Millions of people from across the world want to come to the United States, either permanently or temporarily. If you are businessperson looking to inject capital into the American economy, you have a few options to do so by applying with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Two ways for investors to enter the United States and live alongside citizens are to either (1) apply for the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa; or (2) apply for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa.
In order to determine which investor visa is the best suited for your needs and abilities, you should consider the following factors:
• How long are you looking to work in the United States?
• How much capital are you intending to invest in a United States business?
• Are you a citizen of a country in which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation?
The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa
If you wish to invest in United States commerce but do not intend to live in the United States permanently, the E-2 visa may work for you. However, in order to qualify for this visa, you must be from a country that currently maintains a treaty with the United States. Also, you must invest a substantial amount of capital into a United States business, and you must be a key employee, officer and/or owner of the investment enterprise. It is imperative to understand that a particular investment cannot be deemed “marginal,” whereby there is no real present or future ability of the investment enterprise to generate income that will be enough for the treaty investor to subsist on.
An E-2 visa-holder is considered a non-immigrant, therefore, there are time limitations for how long an E-2 visa-holder can stay in the United States. Currently, immigration law provides that an E-2 visa-holder can stay in the United States for two years, but requests for extensions may be granted. As an E-2 visa-holder, you must show the USCIS that you intend to leave the United States upon the conclusion of your investment business.
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa
If you wish to invest in the United States commerce and intend to live in the United States permanently, you may be able to obtain an EB-5 visa. This allows for immigrant, green card status, however, there are hefty requirements that the E-2 visa does not have. While the EB-5 visa does not require that you be a citizen of a country that the United States currently maintains a treaty with, you must face other difficult obstacles.
First, you must be investing in a new commercial enterprise (for-profit activity). Further, as an investor, you must create and/or preserve a minimum of 10 full-time positions for qualifying workers in the United States, and this must occur within two years of the EB-5 visa-holder being admitted into the United States. Another big requirement is the amount of capital you must invest. The general requirement is $1,000,000, but if you are seeking to invest in what’s called a “Targeted Employment Area,” the minimum qualifying investment is $500,000. This applies to locations that have high unemployment rates or are in rural areas.
Contact Our Experienced Immigration Attorneys Today for a Free Consultation
The information provided above is only a snapshot of the basics for obtaining investor visas. You should speak with a qualified attorney to make sure you understand your options. If you are looking to invest in the United States and are unsure about what the best course of action is for you to take, contact the law firm of Geygan & Geygan, Ltd. today to speak with one of our experienced immigration attorneys. The immigration laws are confusing, and once you apply for a particular visa and get denied, you may not be able to apply again. Call our office today for a free case evaluation. You can reach us by contacting us online to schedule an appointment, or you may call us at 513-791-1673.