Stewart Rabinowitz Comments on Proposed Legislation that Would Provide Permanent Resident Status to Certain Treaty Investors
Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) September 11, 2015 – A bill has been introduced in Congress that would allow foreign nationals who are in the United States in E-2 status to become eligible to apply for permanent U.S. residency after 10 years in E-2 status.
As background, the United States has treaties with more than 60 countries that provide for investment. The treaties permit citizens of a treaty country to make an investment in the United States provided the treaty investor meets certain requirements. The E-2 treaty investor visa must make a substantial investment in an active commercial enterprise, and be coming to the United States to direct and develop that investment through a business entity that has the nationality of the treaty country.
Under current law, the treaty investor can renew his or her E-2 visa abroad or extend E-2 status in the United States as long as the approved E-2 investment continues. The E-2 Visa Improvement Act, H.R. 1834, would allow long-term E-2 treaty investors to become lawful permanent residents.
“Offering a path to permanent resident status to long-term E-2 nonimmigrant investors is a good idea,” said Stewart Rabinowitz, a prominent Dallas immigration attorney with Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. “It will enhance the value of E-2 treaty benefits and provide a less expensive way for investors to bring their ingenuity, generate jobs and improve our economy. Overall, it will encourage greater investment in the United States.”
The E-2 Visa Improvement Act of 2015 was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. David Jolly (R-FL). Jolly said that business owners who come to the United States on E-2 visas bring an “entrepreneurial spirit” and “fully integrate into our communities,” and they should be able to “take the next step in carrying out the American dream.”
For E-2 treaty investors, there is no direct path to permanent residence, a gap that the proposed legislation would fill. Unlike the EB-5 program, which provides lawful permanent resident status, but requires that the EB-5 new commercial enterprise employ at least 10 U.S. workers and that the EB-5 investor make a statutory minimum investment of at least $500,000, an E-2 treaty investor must make an investment determined to be “substantial,” based on the cost of establishing or purchasing the planned business.
It does not require a statutorily fixed minimum investment amount, which may be out of the reach of many foreign national investors. Under the proposed legislation, to qualify for lawful permanent resident status, the E-2 treaty investor must employ at least two full-time employees in addition to a 10-year period in E-2 status.