The U.S. is always looking for innovative entrepreneurs and investors. Here are five visa options for international investors and entrepreneurs who are seeking good investment opportunities in the United States.
Option 1: EB-5 Regional Center Investment
The EB-5 regional center investment option allows you to invest $900,000 in an EB-5 government-approved “Regional Center.” EB-5 regional centers are private-sector entities that pool investor money to develop hotels, resorts, and other projects.
Your EB-5 Regional Center investment must create ten or more full-time jobs for U.S. workers. When the job creation requirement has been satisfied, the investor and his or her immediate family may apply for lawful permanent residency – that is, green cards.
Investors and their immediate families may live, work, and study anywhere in the United States. There are no education, age, or language requirements for the EB-5 visa.
International investors can best take advantage of the EB-5 Regional Center investment program by working with an experienced Dublin immigration attorney who routinely helps investors looking to invest in the United States.
Only 10,000 EB-5 visas are offered every year, so you must begin the application process as early as possible. Investments are not guaranteed, so your money will be at risk, but the Regional Center program has operated for more than twenty years with an excellent record of success.
Option 2: EB-5 Direct Investment
This option is somewhat different from the Regional Center investment option, where your funds are managed by the Regional Center, and your personal involvement is minimal. With the EB-5 direct investment option, you’re in charge.
To obtain green cards for yourself and your immediate family with the EB-5 direct investment option, you must invest $1.8 million in your own U.S.-based business – or an ongoing business – and directly employ at least ten U.S. workers for at least two years.
The EB-5 visa program has provided about $6.5 billion to development projects across the United States over the last decade, and has created over 130,000 jobs.
If you are an international investor looking for a good investment opportunity in the United States, an EB-5 direct investment might be right for you. Investors with specific questions regarding EB-5 direct investments should consult with a good immigration lawyer in the U.S.
Option 3: Inter-Corporate Transfer (L-1 Visa)
If you are transferred by your foreign-based company to an affiliate in the U.S. to work as a manager, an executive, or a person with specialized knowledge, you may apply to obtain a green card if you can meet these requirements:
- You have worked for the company abroad for at least one year in the last three years.
- Your job in the U.S. must be similar to the job you were doing for the company abroad.
The employer must be doing business in the U.S. and in at least one other country directly or through a parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary for the duration of the employee’s stay. The processing time for inter-corporate green card transferees is about 18 months.
Foreign nationals who want or need to enter the United States temporarily to work for their company’s U.S. affiliate should apply for an L-1 visa. While L-1 visas are routinely approved, most employers will need an immigration attorney’s help with the complicated paperwork.
Option 4: E-2 Visa
If you are a sharp investor, you already know that superior investment opportunities are found throughout the United States. If your home country has an investment treaty with the U.S., you may apply for an E-2 visa to start up a new business or invest in an ongoing business in the U.S.
To obtain an E-2 visa, an international investor must show how his or her investment will create jobs for U.S.-based workers. The spouses of E-2 visa holders may also obtain authorization to work anywhere in the U.S.
E-2 visas are granted for up to five years, but if the visa requirements are met, E-2 visas are renewable indefinitely. The E-2 visa offers quick entry into the United States and may function as a stepping stone to the EB-5 visa and lawful permanent residency.
If you are already in the United States and you apply for an E-2 visa, you will also have to apply for a change of status by submitting Form I-129. The visa and investment requirements are quite complex, so entrepreneurs will very much need an immigration lawyer’s help.
Option 5: EB-1 Visa for “Extraordinary” Immigrants
If you have some type of extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, business, or sports, then you may apply directly for a green card. The EB-1 “priority workers” visa is for immigrants with “extraordinary ability” in these fields.
To obtain the EB-1 visa based on extraordinary ability, your achievements must be widely recognized in your field and extensively documented. You will need to prove your exceptional ability in your field with your awards and honors as well as any articles published about you.
Sponsorship or an employment offer is not required when the applicant’s extraordinary ability can be sufficiently demonstrated. The EB-1 visa allows immigrants with extraordinary ability to remain indefinitely in the United States.
What’s Your Next Step?
If you are an international entrepreneur or investor, an experienced Dublin immigration attorney can help you determine which of these five visa options is right for you.
When you are approved for a green card, you may apply for U.S. citizenship and a U.S. passport after five years, provided that you have satisfied all other immigration requirements.
However, mistakes in your visa petition paperwork could result in substantial delays in the approval of your visa, or even a denial.
Therefore, it is best to seek the guidance of the experienced immigration attorneys at Sam Shihab & Associates to address any questions you may have about these investment visa options.
Contact us today! We are here to help.