Now that Chinese citizens are eligible to apply for 10-year B1 or B2 visas, many wonder why they should even consider the EB-5 investment visa. The best way to answer this is to explain the differences between the two.
The B1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that is issued to foreign nationals who wish to temporarily visit the U.S. for business purposes. Examples of activities permissible with such a visa are:
- Consulting with business associates
- Attending scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions and conferences
- Settling an estate
- Negotiating contracts
The B2 visa is also a nonimmigrant visa that is issued to foreign nationals who wish to visit the U.S. for pleasure. Examples of activities permissible with such a visa are:
- Visiting friends and relatives residing in the U.S.
- Seeking medical treatment
- Participating in social events sponsored by fraternal, social, or service organizations
- Participating in musical, sports, or similar events or contests as long as you are not being paid for taking part in such activities
- Enrolling in short recreational courses of study that do not count towards a degree
The U.S. Department of State may also issue a combination of both visas, thereby allowing visa holders to take part in all activities mentioned above. With this 10-year visa, individuals may not work or study and are not allowed to stay in the country for longer than 6 months at a time.
An EB-5 visa, on the other hand, is an immigrant visa that is issued to foreigners who wish to immigrate to the U.S. by investing $1,050,000 (or $800,000 if investing in a TEA) in a business and employing 10 U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents. With an EB-5, one is granted a conditional green card that is valid for 2 years. 90 days prior to expiry of the conditional green card, the card holder can petition to have the conditions removed thereby becoming a permanent resident of the U.S. Green card holders can live and work indefinitely in the U.S. and can also study without requiring any visa, perks that are not available to nonimmigrant B1/B2 visa holders.