The United States offers three main types of investor visas. While the EB-5 is the most prominent, E-1 and E-2 visas provide legal status to non-citizens as well.
EB-5 Investor Visas
Entrepreneurs who make an investment in a commercial enterprise in the U.S. and who plan to create or preserve 10 or more permanent full-time jobs for U.S. workers are eligible to apply for legal permanent residence (a green card) through an EB-5 investor visa. A commercial enterprise is defined by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as a for-profit entity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business, including a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a holding company, a joint venture, a corporation, or any publicly or privately owned business trust or entity.
In order to qualify for an EB-5 visa, the entrepreneur is required to invest a minimum of $500,000 in a targeted employment area, which is generally a rural or high unemployment area, or $1 million anywhere in the United States. For any petition received by USCIS after November 21, 2019, these amounts will increase to $900,000 in a targeted employment area and $1.8 million anywhere else. Targeted employment areas are defined as areas that have an unemployment rate that is at least 150 percent of the national average, or areas that are outside a metropolitan statistical area or the borders of any city or town with at least 20,000 residents. The investment capital cannot be borrowed. Once this type of investment is made, the USCIS office grants conditional permanent residence to the individual.
The investor’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may be included in the EB-5 investor visa petition. Under the rules that go into effect on November 21, 2019, they will need to submit separate petitions to remove the conditions on their initial two-year period of residency unless the investor included them in their own petition to remove the conditions. if It is important to note that the investor and his or her dependents do not count towards the 10 full-time employees even if they do work at the enterprise of the investor.
Another change that goes into effect on November 21, 2019 involves priority dates. EB-5 investors may be able to get a green card more efficiently because they may be allowed to keep their priority date from an earlier EB-5 petition, rather than using the date from their most recent EB-5 petition.
E-1 Treaty Traders Visas
The E-1 treaty traders visa allows a national of a treaty county, meaning a country with which the U.S. has an existing trade treaty of commerce and navigation, to enter to live and work in the U.S. as long as the visa holder engages in substantial international trade. The E-1 visa holder can trade in goods, services, or technology, provided that the principal trade is primarily between the United States and the treaty country. According to the USCIS, substantial trade simply refers to the continuous flow of sizable international trade items, involving numerous transactions over time. Principaltrade requires that over 50 percent of the total volume of international trade is between the U.S. and the trader’s treaty nation.
E-2 Treaty Investor Visas
The E-2 treaty investor visa allows a person to enter and work in the United States at a business in which a substantial cash investment has been made by the visa holder or other citizens of his or her country of origin, provided that this country maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. The E-2 is a non-immigrant visa, which means it is temporary. The authorization for this type of visa comes from the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). An E-2 visa holder is restricted to working only for the employer or business that sponsored him or her. Initially, a visa term can be up to five years with unlimited exceptions.
The investor visas listed above are only a few of those that are available in total. To determine your eligibility for a specific type of investor visa, it is best to contact an immigration lawyer in your area who can assess the merits of your case and inform you of your rights and options.