Foreign investors interested in immigrating to Illinois may be curious about the best visa or green card route to help them achieve their goals. There are reasons to pursue either an E-2 work visa or an EB-5 green card depending on each person’s specific circumstances. In order to be eligible for the E-2 visa, people must be citizens of a national treaty country and must have substantial funds, typically around $150,000. In addition, they must have at least 50% of the business in question, and it cannot be simply a passive investment business. This also means that at least some level of English language knowledge is necessary for eligibility.

These visas can be processed quickly. They require a strong business plan, and the application can be made at a U.S. consulate abroad. After approval, recipients receive a work visa for their business, so further applications would be necessary to seek permanent residence. On the other hand, people can apply for an EB-5 green card from any country. The financial outlay is larger; investors must put $900,000 into a regional project for five years or $1.5 million into their own business. Within two years, they must employ at least 10 employees in the U.S.

The approval process is very stringent, and an application may take two years or more. There are no quotas for E-2 work visas, but there are country-of-origin quotas for EB-5 green cards. People with E-2 visas may be accompanied by a spouse and children under 21, and for people with EB-5 green cards, they are also eligible for permanent residence.

Both options may be worth considering for foreign investors looking to make large-scale investments in a U.S. business. An immigration law attorney may provide advice and guidance on how businesspeople can pursue a visa or green card successfully.