Investment Visas in the USA

Investment visas are pivotal to the United States economy. As foreign investors are looking to travel and conduct business in the United States, these individuals must first apply for a visa. In the United States, an investor visa permits citizens from foreign countries to either operate a business in the United States or pursue permanent residence. 

Investment visas allow foreign investors, entrepreneurs, and others to travel to the United States to conduct business. However, certain investment visas can potentially permit individuals to pursue permanent residence. 

If you are looking to conduct business in the United States and are unsure which investment visa you should pursue, we recommend consulting with an immigration lawyer and reading further to learn more about the potential investment visas that best align with you. 

E-2 Visa

The E-2 Visa, otherwise known as a treaty investor visa, is a non-immigrant visa that permits a citizen of a treaty country to enter the United States and either invest and establish a business or continue to invest in a pre-existing American company such as a franchise. This visa has no regulation regarding a minimum investment requirement. It can be renewed as necessary once every two years, but an individual must have an intention to depart if their status is not renewed on time or terminated.

To qualify for an E-2 visa, you must invest significant capital in a U.S. business, and your native country must have a treaty agreement with the United States. This international treaty establishes friendship, commerce and navigation with another country, and as of 2022, eighty-two countries have established a treaty with the United States. The E-2 visa does not grant permanent residency.

To stay updated on the latest rules and regulations, an E-2 visa lawyer is your best source of reference to see if you are eligible to apply for an E-2 visa. 

E1 Visa

The E-1 Visa, also called the treaty trader visa, is another non-immigrant classification that allows a citizen of a treaty country to invest and operate a business in the United States. The treaty trader visa allows investors to enter the United States solely to partake in international trade on their country’s behalf. There must be a continuous and substantial amount of trade between the treaty country and the United States to promote financial profit between the two countries. 

Trade can include goods, services, technology, and other items. The E-1 visa is binding for two years, and an individual can request an extension as often as they can prove that they or their family must reside in the United States to conduct their business. If you are looking to request an extension on your E-1 visa, contact an immigration lawyer to obtain the appropriate documents and discuss your immigration case.

EB-5 Visa

The employment-based fifth preference visa, EB-5 Visa, is a program that grants visas to individuals who specifically invest in commercial enterprises, which creates and maintains a certain amount of jobs that help stimulate and promote economic growth within a specific region of the United States. These enterprises are then approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) based on proposals to channel more economic growth.

Unlike other investment visas, requirements for the EB-5 visa state that you must invest at least $1 million fifty-thousand, or $800,000, if an investor chooses to invest and conduct business in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) or in a regional center associated infrastructure project. TEA communities, usually rural, are required to have a high unemployment rate, no less than 150% of the national employment rate. 

Once a business is established in the United States, investors must create at least ten permanent full-time job positions for legalized American citizens. Under the EB-5 Visa, investors, spouses, and unmarried children under 21 seeking permanent residence can apply for a Green Card. 

L-1A Visa

The L-1A Visa permits foreign businesses the ability to send an executive or manager to institute a U.S. -based office, or branch. The company must have no offices in the United States and once established an individual may only work for the company that is sponsoring the L-1A Visa.

International Entrepreneur program

The International Entrepreneur Parole (IEP) Program assists foreign entrepreneurs in starting their businesses in the United States. In this program, the entrepreneur or individual seeking to start a business in the United States must prove that their business can benefit the public. Under this requirement, entrepreneurs granted parole will only be permitted to work solely for their newly established companies.  

Approximately only three entrepreneurs per start-up can receive parole under this program. In addition, an entrepreneur’s spouse and children may also be eligible to reside in the United States temporarily. 

Overall, investment visas have proven to stimulate economic growth across the United States and have helped foreign entrepreneurs and investors, as well as their families, establish businesses, grow their offices internationally and become stakeholders in major franchises. If you are a foreign entrepreneur or investor seeking to reside in the United States temporarily, we suggest reaching out to a knowledgeable immigration lawyer to figure out which investment visa would work best for you and your business.