Getting a treaty country passport in order to get an E2 visa
Angie: Hi everybody, thanks for joining today. We’ll be waiting for just a few minutes for everyone join… hey everyone, waiting just a couple of minutes and we’re going to have Michel join us here momentarily. There he is! Hi Michel… let’s see, I’m not sure… Michel, I think you have to ask to be…there we go. Michel are you there?
Michel: Hi Angie
Angie: Hi, there you are. Hi Michel, great to see you!
Michel: Nice to see you, Angie. Thank you very much. How’s everything over there in California?
Angie: Everything’s good, the sun is always shining right? Isn’t that the Randy Newman song “the sun is shining all the time”? And indeed, it is. And you are joining us from?
Angie: Vancouver! Off course, right in Latin America, it’s perfect.
Michel: Thank you very much, Angie for the invitation. Definitely, it’s great to see you again and thank you for inviting me to join you on this Instagram live.
Angie: Yes! So, let’s talk a little bit. So you do deal a lot with Latin America but obviously Henley can help people all over the world, right? And one of the things that I’d like to talk about today is about people who want to get an E2 visa but do not have a passport from a treaty country. And this is a question that we both get a lot I think; and certainly this is one area where you can kind of walk us through a little bit. So, if I understand correctly one of the two main countries, or the two main countries that people try to get passports to get the E2 visa is Grenada, right? And Turkey as well.
So those are the two main countries and to walk back a little bit about that, if you have a visa from a treaty country that’s fantastic, you can just move on with your E2 treaty application as is. However, if you have a passport from a country that is not a treaty country, never fear, you still may be able to get an E2 by getting a passport from either Turkey or Grenada. And so, Michel, talk to us a little bit about that process and what Henley can do to help someone get a passport that may want to do an E2 visa.
Michel: Correct. Well, thank you very much for that background, Angie. Definitely, you know, I’m thankful that we have an industry that is called investment migration so that, you know, the possibility for someone to acquire an alternative residence or citizenship through investment or you know, it’s an exceptional investment to get an alternative passport. So, in this case, as you mentioned, there are two countries: one in the Caribbean and the other one is in Turkey, you know in Europe Asia, which is Turkey, that allows to acquire an alternative residence or citizenship (I would say passport) through an investment. So, in the Caribbean we have Grenada, and we have Turkey as well which is… you know, the two most popular countries where people will acquire this bridging strategy to eventually apply for an E2 visa further in the process to go to the U.S.
Angie: Yeah, perfect. So, let’s talk about Grenada a little bit, right? Like a little bit of the process. Like if I were from… let’s say Brazil or China or Russia and I really wanted an E2 visa and called Rupert Law Group and said “I really wanted an E2 visa,” I would say: “unfortunately you’re not going to be eligible for that but give Michel a call” and then, when they called you, you would say…
Michel: Well, definitely we will try to analyze a little bit more. Understand what is the family composition, what is, you know, who’s the main applicant of course. If they have some family members to be included in the application, because this is a process that you can apply not just by yourself, but you can include other family members to become citizens of Grenada. Of course, it will depend on the investment budget that you would like to you know, destined to this specific project but then eventually we will try to understand that specific family composition. Of course, we will walk you through the procedure, you know, there are several milestones, you know, documents to be gathered but definitely, we will do all the process from A to Z with our clients. So, we will guide them through the entire procedure.
Angie: Perfect. Can we talk just a little bit about the family members, because I think Grenada is fairly generous with the family members that can get the passport, is that accurate?
Michel: Indeed, you can actually include of course your spouse and minor children; but, you can also include adult children of the certain age and then, you can also include parents, which are dependent on you that you can include on the application. But it’s very generous, even siblings Angie, you can also include siblings, certain conditions need to be met, but of course, you can include an extended family composition so that you can maximize your investment and then you will become Grenadian citizens in a relatively short period of time. So that’s one of the very good things about this program.
Angie: Fantastic, that sounds amazing actually, the US is not quite so generous with the non-immigrant visas with the E2`s but, that’s great to know. So, really you can bring a lot of family members along with you on the Grenada citizenship path, right? Which is great. What would you say… so, once they say “ok, here are the number of family members that I have, here is kind of what I’m looking to do…” what are the next steps, in general?
Michel: Well, you will need to choose of course the investment route. You know, we have two investment routes in order to acquire citizenship in Grenada; one it’s an economic contribution, a nonrefundable investment to the government of Grenada. So, that will go to a specific fund that they will use for development of the country. And the other route that you have is real state. So, you will need to invest into a government approved project and then, eventually by acquiring that property you will get your citizenship by holding that property a certain number of years. So you will have to select which one is the one that you do – whether you do a nonrefundable contribution to the country or whether you invest in real estate. So that will be one of the first decisions the client will need to make.
Angie: Fantastic! And so, once they make that decision… and obviously there’s going to be a document gathering process, right? I mean, you’ll have to do some sort of background checks to make sure that they are admissible for this type of thing and then, you know, they’ll be some sort of tracing of the funds and sending the money and that type of thing, right?
Michel: Right, we will do first of all an initial due diligence procedure, we always go through initial details, just procedure, and we verify eligibility. So, the certain criteria that people will need to be assessed on whether, if there are any police record background and you know, everything that is about personal elements, we will verify that you are eligible. One of the things for example is that you have been denied a visa in a country where Grenada has visa free access, you will need to obtain that visa first, which is very rare. Most of the people they generally haven’t been denied a visa so, you know, they will go in a very straightforward procedure then, we will gather the documents. I will be lying if there… if I told you there are just 2-3 documents, there are some documents but, definitely we will guide through that process, as well.
And, once we have gathered the procedure, we will prepare the application and submit that to the substantial investment unit, which will analyze the process generally between three to four months, they will take to make a decision. If they require any additional information, they will come back to us and then we’ll get, what we call an approval in principle, and that’s when people will need to finalize the investment to get their citizenship documents.
Angie: Fantastic! So, it sounds… I mean, all governments kind of run the same, we all find out, right? So, it’s a there’s a lot of requirement documents, to prove that you meet those requirements. You submit, you wait and then hopefully you get the green light.
If someone called you today and said “I’m ready to move forward” and then, you know, “I already know how many family members are coming with me, I already have my funds set up and I know which way I’m gonna go, right?” Let’s do the government contribution or real estate. How long would a process like that to get your Grenada passport take?
Michel: So, in practice it takes between five to six months. It really depends also how fast people can gather documents, right? So certain people might take one month, two months so, it really depends how fast our clients will work on the document gathering. Then, the government processing time it’s really between 90 to 120 days. So, in practice, the overall process from on boarding until you can get your Grenadian passport, it’s around five to six months, in general. So, that would be a very good target and of course there are certain documents that have [inaudible] so we will coordinate the logistics for everything.
Angie: Fantastic. So great, I mean, that sounds like a very reasonable amount of time. Do you have an approximate cost associated? I mean, I know it varies a lot depending on how many family members and all types of things but, just for a single investor doing the government fund or a single investor doing the real estate.
Michel: Right, very good question Angie and I would say, depending on this specific route that you choose, there certain government costs… you know, you have the economic contribution if that’s the case, you will have certain due diligence fees from the government, you will have passport fees, application fees, so it really… you know, you start accumulating not just the minimum investment. So, for one single applicant… let me just get my calculator here because it can get relatively you know, it starts at the contribution at 150,000 U.S. dollars, that’s the minimum contribution you should be expecting to make through the non-refundable contribution and then you will have due diligence associated costs. So, that could be another chunk part of the application.
Angie: Yeah, let’s just talk about government fees because there’s all kinds of things, right?
Michel: Right, later there are several things so, I would say around $160,000 USD will be in government fees and your due diligence fees and you will start with the economic contribution part of it so, that would be the overall estimated initial cost.
Angie: Great, so that kind of gives everyone a sense. So, it’s similar to the minimum US visa, E2 visa investment as well, right, so similar to that, which would be great.
So, one of the advantages to getting the Grenada passport as opposed to some other options, again I’m talking about if you are from a non-treaty country, right. For example, we have a lot of Chinese and Indian investors who are interested in coming to the United states or Vietnamese, as well. And the backlog for the EB5 visa, which I would say is the more famous of the visas, right? So, that one was the minimum $500,000 USD investment, then it went up to a minimum $900,000 USD investment but now it’s back to a minimum $500,000 USD investment but, you can only do a direct investment at this point. Uhmm the regional centers are kind of on a temporary (hopefully temporary) pause but, the issue with the three of those countries – Vietnam India and China – in particular is, those could take a decade to process. That’s ten years, so if you are from one of those countries and wanted to come to the United States, let’s say, you’re really interested in… really interested in getting your kids in school and those kinds of things, waiting 10 years if your kids are already five years old…
Michel: It’s a long time.
Angie: …Most of their schooling is already gone, right? So, with this – what you’re kind of mentioning is – this will be overall even through both processes potentially cheaper than $500,000 USD and sounds like it could be about a year from the day you start getting your Grenada passport until the day you might be able to be doing your E2 visa interview. So, it could be cheaper and faster, which I always think is a great combo.
Michel: Definitely, I think, you know, five to six months to acquire a citizenship, it’s a relatively very short processing time until you have that second passport. And once you have that second passport the benefits of dual citizenship or even multiple citizenship, you know, you expand global mobility, you expand the possibility of eventually relocating to another jurisdiction, and if you ultimate goal as you mentioned, is E2 visa then it’s a great bridging strategy to .… Eventually within six months you already have your Grenada passport and then you can apply to that E2 visa without waiting those long processing times if you were a citizen of another country. So, definitely it’s a great opportunity for those people that want to apply in a relatively faster you know, shortcut to the E2 visa and that are not eligible for that.
Angie: Absolutely and I think those are excellent points potentially for the E2 visa. Now, again, as you pointed out, there are other advantages to having a Grenada passport. That could include just easier travel and all kinds of different things; but, because we’re talking kind of about the E2 visa today, for those who are from non-treaty countries it may be cheaper and faster than even doing an EB5 or something like that which could be really cool.
So, with that, let’s see… it looks like we may have… sorry about that, we may have a couple of questions here, but I lost them… hold on just a moment, let me see if we have… So, if someone were to choose the real estate option instead how long do they need to hold that and what if something happens in the middle like the development sells or something like that?
Michel: Very good question. You know, real estate project has to be a government approved project so you will have several projects in construction. Some of them, they’re already constructed. I think the key to going through the real state route is choosing the right project. So, definitely that’s, a critical element on the investment decision of choosing the specific project that you want to invest. You want to make sure that you are making an investment in a solid developer or someone that has already track record. So, that’s something we will help you identify and eventually guide you through that process.
You will need to hold that for at least five years, Angie. So that’s a minimum holding period you are supposed to hold your real estate asset before you can actually liquidate that investment. And eventually you can resell that property to another CBI investor so, another person or another investor looking for citizenship by investment. So that’s another good thing, you know, there’s always the possibility of liquidating your investment for someone that it’s acquiring the same procedure and the passport for Grenada. So, you will have a flow of investors all the time in that perspective.
Angie: Interesting. Yeah, that’s interesting. I mean, I like it because it does give people kind of a different option, right? I am also getting the question about if you can apply for the Grenada passport at the same time as the E2 visa? And yes, you can do a lot of the work for the E2 visa while you’re waiting on the Grenada passport, which is amazing. Obviously before you apply, we’re going to have to have the Grenada passport. But, it is possible for you to work on some of the E2 visa aspects while you’re waiting on the Grenada passport, and then we just don’t apply until you actually have that passport. So that’s the great news. So, with that… Michel we try to keep these things relatively short, so we don’t bore anyone to death however, any other kind of parting information that you like to give out to people or something important for people to know?
Michel: Yes, I think one thing that people always ask is whether they need to go to Grenada or if they can start that process remotely. So, this is a very frequent question that we always get so, the answer to that is that you can start everything remotely, you don’t need to go to Grenada or anything before, during or after the procedure. You’re more than welcome to do so but, that’s something you can start at any point in time and in a relatively remote 100% process. So that’s very good to know. You know, people don’t have to go to Grenada, now with COVID-19 restrictions, I think that’s very important, people were curious to know whether they needed to effectively go there to get their documents. That is not the case.
Angie: Ok, wonderful. Great now, and I get the same question actually, that’s great I get the same question a lot about do I need to go to Grenada to apply? I generally recommend that wherever you’re going where you have the passport you go to apply. Obviously during COVID times things are wild. It’s difficult to get from here to there, consulates are closed then they’re open again then they are closed again so, it’s really going to vary. Technically you could apply in any U.S. consulate anywhere in the world; however, they usually like it if you apply where you’re a citizen or a permanent resident at least.
And then final question… so I guess this one will be for me. …Successful Grenada and Turkey applications? There are many they do them, I mean they are actual people who are born and raised in Grenada and born and raised in Turkey that apply for E2 visas all the time. Same with the investors, and I have multiples signed up with me right now who are from other countries that are applying for Turkey, one for Grenada; so, they are possible, they’re out there and they are approved at the same rate that most E2 visas are approved. It’s not a different probability rate. So, anyway, hopefully that answers everyone’s questions. Michel, thank you so much. Any contact info that you would like to give out before we part today?
Michel: Sure, so we have our henlyglobal.com website so that’s you know, you can find a little bit more information on the program, on all jurisdictions as well as Turkey for example in there and you have my email you know, firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to reach out.
Angie: Fabulous. And for Rupert Law Group you can go to the website RupertLawGroup.com, you can email me at ARupert@RupertLwGroup.com, send a text, fill out a form, send it to us, we’ll get back to you soon. So thank you so much Michel, thanks everyone who joined us. Bye bye.