Many countries with citizenship by investment programs around the world consider the access to the US E-2 visa treaty as a huge advantage to your CBI offerings. As well as other countries with residency by investment programs that can lead to citizenship. In Granada the Turkey , global investors seek investment citizenship seeking E-2 nonimmigrant visas that allow them to live and work in the US for up to five years, which is renewable. More than 33,000 E-2 visas were issued to investors and their dependents in 2021, according to the State Department. 

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Amigo Act as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, legislation that would extend E-2 treaty countries to include Portugal – whose citizens would be able to invest and live in the US after the bill passes the Senate and is signed by the President. The change can give Portuguese Golden Visa program a new surge in popularity.

“The Lei do Amigo will help create more jobs and increase investment and further strengthen ties between the United States and Portugal,” he said. Diogo Capela , managing partner of Lamares, Capela & Associados (LACA). “It will be one more reason for all those who already intend to obtain Portuguese Nationality today to do so.”

“It could become a distinguishing factor and create a competitive advantage for this program over other [EU programs] (notably Spanish and Greek),” he adds.

Sara Sousa Rebolo from Prime Legal agrees that it is an important development for the immigration industry in Portugal. 

“With the approval of access to the USA E-2 visa, allowing Portuguese investors to develop investment activities in the USA, all residency programs in Portugal including the Golden Visa will gain extra value in the migration and succession planning of HNWIs and entrepreneurs, also impacting the Portuguese corporate and export sector,” she said.

What about the other countries in the E-2 treaty?

The passage of the Amigo Act is not good news for all RCBI programs, as the bill also limits access to the E-2 visa to citizens who have been 'domiciled' or lived in one of the treaty countries for a minimum period of three years – basically the alternative to the 'genuine bond' bill between the investor and the country of citizenship emphasized by the EU last month when the EU commission took Malta to court over its RCBI program .

For a country like Grenada whose RCBI programs do not require applicants to visit or reside in the island nation, this condition is likely to impede the growth of its RCBI program as unrestricted access to the E-2 Visa is considered one of the key selling points. of your program.

“It is not surprising that the US government has asked for more clarity in imposing a residency requirement [on E-2 applicants]; We have to bear in mind that it was always clear that there should be a link between the E-2 applicant and the E-2 country,” he explains. Richard Hallam , Director of CBI at Ora Caribbean. “When investors decide to pursue citizenship by investment in Grenada , there is a mandatory five-year retention period on your investment, during which the residency requirement can be satisfied.”

So Hallam doesn't expect the Amigo Law to cause major disruptions to Grenada's CBI program. "O E-2 visa is by far the most cost-effective and cost-effective bridge to the United States for those seeking the opportunity to live and work there. I don't believe the [Amigo Act] is expected to impact the [Grenadian CBI] program in any significant way."

Turkey is another country whose RCBI program is likely to be affected by the passing of the Friend's Law. As it stands, investors can obtain Turkish citizenship within six months of investing in the country – but with the new Lei Amigo domiciliation condition, investors looking to obtain E-2 visas through Turkish citizenship can start looking in another place.

“The bill will undermine popular citizenship by investment programs (CBI) in Turkey and Grenada (CBI), both with E-2 treaties with the US . A exigência de que o titular do passaporte seja residente em seu “novo país” por três anos antes de ser elegível para um visto de investidor certamente resultará em um grande declínio na demanda por esses dois programas do CBI”, prevê Bernie Wolfsdorf , former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Amigo Act and the EB-5 Visa Program 

Launched in 1990, the EB-5 investor visa is the popular route for foreign investors looking to move to USA . Unlike the E-2 visa, it offers an indirect path to US citizenship. However, the E-2 visa can be upgraded to an EB-5 visa in case it increases the investment amount to meet the program requirements – which would be an amount of $800,000 in a Target Employment Area or $1,050,000 elsewhere – and the creation of ten jobs in the US market.

Due to its lengthy application process and higher investment limit, the EB-5 visa is less popular with investors. However, it offers some comparative advantages.

“The E-2 investor visa is a good first step for those looking to invest in the US, but it does not lead to a green card, so many people looking to live in the US will still choose the EB-5 green card option. Also, children of E-2 visa holders age at 21 and their families break up, so the EB-5 option is definitely the best choice for those who can afford it,” Wolfsdorf said.

The US Senate also needs to sign the Amigo bill before it goes into effect.

"While very few of these treaty investor bills have advanced in the past, it seems likely that this bill could pass and make it to President Biden's desk before the congressional recess for the holidays," Wolfsdorf said.


Article originally published on the website uglobal.com

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