By Sanwar Ali
Indians have to wait about seven years to come under the US EB5 immigrant investor visa category or many years for an employment based immigrant visa. They have become fed up with the wait times and are thinking of alternatives. On top of all this the EB5 immigrant investor visa scheme from 21 November 2019 has almost doubled in cost from a minimum of $500,000 to $900,000.
Indians gaining citizenship quickly in Grenada first to come under E2 visa
Unfortunately, Indians are not included in the US E2 Treaty Investor visa or E1 Treaty Trader visa Country list. Only certain nationalities are included. Indians can gain entry as spouses and dependents of E2 visa applicants or can come under the E2 visa if they are able to gain some other nationality. on the Country list. If it is not possible to gain citizenship based on long term residence for example in Countries such as the UK, Australia and Canada perhaps, then there is the option of quickly gaining citizenship perhaps in a Caribbean Country.
These rapid citizenship programs have been controversial at times. There have been allegations that it is too easy for criminals to obtain Citizenship. However, these schemes are very fast and do not require residency at all and so are very convenient for Indians and others who need another citizenship to come under the E2 visa scheme. Grenada citizenship gives access to the E2 Treaty Investor visa scheme that allow entry for the E2 Investor and family members initially for five years and can be extended indefinitely.
While there are benefits of a Green Card (permanent residence) there are tax consequences. You are taxed on “Worldwide income”. So some wealthy people (including former US citizens) may prefer to apply for an E2 visa. You can continue to extend the visa indefinitely without gaining US citizenship.
L1 visa may be an alternative
For Indian businessmen it may also be worth considering the L1 visa. For Executives and Managers including business owners you can gain entry for up to seven years. Here is a comparison of E2 visa compared to L1 visa:
- L1 visa is limited in duration for up to seven years. After seven years you have to leave the US for at least one year to qualify again for an L1 visa. E2 visa can be extended indefinitely.
- If you obtain an L1 visa for executives and managers you may very well meet the requirements for an EB1C Green Card. However, the processing time for Indians may be some years. You will hopefully receive this before the L1 visa expires.
- For the L1 visa you need to have an overseas office that is transferring you to the US. This needs to continue in operation outside the US for a number of years. For the E2 visa there is no requirement to have such an office.
Huge increase in Indians applying under US E2 visa category
In recent years the Grenada citizenship program has become a lot more popular with Indians. There has been a huge increase in the number of Indian nationals who have both Indian and Grenada citizenship and then apply under the E-2 registration and visa scheme. This is much faster than the EB5 immigrant investor scheme and much cheaper. Also Grenada citizenship allows visa-free entry to 130 Countries.
However, the advantage of a Green Card is that you can stay in the US permanently without worrying about having to obtain extensions. You and your whole family also have the right to work for anyone.
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