As a Columbus E1 & E2 investor visa law firm, we know that one option for getting a visa to live and work in the U.S. is for foreign citizens to make a substantial investment in the U.S. economy. The government defines a substantial investment as either $500,000 or $1,000,000. The lower amount is allowed if the investment is made into a government designated industry, and the higher amount is allowed if the investment is made into any other industry. The government offers the discount in order to boost investments into industries that could use them the most.
Legitimacy is Key
Some hurdles which foreign investors may face on the path to an investor visa include proving that the business into which the investment is made is a legitimate business, and that the funds used to make the investment were legally earned. An attorney with experience in helping foreign citizens get approved for the investor visa can help foreign investors prove that a business and investment funds are legitimate by explaining to the foreign investor what kind of documentation will be needed to prove legitimacy.
The reason why legitimacy is so important is because, if the government believes that the business or investment funds are suspect, it will generally deny the visa application. If the business and funds are in fact actually legitimate, a denial from the government can add a substantial amount of waiting time to the foreign investor’s overall application process, so being able to show legitimacy as early as possible is crucial.
If a person is approved for an investor visa, the first issuance of the visa will be provisional, and will last for a period of two years, according to our business immigration lawyers. During this time, the foreign investor’s investment is required to grow the business by a minimum amount. For new businesses, the investment must create at least 10 jobs for qualified American workers. For existing businesses, the investment must expand the business by either 40% in terms of work force or net worth. Unfortunately, nobody can guarantee that an investment will be successful, but an attorney can help foreign investors should they feel that they may need an extension to their provisional visas if they are unable to expand the business by minimum amounts within the two year provisional period.
A Visa Option with a Strong Reputation
The investor visa program, referred to as the EB-5 visa program by immigration officials, has existed since the 1990s, and so far has helped the United States attract millions of investment dollars from foreign citizens. The investments have helped launch and sustain businesses all around the country and have helped the government raise a substantial amount of tax revenue over the years. Part of what makes the program so successful is that it is a true win/win – the foreign investor gets a visa for him or herself, plus the opportunity to get visas for his or her immediate family, and the U.S. economy gets a cash infusion that helps to build business.
If they would like more advice on applying for and getting approved for an EB-5 investor visa, foreign citizens are encouraged to speak with our experienced business immigration attorneys.