In deciding what immigration program to choose, the first step is to do a needs analysis. People immigrate for a wide variety of reasons. By considering their needs, we can better advise clients which program to choose. Among the most important needs are:
1. Escaping persecution, violence and war to countries that provide safety, stability and freedom.
2. Lack of jobs and poor wages to countries with good job prospects and higher wages.
3. Natural disasters, pollution and crop failures to a better environment and food availability
4. Family separation and lack of opportunities to family reunification and quality of life.
5. No viable future or hope for children to a promise of a better life.
When we talk about investor immigrants, certain needs take on increased priority. High on the list are security and a plan B for the family, relocation and quality of life. Other considerations are access, mobility, health care and education.
No country is perfect. However, one country that scores high marks for meeting many of these kinds of needs is Grenada and its citizenship by investment program. Its officials like to call the Grenada program the “Ferrari of citizenship.” Among its most attractive features are:
1. Fast processing times – only four months.
2. Inclusion of children under 30 and dependent parents or grandparents over 55 and/or unmarried siblings.
3. No physical presence requirement.
4. No interview, education or managerial experience requirements.
5. No tax on worldwide income.
7. Capacity to obtain an E-2 visa to work in the United States.
As for the cost, a single applicant can get a Grenada passport for an investment of as little as $ 150,00 U.S. A family of four would invest $ 200,000. Additional family members would cost $ 25,000 each. These amounts are paid to the Grenada National Transformational Fund and are not refundable. As for fees, there is a due diligence fee of $ 5000 U.S. per person of anyone over 17 years of age and processing fees of $ 500 U.S. per person for those under 17. An alternative way of getting the citizenship is a real estate investment option. This would involve an investment of $ 220,000 U.S. In this case the fees mentioned are the same but there is a $ 50,000 U.S. fee for a family of four and $ 25,000 additional fee per person thereafter. In either case, if there is a sibling applicant involved, then there is an additional fee of $ 75,000 U.S. per person is charged for such applicants.
A few salient facts about Grenada are the it has a Westminster style of government, the national language is English, it is known to be a stable country with the lowest crime rate in the region, it is a member of the Caribbean CARICOM community and it has a three to five percent annual growth rate. The country strictly reviews all applicantions for citizenship by doing its due diligence on all applicants and their source of funds before they are approved – which is important to the integrity of the country’s passport and why Grenadians can travel worldwide. Grenada houses St. George’s University with some 8000 students which is a kind of incubator for some students aiming to become U.S. doctors because of the college’s ties to the American medical system and U.S. hospitals where they train.
Perhaps the most attractive feature of Grenada is its investment treaty with the United States which makes it possible for citizens of Grenada to obtain E-2 work visas to run businesses they establish there. It was former American President Ronald Reagan that signed the E-2 treaty with Grenada in 1983. Peter David, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Grenada, recently indicated that last year there were 39 Grenada citizens who qualified for E-2 visas to the United States. He expects the program to continue and highlighted that his country was the only Caribbean country with this treaty option.
Such E-2 visa applications are processed through the U.S. Consulate in Barbados. Applicants must be ready to direct and develop their businesses in the U.S. Usually E-2 work visas are issued for five years and are renewable indefinitely so long as the business continues. However, it is not as easy as it may appear. The applicant must show a nexus with Grenada, and therefore, must have been physically present there and established a residence address. Furthermore, the investment in the E-2 American enterprise may not be made until after the applicant has acquired Grenada citizenship. While knowledge of English is not strictly required, some knowledge of English sufficient to satisfy the immigration officer that the applicant is capable of directing and developing the business is required. While no specific investment amount is specified, many U.S. immigration attorneys have found that in most instances at least $ 100,000 U.S. would be required. In normal times, processing can be done in one or two months.
When you consider the combined costs and requirements of a Grenada citizenship and U.S. E-2 work visa strategy, you are looking at an investment of say roughly $ 350,000 U.S. and a wait time of about six months. Put more bluntly, a foreign investor with that amount of money could be in the United States with the investor’s family within about six months under these programs. A novel immigration strategy to obtain permanent residence in the U.S. would be to set up affiliated businesses in Grenada and America. Have each spouse run one of the two businesses for at least a year to establish eligibility for an inter-corporate transferee green card. Then transfer the Grenada-based spouse into the USA to run the U.S. business. Such an approach would help a Chinese family, for example, by speeding up their processing priority on the U.S. Visa Bulletin from the fifth to the first category, shaving off about two years of processing delays in getting green cards.
To summarize, Grenada is a country that offers investor immigrants many benefits that may coincide with their needs. Among the most attractive are fast and easy processing of citizenship applications, a well-respected passport that facilitates world travel, a reasonable place to live, and a gateway to accessing the United States with an E-2 work visa. For these reasons it scores high marks for international investor immigrants seeking a second passport.