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

Visa and green card options for Canadians investing in a U.S. business

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

Have you ever wanted to buy or start a business in the U.S. but didn’t know what type of visa you should apply for? The good news is that Canadian citizens have two options to start or buy a business in the United States. These two options are the E-2 treaty investor 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 without running day-to-day operations of the business, the more viable option would be an EB-5 green card through a USCIS Regional Center. Starting November 2019, an investment of $900,000.00 gets you and your family a conditional green card without the need to start up a company or to oversee operations.

If your goal is to start up your own business and to run day-to-day operations, then an E-2 treaty investor visa would be ideal.

Advantages of an E-2 visa

  • Renewable every five (5) years indefinitely as long as the business continues to operate
  • Smaller investment requirement than the EB-5 green card

Disadvantages of an E-2 visa

  • The investment must be considered substantial and it has to be spent, or “at risk” at the time of application
  • There is no direct path to permanent residency
  • The E-2 visa expires upon termination of the business
  • Unable to operate the business until the E-2 visa is approved 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. (green card)
  • 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 than E-2 visas
  • In July 2019, the Department of Homeland Security announced that starting November 21, 2019, the EB-5 investment amounts will increase from $500,000 to $900,000 for TEA or regional center investments; and from $1 million to $1.8 million for all other investments
  • Investment tied up for extended period of time