A new requirement for Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs stands to disrupt the path for investors to obtain E-2 visas to the United States.
New legislation passed by United States Congress in December 2022 adds eligibility requirements for applicants of E-2 visas. Those who have acquired Citizenship by Investment (CBI) to a nation that maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation with the U.S. must now show no less than three (3) years of continuous domicile in that country. This eligibility requirement will not apply to individuals who have already been granted E-2 status.
So what does this mean for those hoping to get an E-2 visa to live and work in the U.S.? If an investor is a citizen of a nation that has an established E-2 treaty with the U.S., nothing changes! However, for those who are citizens of a country without an established E-2 treaty with the U.S., such as Greece or South Africa, this new requirement may present a tricky hurdle.
CBI programs, or “Golden Visas,” help prospective investors to achieve their goals by providing citizenship in exchange for substantial investments. These programs have long been used as a stepping stone for those from non-U.S. treaty countries to obtain an E-2 visa. For example, Grenada is a beautiful island nation in the Caribbean, with a long-standing E-2 investor treaty with the U.S. Grenada’s CBI program allows investors to become a citizen in two ways:
Donate a minimum of US$150,000 for a single individual to obtain citizenship, or US$200,000 for a family of two (2) - four (4) people. This donation goes directly to the National Transformation Fund of Grenada, which finances industries like tourism, agriculture, and alternative energy within the country.
Purchase real estate in Grenada that is valued at US$350,000 or more, along with a US$50,000 government fee.
Once an individual is a citizen of Grenada, they can apply for an E-2 visa and start their journey toward living and working in the U.S. Of the many nations that offer CBI programs, Grenada’s has become increasingly popular since its inception in 2013 because of key benefits:
The Grenada Citizenship by Investment processing time is really fast. Applicants can obtain Grenadian citizenship within 60 days.
There are no residency requirements, so applicants don’t need to live and work in Grenada to be a citizen.
These benefits have made Grenada’s CBI program compelling to those aiming for relatively quick access to an E-2 visa. Once signed by President Biden, Golden Visas will no longer provide a fast track for citizens of nations that do not have an established E-2 visa treaty with the U.S.
However, the disruption may not be as severe as it seems. When obtaining CBI in Grenada, there is already a five-year mandated holding period for investments. While in the past an applicant could spend that waiting period in their home country, now it is an optimal time to fulfill the residency requirement. Moreover, the new legislation only requires that applicants have three years of continuous residency at any point before applying for an E-2 visa, giving applicants a little wiggle room to plan which three years they’d like to spend in their new country.
Do you have questions about what this means for you dream of working and living in the U.S.? Contact us at Visa Business Plans to learn more about how you can still make your dream a reality!