2020
Reading Time: 6 min

How Grenada citizenship helps run a business in the US and travel during the pandemic

I organise the supply of medicines to my country. With the pandemic, work has increased, and we need to expand the network of partnerships. New drugs appear almost daily, and we must keep a pulse on the industry. I even plan to open a branch in the States.

The biggest issue that slowed me down was the need to obtain visas. I’m grateful to Immigrant Invest, who helped me handle this problem in the shortest time possible.

Samuel

Samuel,

Owner of pharmaceutical companies in South Africa

Clients’ names and photos have been changed

Grenada citizenship to get an E-2 US visa

This case was provided by our expert

Albert Ioffe
Albert Ioffe

Legal and Compliance Officer

How Grenada citizenship helps run a business in the US and travel during the pandemic

Investor’s goals

Samuel is an entrepreneur from Cape Town, South Africa. He owns a network of pharmaceutical companies which supply medicines and medical equipment to South Africa from abroad, including supplies to government departments.

The burden on businesses has increased since the start of the pandemic. As countries began closing their borders, medical supplies were delayed. These circumstances required Samuel to solve two tasks at once.

1. Travel internationally during the Covid‑19 pandemic. Samuel was looking for new partners to supply the required amount of medicine on time. To arrange this, he needed to hold meetings with partners abroad: in Germany, Switzerland, England, and the US. But due to the current quarantine, the consulates of many countries were closed, and he could not obtain visas.

2. Open a branch in the United States. The factories of many international pharmaceutical manufacturers are located in the United States: Pfizer, Gilead Sciences, Johnson & Johnson, and others. American research centres have been creating innovative products for cancer treatment and other rare and severe diseases. They have recently launched the development of vaccines against coronavirus.

With its own branch in the United States, Samuel’s company will be able to communicate directly with the manufacturers, monitor the results of clinical trials and be among the first to supply new products to South Africa.

EB‑5 or E‑2 business visa to the USA: which suited Samuel best?

As a citizen of South Africa, Samuel was eligible for an EB‑5 visa to the US. This visa required at least $500,000 of business investment, but, in our practice, they often increased to about $1 million. The application was considered for 1.5—2 years, and there were more delays due to the Covid restrictions.

Changes to the conditions for obtaining an EB-5 visa

Since March 15th 2022, the minimum investment under the EB‑5 US visa has increased from $500,000 to $800,000

We suggested that Samuel consider another option: applying for an E‑2 investor visa. One must also make a business investment to get this visa, but the minimum threshold is not set. In our experience, investors spend $100,000+. A 5-year business plan is required as well.

It takes 2—5 months to obtain an E‑2 visa, but the application will be considered within 15 days if you pay an additional fee.

The E‑2 multiple-entry visa is issued for five years. It is extended if the business generates income. During the visa validity, the holder can repeatedly enter and leave the United States, as well as live, work, carry out business and study there.

One caveat: not everyone can apply for an E‑2 visa. South Africa is not on the list of eligible countries, though there is a way out: the investor can obtain second citizenship first.

Yulia Veremeva

Yulia Veremeva,

Director of Partnership Development, certified IMC specialist

This only sounds more complex. In reality, getting a second passport followed by an E‑2 visa can be less expensive and less time-consuming than obtaining an EB‑5 visa alone.

Second citizenship also opens up the opportunity for visa-free travels, which is right what Samuel needed.

Choosing an investment program and option

Three citizenship by investment programs opened up the opportunity to get a US E‑2 visa: Grenada’s, Montenegro’s and Turkey’s. Let us compare the programs’ terms.

Comparison of the Grenada, Turkey and Montenegro investment programs

Country

Minimum investment

$150,000

$250,000

€350,000

Citizenship obtaining period

4—6 months

6—8 months

6 months

E‑2 visa to the US 

Visa-free Schengen

Visa-free UK 

Visa-free China

Samuel chose the Grenada program, as it could solve all his tasks at once. The Montenegro and Turkey programs required a larger investment but provided fewer opportunities.

The Grenada CBI program offers two investment options: making a non-refundable contribution to a state fund and purchasing government-approved real estate. The total expenses depend on the family composition.

Samuel planned to include his wife and three children in the application, so we calculated the cost of participation for a family of five: spouses and their three children of 4, 14 and 17 years old. The investor opted for the less expensive option — a fund contribution.

Cost comparison for Samuel’s family participation in the Grenada CBI Program

Cost item

Fund contribution

Property purchase

Investment

$225,000

$220,000

State fee

$75,000

Due Diligence fee

$15,000

$15,000

Application fee

$7,500

$7,500

Processing fee

$4,500

$4,500

Passport fee

$1,250

$1,250

Total

$253,250

$323,250

Before signing the Services Agreement with Immigrant Invest, Samuel hesitated. The investor was worried whether he would be able to use his second passport while the borders were closed, and we outlined the situation for him.

Grenada passport holders can travel the world during the pandemic in compliance with the laws enforced. It may be necessary to do a paid PCR test and to quarantine on arrival. International travel is permitted in the following situations:

Grenada passport as a solution on the way to an E-2 visa to the USA | Silicon Valley

Samuel is going to open a branch of his company in California not far from Silicon Valley, a global centre for high technology and innovation

How Samuel obtained a second passport

Samuel applied to Immigrant Invest in the midst of the pandemic, but that was not a problem. An application for the Grenada citizenship program can be completed remotely without visiting the country.

Collecting documents. Immigrant Invest’s lawyers collected the documents required for the application in two weeks. For this, the investor provided the following records:

  • copies of passports;

  • certificates of no criminal record;

  • marriage certificate;

  • birth certificates of children;

  • medical insurance;

  • a receipt for payment of application, processing and Due Diligence fees.

The lawyers certified the copies of passports and certificates and completed government and application forms on behalf of Samuel. They also conducted a complete wealth analysis of Samuel’s income sources to confirm their legality.

Applying. When the package of documents was ready, the lawyers submitted the application. The Grenada CBI unit started to run the Due Diligence check on Samuel, and it took them 3 months to take a positive decision.

Investing. As soon as Samuel’s candidacy was approved, he transferred the contribution amount to the account of the relevant department in Grenada. Due to the foreign exchange control effective in South Africa, the investor used his account in a Swiss bank for that purpose.

Receiving passports. Samuel and his family received their naturalisation certificates and passports by courier on September 6th, 2020, exactly 5 months after contacting Immigrant Invest. Samuel also paid the fee of $250 per passport.

5 months and $253,250 were spent by Samuel to get Grenada citizenship

1
April 6th, 2020

Samuel turned to Immigrant Invest

2
+ 2 weeks

Collecting documents, applying$27,000

3
+ 3 months

Waiting for the application to be considered and approved

4
+ 2 weeks

Investing$225,000

5
+ 1 month, September 6th, 2020

Receiving passports$1,250

Samuel’s life and opportunities with Grenada citizenship

Samuel started preparing his business plan for a US E‑2 visa while his citizenship application was processed. As soon as he received a Grenada passport, he filed a visa application. And two months later, it was approved.

Changes to the conditions for obtaining an E-2 visa

As of 2023, an E‑2 visa is available only to those investors who have lived in the new country of citizenship for 3 years after obtaining a second passport by investment.

In December 2020, Samuel opened his branch in California near the headquarters of Gilead Sciences, a famous biopharmaceutical company in the United States.

Since receiving his second citizenship, Samuel has travelled abroad eight times to meet his international partners: first to Germany and Switzerland and then to the UK. He also flew to California to check how the new branch was operating.

Investor’s opportunities before and after becoming a Grenada citizen

Before

After

❌ Obtaining a business visa to the US is complex, costly and takes too long

✅ The process of getting a US business visa has been simplified and accelerated

❌ Visa required to the Schengen Area and the UK

✅ Visa-free access to Schengen and Britain

❌ It was impossible to travel abroad because consulates accepted only emergency visa applications due to the pandemic

✅ Opportunity to travel abroad without visas in compliance with the Covid‑19 travel rules

Samuel and his wife are also considering sending their children to study abroad. They are looking at universities in Britain and the States for their eldest daughter and private schools for the two younger children. As citizens of Grenada, Samuel’s children are eligible to apply for scholarships to British educational institutions.

The couple has decided not to be rushed into making a decision. When the pandemic is over and educational institutions resume receiving visitors, the family will travel to Britain. They want to learn more about summer schools, talk to the teachers and choose the right place for their children to continue their education.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for government programs in the European Union and the Caribbean.

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