Many immigrant entrepreneurs have come to the U.S. and started businesses that changed entire industries. Google co-founder Sergey Brin came from Russia, former YouTube chief technology officer Steve Chen was born in Taiwan, and Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger is Brazilian. If you want to come to the United States and make your own business dream a reality, you’re in good company.
Immigrants who want to start a business here have a choice of different visas intended for entrepreneurs, investors, and business owners. We review four of the most popular ones below:
E-2 Treaty Investor Visa
The E-2 visa allows citizens of treaty countries to enter the U.S. for the purpose of investing in an American business. The amount you are required to invest depends on the type of business, but it cannot be a marginal enterprise, meaning that it must be able to generate enough income to support you and your family.
Although it can be renewed indefinitely, the E-2 is a nonimmigrant visa, which means that the recipient cannot use it to qualify for a green card.
EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa
The EB-5 program was created to support the U.S. economy via capital investment and job creation by foreign investors. To qualify, you must:
Invest a certain amount in a U.S. business ($1,000,000 in an urban enterprise and $500,000 in a rural business)
Intend to create or sustain at least 10 full-time jobs for qualified American workers
The EB-5 is often referred to as the “million dollar green card” due to the substantial amount of capital required and the fact that entrepreneurs and their family (spouses and unmarried children under 21) are eligible for green cards. The business you invest in can be a new or existing one, which means that you can establish your own company.
H-1B Visa for Entrepreneurs
The H-1B is a nonimmigrant visa that allows a U.S. employer to hire workers for speciality occupations. The beneficiary must have a Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent experience and, upon approval, can be employed by the sponsor for up to six years.
In recent years, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been accepting H-1B petitions filed by American companies owned by the applicant. This self-sponsorship can be difficult, however, and is best undertaken with support from an experienced Florida immigration attorney.
The L-visa enables a company to transfer a manager or executive from a foreign office to one of its U.S. locations or send them to the U.S. for the purposes of establishing one. To be eligible, you must have a qualifying position with an overseas company and be acting as an employer here and at least one other country for the duration of your stay in the U.S.
If you need assistance in obtaining an entrepreneurial visa to come to the U.S. and start your business, Jarbath Pena Law Group is here to support your goals. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us.