For foreign investors looking for both a way to obtain a US visa and invest in a business in the United States, the US government offers foreign investors 2 options. The E2 treaty investor visa and the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa are business investment visas. Another business type visa is the L1 visa, or how it is formally known, the L-1A Intra-company Transferee Executive or Manager. This visa however is not an investment type visa, but it is a business type visa. All three visas have attractive features; however, the requirements are different and depending on the applicant, one visa may make more sense than the others.
The EB-5 visa immigrant investor visa is one of the more straightforward visas, however it may also be one of the more expensive visas to obtain. The reason for this is because the applicant, must invest a large sum of money into a business. Depending on the location and type of business, the investment will be a minimum of $500,000.
This is not a fee however, it is an investment. The ultimate goal of an investment is for the investment to pay off as much as possible. This is also true for the EB-5 visa. The investment that the investor makes is his or her money, meaning that if the business he or she invested in succeeds, then the investor will turn a profit.
This is why it is important for the applicant to do his or her homework so that he or she chooses a wise investment and makes money in the process after obtaining his or her US visa. There are other requirements that must be met in order to obtain the EB-5 visa, however the investment funds required to obtain this visa is what makes it stand out.
This visa offers the investor a more hands on approach to their investment. The investor doesn’t just cut a check and let the business do what it’s going to do. The investor can play a role in what happens to the business.
The main difference between this visa and the other two business visas is that this is an immigration visa. This means that the applicant (and the applicant’s family) will receive a Green Card if approved.
The US government offers another investment type business visa, however there are a few requirements that the applicant must meet to even be eligible to apply for this visa. The E2 visa Treaty Investor Visa is only offered to investors who are citizens of nations that have an existing commerce treaty with the United States. Although there are many nations that have a treaty visa with the United States, for the few that are citizens of nations that do not, the investor would not qualify for this visa. For those investors who are nationals of a nation that has a commerce treaty with the United States, the applicant must then make an investment in a US company or enterprise.
There is no exact dollar amount that the investor must invest, however the investment must be of “substantial amount”. The United States Government determines what a substantial amount is by:
- Substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one
- Sufficient to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise
- Of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise. The lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher, proportionately, the investment must be to be considered substantial.
Like the EB-5 visa, the E2 visa is an investment type business visa. This means that the applicant must do his or her homework in determining which business to invest in. Ultimately, an investment is a risk with the potential of a reward, but the risk falls solely on the investor, like any investment.
The last of the business visas is the L1 visa. This is not an investment type visa so there is no investment required in order to obtain it. This visa is normally used by big corporations who have offices all over the world, including in the United States. The business uses this visa in order to transfer one of the business’s executive, manager, or other high-ranking decision-making official from a foreign office to one of the business’s US office. There is also a minimum time that the executive must have been working for the company before he or she is eligible for this visa.
One of the nicest perks that all three of these visas have in common is that they all allow the immediate family members of the applicant to come to the United States. This includes the applicant’s spouse and children.
In order to be sure that you meet the requirements and/ or to properly file a petition, it is advisable to seek legal guidance from an experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney.
This is an immigration legal blog. It is not intended to be used as legal advice. For further information please contact the law offices of attorney Ramona Kennedy.
Ramona Kennedy (Attorney) received her Jurisprudence Doctorate in America and is a licensed attorney in California (USA). Ramona Kennedy is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Ramona Kennedy is fluent in English and Farsi (reading & writing) & speaks Azeri Turkish.
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