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28 October, 2020

In the USA for investment: how to start a business and live in the country in 2021

The US plans to issue 18,500 EB-5 visas under the investment programme. This is a record number of visas of this type: previously the USA issued no more than 10,000 visas for investors per year.

EB-5 US Business Visa: Quota and Alternatives for Investors in 2021
Photo: Adobe Stock

The US Department of State announced the visa plan in its October 2020 Visa Bulletin.

A total of 261,500 Type E visas may be issued next year. A quota of 7.1% of the total is set for EB-5 visas.

The overall increase in the quota is due to closed borders and the COVID-19 pandemic. Many U.S. immigration offices have closed for quarantine and suspended processing of applications. As a result, the US Department of State moved unused quotas from 2020 to 2021.

What gives an EB-5 visa and whether Russians can obtain it

The EB-5 visa is issued to foreign investors under the US Immigrant Investor Program. To take part in the program, the investor invests in the business of the country from $ 900,000. The amount should be spent on creating 10 full-time jobs and keeping them for at least 2 years.

EB-5 visa holders can move to the US with their spouse and children under 21. They are allowed to live, do business and study in the United States. The EB-5 visa also allows you to apply for a green card and US citizenship after 5 years.

Russian citizens may participate in the US investment program. However, the terms of the program allow you to apply for a green card for 10 years only 2 years after submitting your application.

Before that, the investor receives conditional status and a temporary green card. After 2 years, it is necessary to confirm that the business continues to generate income and 10 jobs are saved. To do this, the investor submits a petition to the US Immigration Service confirming that all conditions of the programme have been met.

The EB-5 visa process can take 2 to 4 years to complete, especially if the U.S. Immigration Service already has a waiting list of investor applications.

For wealthy Russians, a simpler and cheaper way to obtain a business visa to the USA is through Grenada citizenship.

E-2 visa to the USA for Russians through Grenada citizenship

The E-2 visa is issued for business investments, just like the E-5 visa. However, it does not require a minimum investment threshold. In our experience, it is enough to buy a franchise business for an amount starting from $200,000. The main condition - to create 5 new jobs in the country.

The E-2 visa can also be obtained by members of the investor's family. It allows them to live, do business, work and study in the States. The E-2 visa is not an immigration visa - this means that it does not allow for citizenship. However, such a visa can be extended an unlimited number of times.

Today citizens of 6 countries: Grenada, Montenegro, Moldova, Turkey, Bulgaria and Egypt can obtain an E-2 visa. A special agreement has been concluded with these countries. Russian citizens cannot apply for an E-2 visa.

Citizens of Grenada receive an E-2 visa for 5 years. By comparison, citizens of Moldova are granted it for only 3 months.

68 Grenadians have taken advantage of the opportunity to obtain an E-2 visa to the US over the past 10 years. Of these, 39 visas were issued to investors in 2019. 

How to apply for Grenadian citizenship for investment

Grenada invites foreigners to participate in the citizenship programme for investment. Under its terms, it is possible to make a contribution to a public fund or invest in real estate on the island.

Contribution to the state National Transformation Fund - one-off and non-refundable. The amount of the contribution depends on the number of participants: for one investor - 150 000 $, for a family of up to 4 people - 200 000 $.

The minimum investment required in real estate is 220,000 USD. The investor can only invest in properties that are approved by the Government of Grenada. As a rule, these are 5-star hotels or tourist complexes. It takes 5 years to own a property, after which the investor can sell the property or his share. In other words, the investment can be returned.

What benefits does Grenada citizenship bring?

A holder of a Grenadian passport can not only apply for an E-2 visa in the US for 5 years. Other benefits are also available to citizens of this Caribbean country. For example:

  • Enter 143 countries without a visa, including Schengen, UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and China.
  • Optimise taxation for yourself and your business: there is no tax on world income, capital gains, gifts and inheritance in Grenada.
  • Open an international bank account to store savings and expedite foreign exchange transactions.
  • To educate children in the UK and the Commonwealth of Independent States on preferential terms.

Together with the investor, a spouse, children under 30 years of age, parents, grandparents and brothers and sisters can apply for Grenada citizenship under the programme.

Immigrant Invest - licensed agent for the Grenada Citizenship Programme for investment. We will help you obtain your second passport fully remotely and advise you on how to apply for an E-2 visa in the US.

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In the USA for investment: how to start a business and live in the country in 2021