US E-2 Treaty Countries
Over the last year, investment migration clients and professionals have been bombarded with articles stating the benefits of the E2 visa as the future of US residence by investment. The E2 visa allows a family to move to America for the purpose of owning and operating a business and promises faster processing times, lower investment requirements and no retrogression when compared to EB – 5.
Only citizens of the Treaty Countries with the US can apply for the E-2 visa. There are only 12 countries in the world that offer CBI programmes and of those, only 5 are Treaty Countries. Jordan’s program costs double that of an EB-5 visa and Moldova’s programme remains under moratorium
Therefore, currently only 3 E-2 Treaty countries that also have CBI programmes, offer a viable E2 route to the US at a cost that makes sense.
- Turkey: Currently the world’s most popular programme, even without Schengen access, and the application process is simple with a less onerous due diligence process
- Grenada: A good option depending on the profile of the applicant but is limited in terms of complimentary advantages
- Montenegro: A new programme that is much more expensive than Turkey or Grenada – requires $100,000 USD donation and $250,000 USD real estate investment to be retained for 5 years.
The Turkish and Grenada CBI programmes are widely considered to be the gold standard, but the Turkish program has become the world’s most popular. Many industry observers were surprised that even a country without Schengen access could take the mantle. None more so than the Grenadians, who are suddenly finding their cosy corner of the market contested. Turkey and Grenada are now competing head to head for the favour of prospective E-2 applicants.
To obtain Turkish Citizenship, investors must first secure a qualifying Turkish Investment. The three main options are as follows:
- $250,000 Property Purchase – This option offers an opportunity to purchase land or property, either commercial or residential, in Turkey and is particularly popular as investors can expect capital appreciation and rental income throughout the minimum 3-year retention period. As a result, considerable return on investment is possible alongside gaining Turkish citizenship with a clear exit strategy.
- $500,000 Bank Deposit – It is also possible to deposit and retain funds of at least $500,000 in any Turkish Bank for a minimum of 3 years which is often quicker and cheaper than purchasing a property in Turkey but there is less potential for return on investment.
- $500,000 Share Purchase – Finally, a capital investment in shares can be made following an independent valuation report for material, plant and machinery purchased.
The main advantage Turkey has over Granada is that any type of real estate is approved as a qualifying investment, namely full ownership of any type of land, residential or commercial property. Turkey CBI investors are buying highly liquid assets (at depressed prices) and have a clearer exit strategy once their three-year property holding period is up.
The E2 visa route also offers a fresh outlook on US foreign direct investment by Indian Nationals who have often faced particular difficulties or delays in gaining Green Card Visa status through the EB-5 scheme. Whilst Grenada has often been the CBI country of choice for Indian Nationals looking to invest in the US, Turkey may be especially advantageous due to its geographical location midway between India and the US. Furthermore, there is no cap or quota on the number of applications for the Turkish Programme which contrasts with the EB-5 Visa.
Investors must ask themselves:
- Will I actually be living in Grenada/ Turkey
- Which property market gives me more flexibility, return on investment and a clear exit strategy?
- Which country has more advantages overall?
- Beyond access to the US, how important is mobility to me?
- In an era of global volatility, which would be better for business continuity and the preservation of health and wealth?