It’s no secret that the U.S. market is one of the most lucrative in the world to invest in. The rewards to be gained are usually high, and if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. In fact, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, $4.98 trillion was invested in the U.S. by foreign capital.
After all, the U.S. is The Land of Opportunity, and as an investor, you may want to start growing your business. But what employment-based visas will allow you to enter the U.S. to explore new venture opportunities? At Kuck Baxter, we will explain the types of visas that foreign investors can apply for, according to your eligibility status.
The EB-5 visa category, known as the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, has helped foreign financiers immigrate to the U.S. to contribute to new growth in the national economy by creating more jobs with the capital they pour into American businesses.
In order to be eligible for this visa category, the investor must prove that they have an intention, and the amount of money needed, to create a positive economic impact. According to USCIS, in order for investors to apply for a green card under the EB-5 Program, they must:
- Make a “necessary” investment in a business in the United States. If the investor is going to intervene in a company that is in a Targeted Investment Area, which is in a high-unemployment or rural area, the amount of capital “necessary” is at least $800,000. However, if they’re going to invest in a venture that isn’t in these areas, the minimum investment is $1,200,000.
- The investor needs to have a plan to create or at least maintain 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified workers in a Targeted Investment Area.
When the investor is applying for an EB-5, it is necessary to prove that they have the income and/or net worth required to carry out their investment, while also showing that their money was acquired lawfully. Additionally, this visa allows investors to bring their spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age with them.
Also, each year, there is a certain limited number of EB-5 visas that the U.S. government issues. Therefore, it is important that you have all the documents needed to apply for this category, alongside proof of your finances. By doing so, your process will not be delayed, and/or you won’t miss out on obtaining a visa and don’t have to wait until the next annual cycle of issued visas.
At Kuck Baxter, once you’re eligible, we can guide you with your EB-5 visa process to help you avoid mistakes and gather the appropriate documentation needed to apply and obtain your visa. We will also provide you with any suggestions necessary to make sure your business plan complies with USCIS’s standards.
E-2 Visas: Treaty Investors
Another visa that allows foreign investors to have the opportunity to immigrate to the U.S. to build their business presence is the E-2 visa. This visa category allows nationals of a certain country that the U.S. currently has a treaty of commerce and navigation or an international agreement with to immigrate to the country. The U.S. Department of State has a list of the 78 nations that the United States has economic alliances with.
In order for the investor to qualify for the E-2 visa category, they must:
- Be a national of a country that has a treaty with the U.S.
- Be investing or have invested capital into a company that is considered to be real, active, and operational while also making a profit with its services or products.
- Prove that their entry to the U.S. is solely exclusive to developing and directing their investment. They must also show that they have at least 50% ownership of the business they’re going to have a stake in, or they have control of it via a managerial position.
- The amount of capital that the USCIS considers to be substantial can either be: the total cost of purchasing a business or creating a new one, the amount of capital that ensures the investor’s financial commitment to complete their project, or that is needed to successfully develop and manage their operation.The foreign investor must own at least 50% of the US Company
- Once the investor obtains their E-2 visa, they are allowed a maximum initial stay of two years. However, their stay can be extended each time for two years; plus, there isn’t a limit to the number of extensions. But once their visa status expires or is terminated, they must depart from the U.S.
- On the other hand, E-2 visa holders that travel abroad can be granted an automatic two-year period of readmission when returning to U.S. territory by a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Officer.
- With the E-2 visa category, treaty investors and employees can bring their spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age. Their family members do not necessarily have to be nationals from the treaty country where the visa holder comes from. Usually, their relatives will be granted the same period of stay as their providers.If you feel that the E-2 visa category is right for you, our team of attorneys will guide you with your immigration process by gathering the forms and applications you need to apply for to get your temporary non-immigrant visa.
What are the main differences between the EB-5 and E-2 visas?
- Despite the fact that both visa categories are intended for investors to help boost the U.S. economy, there are differences that set them apart. These contrasts are as follows:
- The EB-5 visa is an immigrant visa that can allow visa holders to later obtain a green card and permanent U.S. residency. Whereas with the E-2, since it is a temporary non-immigrant visa, it doesn’t directly lead to a green card; you will need to have an adjustment of status or subsequently apply for an immigrant visa.
- The amount of investment required by the E-B5 visa is a minimum of $800,000 in a Targeted Employment Area or $1,200,000 in a business elsewhere. Meanwhile, the E2 doesn’t have a minimum investment amount; you’ll just need to invest the amount of capital proportional to the company you’re interested in.
- With the EB-5, you’re required to create or keep 10 full-time jobs for US workers; the E2 visa doesn’t have this requirement. You just need to prove that your business generates enough income that will at least provide for both you and your family.
- Investors from any country can apply for the EB-5 visa; while the E2 only allows nationals of the 78 countries the U.S. has a treaty with to request entry.
- The processing time for EB-5 visas is lengthy and can vary. On the other hand, the E-2 can be processed within 15 days thanks to premium processing.
Any of these two employment-based visas will allow you to invest in the United States. If you feel that you’re eligible to apply for any of these visa categories, or you’re not sure which employment-based process is right for you, our team of attorneys is willing to guide you. Contact us or call us today at (404) 844-4634 to schedule a consultation.