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Visas for Investors

Foreigners who wish to invest in a business in the United States need a visa in order to do so. Their three likeliest options for visa application are EB-5, the most common, E-1, and E-2. All three will allow them to obtain legal status for their purpose in coming to the United States.

  1. EB-5

Foreign nationals who invest in a commercial enterprise in the US, in the process of creating or preserving at least 10 permanent full-time jobs for American workers, may actually apply for a green card and be granted legal permanent residence through an EB-5 visa. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS, a commercial enterprise is an entity existing for profit, formed by any publicly or privately owned business entity or trust for the purpose of conducting ongoing lawful business.

To qualify for an EB-5 investor visa, an alien must invest at least $900,000 in a targeted location, usually either a high unemployment area or a rural one. For any place in the United States, his investment must be at least $1.8 million. The investment capital should be his or her own money, not borrowed. These numbers apply to any petition filed with the USCIS after November 21, 2019. The targeted areas alluded to generally boast at least 150 percent of the national unemployment rate average. Locations outside a metropolitan statistical area or bordering any town or city with 20,000 or more residents are commonly targeted as well. Upon investment of the required amount, the USCIS office gives conditional permanent residence to the investor.

investor visasThe investor’s visa petition may include his or her spouse and unmarried children younger than 21 years old. To remove the conditions in the first two-year residency period, they must file separate petitions unless the investing foreign national includes the family in his or her petition to remove the conditions. Take note that the investor and the investor’s dependents cannot be counted among the 10 full-time employees required to be eligible for the conditional green card available through the EB–5 investor visa even if they do work for the company.

Following November 21, 2019, EB-5 investors may also have an easier time getting a green card since they may be able to use the original priority date from their earlier petition instead of the one assigned to them from their most recent petition.

  1. E-1

This is a treaty traders visa, which allows a foreigner from a country with which the United States has an existing trade treaty to live and work in the US, provided that he or she engages in a significant volume of international trade. 

An E-1 visa holder is allowed to trade in technology, services, and goods as long as the principal trade primarily transpires between the US and the investor’s homeland. What can be considered substantial trade? According to USCIS, it refers to the consistent flow of sizable international trade transactions over time. Meanwhile, principal trade refers to over 50 percent of total international trade volume.

  1. E-2

This is a non-immigrant visa for foreign nationals to stay and work in the US in a company in which a significant cash amount has been invested by the visa holders themselves or by other citizens from their home country, which is in a treaty of commerce and navigation with the US. The Immigration and National Act provides authorization for this kind of investor visa, which provides an initial term of up to five years, including unlimited exceptions. E-2 visa holders may only work for the business or employer that sponsored their visa petition.

Interested in Investing in the US? Consult a Florida Immigration Lawyer Now!

The above US visas for investors are just three of the options you can choose from. There are more available, and to figure out which ones you’re eligible for and which specific visa best suits your purpose, it’s recommended that you speak with an immigration attorney about your case. For legal advice and assistance in matters involving immigration law, call us at AmLaw Group to speak with one of our experienced immigration attorneys.

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