investment visa

Investment Visas

investment visa

Investment and Entrepreneur Visas

If you want to start or run a business in the United States, you must first obtain authorization through the immigrant or nonimmigrant visa process to live and work here. We can help you determine which visa classification works best for you.

There are several visa pathways for foreign entrepreneurs. The nonimmigrant visa pathways may allow foreign entrepreneurs to explore or start a new business in the United States. The immigrant visa pathways may allow foreign entrepreneurs who have already started or are about to start a new business in the United States to immigrate permanently to the United States. The Law Office of Kelly Wachs specializes in EB-5, E-1/E-2, and EB-2 visas for investors and entrepreneurs.

The EB-5 visa is an immigrant visa, created to encourage immigrants to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation or capital investment. The E-1/E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows foreign-born entrepreneurs to live in the U.S. temporarily, either by conducting significant trade between their home country and the United States, or by establishing a new business in the U.S. The EB-2 with a National interest Waiver visa is an immigrant visa which can be utilized by entrepreneurs.

It is also possible to obtain a nonimmigrant H-1B visa if you are a startup founder or wish to establish a professional office in the United States.

The Law Office of Kelly Wachs specializes in the following categories of investment and entrepreneur visas:

  • EB-5: Immigrant Investor Program
  • E-1 and E-2: Treaty Trade and Treaty Investor
  • EB-2/NIW: EB-2 Visa with a National Interest Waiver

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

The EB-5 visa was created to encourage immigrants to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation or capital investment. The program creates the opportunity for foreign investors and their families to obtain a Green Card and attain full immigration benefits, including access to the U.S. educational system for their children, and legal permanent residence status to live and work anywhere in the U.S. This program eventually leads to the opportunity for U.S. citizenship. The two investment-based immigration paths available to EB-5 applicants are Direct Investment and Regional Center Investment.

Direct Investment

To obtain a Green Card through Direct Investment, an immigrant investor must make an investment of $1 million in a new commercial enterprise in the U.S. that will create 10 new jobs within a two-year period. Alternatively, an immigrant investor can make an investment of at least $500,000 in a “target employment area.” To qualify the investment must be made in a rural area, or in an area with a high unemployment rate, and create 10 new jobs within the first two years.

The regulations permit three methods of establishing a new commercial enterprise: the creation of an original business, the purchase of an existing business and simultaneous restructuring or reorganization to create a new commercial organization, or the expansion of an existing business through the investment so that a substantial change in the net worth or number of employees results.

Regional Center Investment

To obtain a Green Card through Regional Center Investment, an immigrant investor must make an investment of $1 million in a USCIS approved Regional Investment Center, or make an investment of at least $500,000 in a Regional Investment Center in a “target employment area.” There are many qualifying investment centers that have projects pre-approved by USCIS to accept investment funds.

With Regional Center Investment, there are a few advantages. First, the investor need not create an entirely new commercial enterprise. Second,  the investor must show only that the investment would likely create or save at least 10 jobs. Third, the investor’s participation in management or policymaking can be largely symbolic, with the investor’s vote as a limited partner satisfying the requirement. Finally, an investor can enter the U.S. on a conditional green card and then work wherever they and their families desire. Most participants have found the Regional Center Investment to be the easiest route to an EB-5 Green Card visa.

Conditional EB-5 Green Card

With either the Direct Investment or Regional Center Investment route, an approved investor will be issued a Conditional Green Card valid for two years. At the end of the two-year period, or in some cases slightly longer, an application to remove the “conditions” must be filed in order to obtain a permanent (10-year) green card.  This application must demonstrate that the job creation and other requirements of either the Direct Investment or Regional Center Investment have been satisfied.

The benefits of your investment

The main advantage of immigration through the EB-5 visa program for investors and their families is the speed by which they can obtain a Green Card and legal residence in the U. S. The benefits for the U.S. economy are new jobs for people in areas that need the most economic support. The Law Office of Kelly S. Wachs can help you to determine the best route to obtain an EB-5 Green Card. Contact us to learn how you and your family can enjoy the many benefits of living and working in America through your investment in the U.S. economy.

E-1/E-2 Visas

E-1/E-2 or Treaty Trade/Treaty Investor visas allow foreign-born entrepreneurs to establish companies that they wish to operate in the U.S. The E visas are limited by a treaty to only specific nationalities. In the case of countries with treaties allowing for both types of E visas, the decision as to which visa to apply for becomes a business decision. The E visa is typically granted for 2 years, depending on the specific treaty. If the business is a success, extensions are for 5 years at a time, and can be renewed indefinitely. Spouses and dependent children of E visa holders attend school in the United States, and can also apply to work.

E-1 Visa: Treaty Trade

The E-1 visa is for those who trade goods or services with the United States, providing an option for an individual to travel to the United States to carry on trade between his or her country and the United States. The visa holder must own at least 50% of a business that conducts a substantial flow of trade between the U.S. and the visa holder’s home country.

E-2 Visa: Treaty Investor

The E-2 is for those who wish to establish a business in the United States, allowing individuals who qualify as “treaty investors” to travel to the United States. The visa holder must own at least 50% of a business in which a significant amount of capital has been invested or is in the process of being invested, and reside in the United States for the purposes of developing and directing the operations of this business. Executive, supervisory, and specialized knowledge employees of E companies who share the same nationality as the owners may also qualify for E-2 status, however moving from an E visa to a Green Card is often more tricky than moving from the L-1 to a Green Card. Please contact us to determine the best choice for you.

EB-2 Visa with a National Interest Waiver (NIW)

EB-2 visas are for those who are seeking to come to work and live in the United States permanently. This visa is for professionals with advanced degrees and individuals with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. EB-2 visas require Labor Certification from the U.S. Department of Labor, which requires a job offer from a U.S. employer. Applicants without a job offer from a United States business who want to start a business can apply for a National Interest Waiver in order to qualify for the EB-2 permanent residence visa. This waiver states that it is in the interest of the United States to waive the labor certification requirement and grant a Green Card for permanent residence.

National Interest Waiver

Entrepreneurs seeking EB-2 classification and exemption from the job offer and labor certification requirements based on the national interest must first demonstrate that they are either a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or an individual of exceptional ability. Although a job offer from an employer and a labor certification from the Department of Labor are generally required for the EB-2 classification, you may be eligible for a waiver of these requirements based on the “national interest.”

To obtain a National Interest Waiver, applicants must show that it would be in the interest of the United States to waive their job offer and labor certification requirements. Applicants must show that they plan on working in the United States in an area of substantial intrinsic merit, and that the proposed impact of their work is national in scope. USCIS will consider entrepreneurs with enterprises that will benefit the U.S. to a substantially greater degree than the work of others in the same field. Benefits might include improving working conditions and wages, training and educational programs, creating affordable housing, improving the environment, or improving health care.  Applicants must show that the national benefits they offer are so great that they outweigh any adverse effects on wages and working conditions of U.S. workers employed in the same field.

The Law Office of Kelly S. Wachs can help you gather evidence you may submit to obtain a National Interest Waiver that establishes you as having some unique and exceptional skill, experience, or knowledge that sets you 
apart from your professional peers.