Monthly Archives: May 2021

Episode 5 Afterthoughts: E-2 or EB-5? Finding the Right US Visa for Foreign Entrepreneurs

For foreign entrepreneurs planning to expand their business in the US or invest in a new one, an investor visa is one option to work in the US. In our podcast Hasta La Visa, Baby Episode 5, we explored two options for foreign investors to consider – the E-2 and E-B investor visas. These are both highly selective, but very different options and it’s important to understand how they work. As an entrepreneur, the type of business, amount you plan to invest and how long you plan to stay in the US – will help you determine which the best fit.

E-2: The Temporary Option

If you are looking to come to the US on a temporary basis or bring your employees to the US, the E-2 may be a good option to consider.

How does the E-2 work?
The E-2 visa allows foreign entrepreneurs to invest a substantial amount of money into a US business (affiliated company or startup) and then come to the US to run that business. Investors can be a person, partnership or corporate entity. The E-2 is based on treaties that the US has with specific foreign countries and to apply, the investor must be a national of a treaty country. Executives and other essential employees can also work in the US.

Who qualifies for an E-2 Visa?
This is a very selective visa process. To qualify, the investor must have the citizenship of a treaty country and invest a substantial amount of capital in the US enterprise. Investors must enter the US solely to develop and direct the enterprise and show at least 50% ownership, usually through a managerial position.

What investment is required for an E-2 Visa?
There are guidelines for how much money the individual or the corporation has to invest in the US company to ensure successful operation of the business. Different types of businesses and industries will require varying levels of investment. But generally, capital must be substantial compared to the total cost of either purchasing an established business or starting one, and enough to ensure the investor can successfully run the business.

Can somebody with an E-2 Visa stay in the US indefinitely?
The E-2 Visa is a temporary intent visa – this means all E-2 visa holders must maintain the intention to return to their home countries. The maximum initial stay is two years. Requests for extensions can be granted up to two years each, but there is no limit to the number of extensions.

EB-5: A Path to Citizenship

For foreign executives looking to stay in the US on a permanent basis, there is the E-B Investor Visa Program.

How does the E-B Work?
EB-5 is really the green card analog to the E-2 Investor visa. With the E-B program, a foreign national can invest a considerable amount of money into a US business, which then leads to a green card (lawful permanent resident status).

Who qualifies for the E-B program?
To qualify, investors must make an investment in a lawful commercial enterprise in the US, which is generally any for profit activity. But the E-B5 is more than just investing money – the goal is to create US jobs. With this option, the investor must also create at least 10 full time positions in the US.

What investment is required for an E-B5 Visa?
Unlike the E-2 visa, there is a minimum amount that has to be invested. Because it leads to a green card, the government wants to make sure that a substantial amount of money is actually being invested in a US business. The exact amount required depends on where you’re investing the money. There are geographic buckets called targeted employment areas or TEAs. These are generally a rural area or an area that experiences high unemployment. The minimum investment is $900,000 in a TEA and $1.8 million in other areas.

Is E-2 or E-B The Right Fit?


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  • Up to two years; renewable in two-year intervals
  • Must be a national of a treaty country
  • No minimum investment but must be a substantial amount in a US enterprise
  • Entering US solely to develop and direct the enterprise
  • Must only work in the activity for which the visa was approved



  • Permanent
  • All foreign nationals
  • Investment of capital from $900,000 to $1.8 million in a new commercial enterprise
  • Must create and maintain at least 10 jobs

Both visas provide a path to the US. How much you plan to invest and how long you are looking to remain in the US can help you decide which visa to consider.

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Episode 5: Why Make Trillions When We Can Make…Billions? – Investor Visas in the Austin Powers Trilogy

In this episode, Shai and Roderick get “shagadelic” with the Austin Powers trilogy. Our co-hosts investigate how Dr. Evil, a Belgian criminal mastermind, and Austin Powers’ arch nemesis, found himself running a world-famous coffee company in Seattle, Washington. The Immigration principles they will explore in this episode include: E-2 Treaty Investor Visas and the EB-5 Green Card program. Plus, Shai and Roderick talk the art of making the perfect parody movie.

Listen to the Episode

Show Notes

Welcome to The Hasta La Visa, Baby podcast, a deep-dive into the relationship between U.S. immigration law and fictitious characters from some of your favorite television shows and movies. Hosted by Gibney Immigration group attorneys Shai Dayan and Roderick Potts, each episode focuses on a particular character from a well-known show or film and guides listeners through an in-depth and entertaining exploration into the possible U.S. visa status that the featured character may have held while in the U.S. Listeners will learn about key immigration considerations through the prism of the fun and fictitious worlds presented in television and film.

For this episode, Shai and Roderick focus on the parody movie trilogy Austin Powers. After summarizing the movie and running through a few fun facts about it, they shift their attention to Dr. Evil, a Belgian criminal mastermind and the main antagonist of the Austin power franchise. His goal is to secure world domination through extortions of terror, though his plans are typically foiled by Mr. Powers. In the second movie, it is revealed that Dr. Evil’s headquarters are located inside of the space needle in Seattle and that his business was an early investor in Starbucks.

Based on this fact, Shai and Roderick’s view is that Dr. Evil may possess an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, which allows foreigners to invest a substantial amount of money in a U.S. business, then come to the U.S. to run that business. It isn’t a visa intended for someone to remain permanently in the U.S. Holders of E-2 visas must maintain the intention of eventually returning home.

After taking the opportunity to run through their favorite parody movies, Shai and Roderick imagine a hypothetical consultation with Dr. Evil at a Belgian beer garden in order to make him feel most at home. In this hypothetical meeting, Dr. Evil is coming to Shai and Roderick to determine how he could stay in the U.S. permanently. They would recommend the EB-5 Investor Visa Program, which enables a foreign national to invest a minimum amount in a U.S. commercial enterprise, leading to a green card. It also requires an investor to create at least 10 jobs for U.S. citizens. If he could create tenuous jobs and prove where his money is coming from, Dr. Evil may have a good EB-5 Investor case which would lead to the obtainment of a green card. The episode wraps up with a few final takeaways from the movie on everything from why evil characters have cats and if Austin Powers would make it in the Me Too era.


Learn more about the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa.
Learn more about the movie featured in this episode: Austin Powers.
Learn more about Shai Dayan, Roderick Potts, and Gibney Anthony & Flaherty, LLP.
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© Copyright 2000- 2023, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty, LLP. All Rights Reserved. Attorney Advertising.