Two Types of Visas
There are two types of visas: Non-immigrant visas (NIV) and Immigrant visas (IV)
• The Non-Immigrant Visa: This visa allows you to come into the United States on a temporary basis for a specific purpose based on the type of your visa.
• The Immigrant Visa: After entering the U.S. on an Immigrant Visa, the “green card” will come in the mail. With the green card, you may live and work in the U.S. permanently.
A foreign national can also enter the United States on one of the following investor visas:
The E-2 is an NIV and is easier to obtain. However, you must be a citizen of a country that is on the list for E-2 visa. You can find the list here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/fees/treaty.html. The main requirements are:
• Invest in a substantial amount of money. The law does not specify how much. The amount will depend on your business.
• The investment will have an impact on the local economy. If your business will create at least one or two jobs for U.S. workers, it will be very positive.
• The business cannot be a marginal business. This means your business cannot provide the investor with only minimal standard of living.
• The source and path of investment funds must be legal. Bank statement or transmission notices are required.
• The investor must control and operate the business
Depending on your citizenship, you may be issued an E-2 visa for up to 5 years. You man renew it as many times as you like, as long as your business is viable, and you continue to meet the requirements. An E-2 spouse may apply for a work permit, and E-2 children may go to public schools. Most people can obtain the E-2 visa in 3 to 6 months, so it is relatively easy and fast.
The EB-5 is for permanent residence, i.e. the green card. The main requirements are:
• You invest in the requisite amount, which is either US$900,000 or US$1,800,000.
• Your investment must create 10 full time jobs for U.S. workers
• You must prove your investment funds came from a legal source and you transferred them to the U.S. through legal paths. USCIS examine this requirement much more strictly than the E-2 applicant.
If successful, the EB-5 applicant will be issued a conditional 2-year “green card.” In two years, the investor needs to apply for a permanent green card by proving to USCIS that the money remains invested and the 10 US jobs have been created. Unfortunately, the EB-5 process takes a while – about 3 to 5 years to get a conditional green card (much longer for China born citizens due to backlog), plus two years for the conditional permanent residence, plus another 2 to 4 years for the application for the permanent green card. The EB-5 represents a great commitment of time and money by the investors. However, for some, it is the only way to gain permanent residence in the U.S.
You may be so busy running your business that you don’t have time to research the type of visa that you need for your particular situation. In this case, you must seek the services of an immigration attorney Scottsdale for help.
The O-1 Visa for Individuals with Extraordinary Ability
The extraordinary ability visa may be an option for you to enter the U.S. to start a new business, if you are running an exceptionally successful business in your country. The O-1 has strict requirements and it may not work for most people. However, if you have an innovative idea for a company, have been in the news or written many articles about it, you may qualify for this type of visa. Your job will be to convince the United States government that you actually do possess an extraordinary ability, but an immigration attorney Scottsdale AZ will be able to help you do this.
If you have any questions, contact us at the law offices of the JCL Immigration Attorneys.