What Grenada can offer investors through its E-2 treaty with United States

With the United States’ EB-5 program fees nearly doubling to $900,000, certain processing times topping 14 years and now the Quebec investor program being suspended, options for those looking to live and work in North America are limited.

The E-2 treaty investor visa is a non-immigrant visa reserved for foreign business people of countries that have a special E-2 treaty with the U.S. An E-2 investor visa allows these foreign investors to enter, live and work inside of the United States based on a substantial investment in a bona fide enterprise.

There are 78 countries that have an E-2 visa with the U.S. but if you are in the other 117, which includes China, India and Vietnam that are also impacted from the EB-5 backlog, what are your options?

Well, of these 78 there are currently 3 countries that operate a citizenship by investment program that are also E-2 treaty countries. Meaning, that if you are approved for citizenship in that country you may then apply for E-2 status into the U.S. as a citizen of that country.

While this may seem like a two-stage process, the time taken and capital outlay required can be significantly less than EB-5 with successful applicants being approved for citizenship in as little as 3 months and then acquiring E-2 status in a similar amount of time, all for under $450,000 in certain cases.

This equips the investor with a second citizenship and passport that may have benefits and global mobility superior to their birth passport. It can become a reality with a passive investment that may offer annual returns and a possible resale value. Not forgetting the ability to own and operate a business in the U.S. and live there, as long as the business remains viable.

GRENADA CBI PROGRAM

The Grenada Citizenship program is one of these three countries and has been promoting this advantage for over 5 years now.

A country in the Southern Caribbean basin, Winward islands and Lesser Antilles, Grenada is a former British colony, now a thriving independent nation, which boasts the highest Olympic gold medal count per capita, an Oscar winning director and a World Champion Formula One driver amongst its diaspora.

Grenada is a lush, tropical island with pink and volcanic black sand beaches, lakes, rivers and waterfalls. The country also sits below the de facto hurricane belt and so avoids the turbulent and dangerous weather inflicted on its northern sister islands

It is an island currently enjoying an economic upswing with iconic hotel brands such as Six Senses, Intercontinental and Royalton all under construction and set to add over 500 new hotel rooms in the next 3 years. Grenada offers a passport that has visa-free access to over 140 countries including China, Brazil, Russia, the Schengen countries and the United Kingdom. The Grenada program offers a relatively simple, fast process, at an entry level investment of just $220,000, for freehold interest (in some cases) and the ability to add children, parents, grandparents and even siblings of the main applicant and spouse on a single application.

INVESTMENT OPTIONS

By investing in one of the government-approved real estate developments, the applicant creates a nexus with the country, which goes to further fortify and strengthen any E-2 application. It provides a tangible connection between the applicant and the country, which many will argue is not provided by the less expensive donation for citizenship route, where funds are paid to the Government’s National Transformational Fund to assist with necessary infrastructure and debt restructure for the country, but pays the donor no interest and no returns.

Of the “approved hotel developments” available, a number are currently under construction with slated opening dates over the next 3 years and one is fully operating, profitable and using the program to expand its current room inventory. Grenada has purposely limited the number of approved developments so as to allow them to succeed, whereas other jurisdictions have over 90 approved projects, Grenada has just a handful.

Once approved for Grenadian citizenship, the E-2 process can be completed through a U.S. immigration attorney, many of whom have special E-2 investor vehicles ready to go, if an applicant does not have a business ready enterprise of their own.

The ‘substantial investment’ requirement stipulated in the E-2 application can be as little as $150,000 in a business that must be a real operating enterprise offering a tangible good or service, such as hairdressers, fast food stores or gas stations.

The investor must have control of the funds, be irrevocably committed and the investment may not be a marginal one, it must create a sufficient economic impact and provide more than just a living for the investor and his or her family. The visa is renewable every two years as long as the business remains viable.

BUT IS GRENADA TO E-2 FOR YOU?

If you can answer yes to any of the following claims, Grenada’s program could be beneficial for you.

  • You are a citizen of an EB-5 back logged country and want a faster processing time and save on cost.
  • If your current passport does not have the visa free access that many enjoy and you are looking to work and live in the U.S.
  • If you have already filed an EB-5 application but wish to expedite your move to the U.S.
  • You don’t want to spend $900,000.
  • You have employees and family members who you wish to also work and reside with you in the U.S.

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About the Author

Richard Hallam
Richard Hallam
Richard Hallam is a dual citizen of Grenada and Great Britain. His 25 years of work experience have taken him to every continent, but his current pied-à-terre is on the West Indian island of Grenada with his family.  Originally a hotelier, Hallam branched out into real estate development and more recently, business advisory. He has played a multi-faceted role over the last 15 years in the development scene of Grenada, working initially in the acquisition and development of multi-use projects, he later worked with advisors and developers in the creation of the Grenada CBI program. As special advisor to the Inward Investment Office, Hallam has seen a Caribbean CBI program from concept through to successful operation and worked alongside government, CIU offices, agents and developers - giving him a well-rounded global view of the industry.

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