Foreign investment in the United States benefits the national economy and creates job opportunities in areas where they may be needed the most. This is why U.S. immigration law provides overseas investors with the means of obtaining a visa and coming here to establish, manage, or invest in different types of businesses.
If your goal is to invest your time, skills, and capital in the U.S. economy, the visas below can provide you with the means of doing so.
E-2 Treaty Investor Visa
The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is a renewable visa for foreign nationals who intend to make a substantial investment in a U.S. business or who are employed by such a business. To qualify for an E-2 visa, you must meet certain requirements, the most important of which include:
You must be from a country that has a bilateral commerce treaty with the United States.
You intend to invest a certain amount of capital in a new or existing enterprise.
You intend to develop and direct this business, a fact that can be established by holding a senior management position or having at least 50% ownership in the company.
You can prove that your funding source is legitimate.
You are also permitted to bring key employees to the United States on an E-2 visa, provided that they share your nationality and will either hold a supervisory position or have special skills that are essential to business operation and difficult to find in the United States.
Once issued, an E-2 visa is valid for two years. You can apply for an indefinite number of two-year extensions provided that you remain employed in investment activities.
The L-1 visa allows a U.S. employer to transfer executives or employees with specialized knowledge from one of its foreign offices to the United States. It also permits a foreign company that does not yet have a U.S. branch to send an executive or employee with special skills to the United States to set one up.
To apply for an L-1 visa, you must own or operate a subsidiary or branch of a foreign company and either currently or intend to do business in the U.S. and at least one other country. The recipient of the L-1 must have been working for your organization for one continuous year in the three years prior to arriving in the U.S. and intend to occupy a managerial or executive role (L-1A visa) or use specialized knowledge to advance company goals (L-1B).
Employees being sent to establish a new office will be granted an initial stay of one year maximum; others will be granted three years. L-1A visa holders can request two-year extensions until they have reached a limit of seven years. At this point, they may apply for permanent residency.
The EB-5 visa is for investors who intend to do one of the following:
Invest at least $1 million in the creation, purchase or reorganization of a U.S., business. In areas of high unemployment, the minimum investment is $500,000.
Invest $500,000 or $1 million (depending on location) in designated Regional Center projects
Your investment must also create at least 10 new jobs for U.S. citizens or permanent residents within two years.
With an EB-5 visa, you can be a passive investor or an active entrepreneur. After two years of conditional residency, you may apply for permanent residency provided you have fulfilled the conditions of the visa.
The E-2, L-1, and EB-5 visas are excellent opportunities for foreign investors to contribute to the U.S. economy and eventually become permanent residents. For experienced and trusted assistance in achieving your business and residency goals, contact the Law Offices of Connie Kaplan, PA.
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