we delve into the story of one of our clients who embarked on a journey to transition from an E2 Visa to a green card based on EB5 investment. Our client’s determination and our firm’s innovative approach ultimately led to a successful outcome. Join us as we explore the challenges faced and the strategies employed throughout this fascinating immigration process.
Introduction to Investment Avenues Through Immigration
The E2 and EB5 are both investment mechanisms that allow those seeking entry into the U.S. for business purposes to live and work in valid status. However, there are several key differences between the two. The E2 is a nonimmigrant visa that allows temporary status in the U.S. in exchange for a significant investment in a U.S business. From start to finish, the application can be filed and completed within a matter of 6-8 weeks allowing someone to live and work in the U.S. immediately. It does not, however, provide a pathway to lawful permanent resident (LRP) status. The EB5, on the other hand, is an immigrant visa with a direct pathway to a green card and U.S. citizenship. Unlike the E2, the EB5 does not allow for direct and immediate work authorization within the U.S. until someone reaches the stage where they can qualify for a work authorization card. Because of this key difference, applicants applying for a green card through the EB5 mechanism from within the U.S. are typically already on an underlying nonimmigrant visa used for work and status purposes, like an E2, H1B, O1, etc.
From E2 Visa to EB5 Green Card
Our client, a printer store owner within the U.S., sought our expertise to explore the possibilities of converting his nonimmigrant E2 Visa to an EB5 green card. While his E2 Visa allowed him to work and manage his business in the U.S., it did not provide a direct pathway to permanent resident status. While appreciating his strong desire to become a U.S. permanent resident, we initially encountered difficulties in formulating a viable strategy.
The primary obstacle in strategy formation was that our client had very limited cash on hand for investment. While substantial revenue was generated by his E2 business, our client used those funds to acquire more inventory, particularly high-end commercial printers. This posed a dilemma, as the act of reinvesting revenue into inventory could be considered retained earnings rather than a qualifying investment for the EB5 process.
Motivated by our client’s unwavering determination, we brainstormed innovative approaches to reclassify these assets and distinguish them from retained earnings. After careful consideration, we devised a plan to establish a new legal entity classified as a Limited Liability Company (LLC). By transferring the assets, including the printers, from our client’s sole proprietorship to the newly formed LLC, the transfer could be considered an investment for EB5 purposes. The LLC would then serve as the designated new commercial enterprise (NCE) required for the EB5 green card.
Navigating the Immigration Process
The first step involved amending our client’s E2 nonimmigrant status, as it had only been approved for his sole proprietorship. We filed an amendment notifying USCIS of the transition from a sole proprietorship to an LLC. This E2 amendment was a crucial step to ensuring compliance with the immigration regulations and underscores the fact that although the nonimmigrant visa (E2, H1B, etc.) someone may be under is separate from the EB5 process, any aspect of the EB5 that involves material changes to a key provision of the underlying nonimmigrant visa should be analyzed for compliance review.
To demonstrate the investment aspect of the new EB5 submission, we meticulously documented all the purchase orders and associated inventory values. These records provided concrete evidence that our client had invested capital in the form of printers, fulfilling the investment requirement. This innovative approach allowed us to successfully classify the printers as a qualifying investment.
While the EB5 process can be protracted, our client’s persistence paid off. After enduring months of waiting, we received the joyful news that our client’s Form I-526 had been approved. The I-526 immigrant petition is a critical first step in the process that substantiates an individual’s compliance with the EB5 program’s criteria, including the investment aspect. Form I-526 is the meat of the EB5 green card application packet and the foundation upon which the entire structure rests. Although further steps remain, overcoming this significant hurdle marks a significant milestone in the immigration journey.
This inspiring case study highlights the importance of creative problem solving and unwavering determination in navigating the complexities of the immigration system. Through our client’s eagerness to find a solution and our innovative approach, we are in the process of successfully converting an E2 Visa to an EB5 Visa, unlocking the pathway to permanent residency. We celebrate our client’s achievement and encourage others facing similar challenges to persevere and explore all possibilities. If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please feel free to send us an email. Thank you for joining us. Stay tuned as we share more inspiring immigration stories.
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Michael Ashoori, Esq.
President of Ashoori Law
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.