Visas & Immigration

EB-5 Immigrant Investors

The U.S. government may offer legal permanent residence (LPR, known as the "green card") to investors, either alone or coming with their spouse and unmarried children, through the EB-5 visa.

There are two ways to invest which you may use within the EB-5 category: creating a new commercial enterprise or investing in a troubled business. Eligibility criteria:

New Business Enterprise

  • $1 million investment or $500,000 in a designated targeted employment area
  • Benefit the U.S. economy
  • Create full-time employment for at least 10 U.S. workers
  • Day-to-day management of the new business

Targeted Employment Area is "a rural area or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average." In Texas, local mayors have the authority to certify that a specific area meets the employment rate qualifications.

Troubled Business

  • Invest in a business that has existed for at least two years
  • Invest in a business that has incurred a net loss for the 12 to 24 month period prior to filing
    • The loss must be at least equal to 20 percent of the business' net worth before the loss
  • Maintain the number of jobs at no less than the pre-investment level for at least two years
  • Day-to-day management
  • $1 million investment or $500,000 in a designated targeted employment area

Regional Center Pilot Program

  • $1 million investment or $500,000 in a regional center affiliated new commercial enterprise or a troubled business located within the area of the USCIS designated Regional Center.
  • Create at least 10 new full-time jobs either directly through the capital investment.

Immigrant Investor Regional Centers List »

For comprehensive information regarding the Immigrant Investor program, please visit U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

E Visas – Treaty Traders, Investors, & NAFTA

A U.S investor visa offers another advantage to many foreign investors – refuge for the investor and his or her family from financial uncertainty, political instability, and violence in their home countries. Others who seek to retire in the U.S., and treaty status can make this a reality.

For a relatively small investment in a business, NAFTA and other bilateral investment treaties with many countries afford a foreign investor the right to live and remain in the U.S for up to five years at a time. Often, he or she can team with a U.S. manager to oversee the business while the foreign investor looks after other business interests.

This special treaty privilege, known as the E-2 treaty investor visa or E-1 treaty trader visa, can be renewed indefinitely if the investment or the trade continues. With the treaty visa for the principal businessman, his family (spouse and children under 21) gains the right to live and study in the U.S., and his spouse can even be granted authorization to work by the U.S. government, obtain a Social Security card, and with this card obtain a Texas driver's license.

For more information regarding E-1 or E-2 visas, please visit U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

 

H-1B

An H-1B classification may be granted to an alien who will perform services in a specialty occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and attainment of a baccalaureate or higher degree or its equivalent as a minimum requirement for entry into the occupation in the U.S., and who is qualified to perform services in the specialty occupation because he or she has attained a baccalaureate or higher degree or its equivalent in the specialty occupation. For more information, please visit U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

 

H-2A

The H-2A visa program provides a means for U.S. agricultural employers to employ foreign workers on a temporary basis to perform agricultural labor or services when U.S. labor is in short supply. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA or the Act) defines an H-2A worker as a nonimmigrant admitted to the U.S. on a temporary or seasonal basis to perform agricultural labor or services. The Act mandates that the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) consult with the Secretary of the Department of Labor (the Secretary) with respect to the adjudication of H-2A petitions, and determining the availability of U.S. workers and the effect on wages and working conditions. For more information, please visit U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

 

H-2B

The H-2B nonimmigrant classification applies to aliens seeking to perform nonagricultural labor or services of a temporary nature in the U.S. The H-2B program is most frequently used by businesses in seasonal industries that have a difficult time locating temporary workers. For more information, please visit U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Please note that occupations requiring classification as an H nonimmigrant also require certification from the U.S. Department of Labor for each proposed position, and the payment of prevailing wages which do not adversely affect the working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. In addition, H visas are issued annually through the DHS under numerical limits, and potential employers should be aware that these visa categories may be closed to applicants at various times during the fiscal year.

 

E-3

The E3 classification applies to nationals of Australia who are coming to the U.S. solely to perform services in a specialty occupation, as similarly defined by the regulations governing H-1B visas. For more information, please visit U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

 

L-1

An alien may enter the U.S. as an "intracompany transferee," which is defined as an alien who, within three years preceding the time of his or her application for admission into the U.S., has been employed abroad continuously for one year by a firm or corporation or other legal entity or parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary thereof, and who seeks to enter the U.S. temporarily in order to render his or her services to a branch of the same employer or a parent, affiliate, or subsidiary thereof in a capacity that is managerial, executive, or which involves specialized knowledge. For more information, please visit U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

 

O-1

Under the INA, a qualified alien may be authorized to come to the U.S. to perform services relating to an event or events and may be classified as an alien who has extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry. This visa category is generally reserved for those foreign nationals who have risen to the very top of their field of endeavor. For more information, please visit U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

 

TN

Under the Act, a citizen of Canada or Mexico who seeks temporary entry as a business person to engage in business activities at a professional level may be admitted to the U.S. in accordance with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), assuming the individual has a least a baccalaureate degree or appropriate credentials demonstrating status as a professional in a profession set forth in Appendix 1603.D.1 of the NAFTA. For more information, please visit U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.


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