Visas and Green Cards for Canadians Investing in the U.S.

Canadian citizens have two options to invest in businesses in the United States in exchange for a work visa or a green card. These two options are the E-2 treaty trader visa or the EB-5 green card. Which one of these two you want to apply for depends on your individual needs, resources and situation. There are several advantages and disadvantages to each one, which are outlined as follows:

If your goal is to simply live in the United States, the more viable option would be an EB-5 green card through a Regional Center. An investment of $500,000.00 gets you and your family an immediate green card without the need to start up a company or to oversee operations.

If your goal is to start up your own business operation, then an E-2 visa would be ideal unless you have a significant amount of money to invest – in which case a $1 million EB-5 green card may be appropriate.

Advantages of an E-2 visa

  • Renewable indefinitely
  • Smaller investment than and EB-5 green card (as little as $50,000.00 to $250,000.00)

Disadvantages of an E-2 visa

  • Money must be substantial and at risk
  • No path to permanent residency
  • Visa expires upon termination of the business
  • Unable to accept income until E-2 is granted; even though you have already put the investment at risk prior to approval

Advantages of an EB-5 green card

  • Immediate residency in the U.S.
  • Spouse and children under 21 obtain residency under the primary applicant’s investment
  • Live, work, travel, study in the United States without any restrictions
  • Residency is permanent – generally no expiration

Disadvantages of an EB-5 green card

  • Higher investment amount ($500,000.00 to $1 million)
  • Investment tied up for extended period of time