Should You Invest in Real Estate or a Business – or BOTH?

Investing Across Borders

The question of whether you should invest in Real Estate or a Business – or BOTH is a tough one when immigrating to the US. 

Lauren A. Cohen, Esq,

Cross-Border Legal and Real Estate Expert

When immigrating to the United States, Canadians tend to explore investment Visa paths as they provide more reassurance for families to stay within borders than a Temporary Work Visa. Two of the most frequently requested visas are the EB-5, which provides a direct green card path, and the E-2, which offers an individual to work based on an investment in a U.S business. To apply for one of the investment Visas, Canadians consider investing in Real Estate Property or a Business. 

Investing in Real Estate:

Investing in Real Estate for an investment Visa is not always the best route, as the USCIS requires that your investment be “at-risk.” On the contrary, Real Estate Property investments generally do not fall under this category. However, there are ways that the USCIS can consider your Real Estate at risk for Visa purposes. Here are three possible courses of action to consider: 

  • Investing Visa via Real Estate Investment

One way to obtain an investing Visa via Real Estate investment is to apply for the EB-5 Visa. If you purchase real estate to run your business from that property, you may be able to add this investment to your petition in conjunction with your business investment. This option is ideal for those who have had a business before moving to the U.S. and either, relocated or expanded it. Keep in mind that you will still need to satisfy all the requirements for the EB-5 Visa as well – not mentioned in this article.

  • Invest in an EB-5 Regional Center

A second option is to invest in an EB-5 Regional Center. These Centers sponsor numerous real estate development projects, including condominiums and hotels. A significant benefit of this option is that these Regional Centers must already comply with EB-5 requirements. Disadvantages include a minimal role in the investment process after investing in the project.

  • Invest in Real Estate Under E-2 Visa

A third option is to invest in real estate property under an E-2 Visa. This alternative may be feasible if you already have a real estate business that purchases, sells, rents, and renovates properties. This requires that your business manage many properties in tangent with one another throughout the entire calendar year. In addition, you must also satisfy all the requirements for the E-2 Visa – not mentioned in this article.

Investing in a Business:

Investing in a business can be nerve-racking, especially if you have never started a business before. But there are many ways to invest in a business without any experience. An increasing number of Canadians are leaning towards investing in franchises under the E-2 Visa. Franchise businesses provide applicants with more assistance and support in the operations and development process as they already have established businesses all over the United States. Franchises also provide applicants with the benefit of knowing that the business is viable instead of speculating its success. However, this reassurance is never 100% guaranteed and should always be discussed with an immigration attorney and a business expert before moving forward with such procedures.

For Canadians who have an established business, the EB-5 Visa may be an ideal path to expand their enterprise in the United States. Applicants will have to satisfy the EB-5 requirements and any additional requirements if the business is in a targeted employment area. Canadians have also considered petitioning for an EB-5 when adding or including other partners to their business.

These Investment Visas can become very complex. Therefore, it is prudent that you speak to an experienced immigration attorney well in advance to determine which path is ideal for you before taking the next step. To explore these options and many more, please contact us by email at or phone at 1-866-724-0085.

This article contains general information about legal matters. The information is not legal advice and should not be treated as such. You must not rely on the information as an alternative to legal advice from an attorney or other professional legal services provider. Please consult with an attorney or other professional services provider for specific questions about any legal matter.

The original article can be found on the Invest Across Border website.