Business Immigration from the UK to the USA

UK Scraps Investor Visa – What are my options?

The US investor visa requires an investment amount five times lower than the UK investor visa

The UK Government has announced it will be scrapping its Tier One Investor Visa program. The program had come under fire for the perception that it provided a legitimate route for illicit wealth to enter the United Kingdom.

The UK Investor Visa program was relatively expensive when compared with other countries’ residency and citizenship by investment programs. The minimum investment requirement started from £2 million – which is around five times as much as the corresponding US program, the EB-5 Immigrant Investment Visa Program. Investors had the option of investing more money to reduce the length of time before they could be granted Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK and by extension applying for citizenship a year after.

United States EB-5 Investor Visa

The price tag of the UK investor visa meant that it only attracted a few hundred applicants each year. That contrasts starkly with the US EB-5 investor visa, which attracts thousands and regularly meets its annual quota of 10,000 visas – thanks in part to a large backlog of Chinese applicants.

The US program currently has a minimum investment requirement of $500,000, which must create ten jobs. A key aspect of the program – the Regional Center program – is likely to come before Congress in the very near future and the rumor is that the investment amount may increase. This could be to $700,000 or $750,000, but this is only speculation and there are no guarantees.

The popular Regional Center route is currently closed awaiting reauthorization. This could potential occur within the next few weeks if it is included in Congress’s spending legislation. The alternative so-called “Direct EB-5” route is currently open at the minimum $500,000 threshold right now.

Grenada Citizenship by Investment

One of the most cost-effective citizenship or residency programs around the world is offered by Grenada, an island in the Caribbean. Grenadian citizenship starts from just $150,000 for a donation or $220,000 for an investment. Processing times are relatively fast and can take less than three months. Grenada has a relatively strong passport and it hold an E-2 Treaty with the United States. There is no tax on income earned outside of the island’s jurisdiction.

Turkey Citizenship by Investment

You can obtain citizenship of Turkey in around 6 months in exchange for a $250,000 investment in real estate or holding deposits in excess of $500,000 with a Turkish bank for at least three years. Turkey is a global transportation hub and it also holds an E-2 Treaty with the United States. This means that, like Grenada, you could become eligible for the US E-2 Visa by first obtaining Turkish citizenship.

Italy Investor Visa

Italy’s investor visa starts from just €250,000. However, most of our clients prefer the country’s elective residency visa, which allows you to live in Italy provided you have €32,000/year from funds earned outside Italy to support you. The country also offers generous flat tax rates to high-net-worth-individuals.

Contact us to discuss any of the options listed above.

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.

L-1 Visa for Spouses

E2 Visas and L1 Visas: Spouses Granted Automatic Right to Work

The Department for Homeland Security has announced that spouses of certain visa holders will have the automatic right to work in the United States.

The policy change applies to dependent spouses of those in the following visa categories:

Until now, spouses of these visa holders had to apply for work authorization, which added to the administrative burden, could cause uncertainty, and even gaps in employment. Being granted automatic working rights is a huge benefit to any married couples considering an L-1 Visa application or an E-2 Visa application.Any spouses entering the US will have a special code stamped on their entry paperwork (I-94) designating their right to work. Any existing E and L Visa spouses already in the US would need to leave and re-enter the country to obtain this code. However, DHS also noted that regardless of the notation on the I-94, E and L spouses are authorized to work incident to status, and any valid I-94 is considered valid for work authorization.
If you hold a different visa category, please contact us to discuss your spouse’s right to work in the United States. 

What is the L-1 Visa?

The L-1 Visa allows for the intracompany transfer of an employee to the existing or newly established US office of your related company. The newly established element is particularly useful to owners of small-and-medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) seeking to expand their business to the United States. The L-1 Visa is valid for up to five or seven years and holders are permitted to seek permanent residency during their stay in the United States.

What is the E-2 Visa?

What is the E-2 Visa?The E-2 Visa permits an investor from an “E-2 Treaty Country” to move to the United States for the purposes of owning and operating a business there. Benefits of this visa include:Relatively low investment expectations (usually > $100,000)Ability to travel freely to and from the United StatesQuick processing times and no country quotasUnlimited renewals – so long as business continues to operate successfullyNo longer a requirement to have a physical premisesOption to purchase a franchise businessIf you are not from an E-2 Treaty Country, it is possible to become a citizen of a Treaty Country and make yourself eligible for an E-2 Visa. We have helped clients acquire citizenship of both Grenada and Turkey and then go on to obtain an E-2 Visa. Both countries offer relatively fast and cost effective routes to citizenship.