Intel & DataNorth America

United States E2 Visa Approvals Hit All-Time High in FY2023

The United States issued nearly 54,000 E2 Treaty Investor Visas during the 2023 fiscal year, a 20% increase from the preceding year, the highest such number on record. Experts attribute surging interest in the world’s most popular entrepreneur visa to pent-up demand from the Covid years and the potential for more restrictive immigration policies after this year’s election.

E2 approval volumes saw new highs for most nationalities, but some stood out for their extreme year-on-year increases: Chileans saw a nearly six-fold rise in visas issued, from 54 in FY2022 to 310 last year, while Colombians' approvals almost quadrupled.

"In South America," says E2 specialist attorney Angie Rupert of Rupert Law Group, "the consulates only recently opened up after years of being closed to E2 visas. They've been remarkably slow to recover, but they are finally reviewing E2 applications again."

Patrick Findaro, Managing Partner at Visa Franchise, a company that matches E2 visa applicants with qualifying business investments, points out that US consulates in Chile and Colombia, for example, had not accepted appointments for E2 visas for over two years: "This is reflected in the high growth rate of E2 visa issuance in these countries year over year."

In general, he says, "processing times came way down in 2023. Throughout 2021 and 2022, our clients would have to wait up to a year - sometimes more - for a consulate appointment."

Grenada, meanwhile, the only Caribbean CBI country with E2 Treaty status - an advantage the CIP's promoters have not been shy about highlighting in marketing, despite American apprehensions - saw a 32% contraction in E2 approvals.

It is now Canada, however, that stands out as the biggest source country for E2 applicants in the Western Hemisphere. Historically rivaled by Mexicans, Canadians have pulled ahead after the pandemic and last year logged 6,254 approvals, a 64% year-on-year increase.

Findaro remarks that Canadian demand has "surged in 2023," a development he chalks up to Canada's rising cost of living, the country's relative dearth of opportunities for skilled workers compared to the US, a high volume of Indian-origin Canadians moving to the US, and high tax rates. But he also says Canada's highly restrictive measures during the pandemic had caused many to consider a move southward.

The post-pandemic "flexibility of work," comments Findaro, "now allows families to relocate to warmer weather in Florida, Arizona, and other US states."

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A more redeeming climate, coupled with tax rates that allow "a family earning $300,000 a year to pay 25% in Florida compared to much higher rates in Canada," have also helped fuel Canada's post-pandemic E2 boom, he notes.

Rupert draws similar conclusions about Canadians:

"They are trying to get out of a post-Covid Canada, where they have experienced lifestyle restrictions," she observes. "They are seeking better weather, as always, and more freedom. To that end, many of them are going to Florida."

She emphasizes that some of the growing interest in E2 visas is also attributable to political factors.

"Election years are always big years for all types of US immigration. No matter what side of the aisle you're on, immigration is always a huge issue."

She suggests many are concerned that US immigration policies could become restrictive after the election and wish to "lock in" their US immigration status before anything unexpected happens.

Rupert also reveals that E2 applications first began rising sharply last year but that they are continuing into FY 2024.

"Our biggest months, in terms of leads and clients, have been between June last year and now. Since November last year, we've seen new record numbers every month."

If you like data-driven articles like this one, you'll love the IMI Data Center, the world's largest collection of investment migration statistics, with more than 350 graphs and charts on dozens of IM programs and markets.

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