Immigration for Investors & Business Owners

Immigration planning for Investors and Business Owners is a key part of the immigration practice at the Gunderson Law Group, P.C. We help business owners, entrepreneurs, investors, and potential investors to evaluate their immigration options. Often this includes i careful analysis of the pros and cons in obtaining permanent residency versus maintaining nonimmigrant status in the United States. It may include plans to transition from nonimmigrant status to permanent residency in the future. It can also include plans to bring key employees, managers, or executives into the United States from operations in a foreign country.

Some of the most common visas used by business owners and investors include:

EB-5 (Immigrant Investor):

The EB-5 (Immigrant Investor) visa is available to those who make a qualifying investment (currently the minimum investment amount is $1 million or $500,000, if the investment is made in a “Targeted Employment Area) and can demonstrate that the investment will create ten new full time jobs.

The application process is one of the more complex processes in U.S. immigration law, however, upon approval, the investor and his or her immediate family are eligible for permanent residency (which includes a pathway to U.S. citizenship for those who want it).

E-2 (Treaty Investor):

The E-2 visa is only available to those from countries who have entered into a qualifying treaty with the United States. This visa requires a “substantial” investment in the United States, but this requirement is lower than the requirements for an EB-5 (Immigrant Investor) visa. For those from qualifying countries, the E-2 visa can be a tremendous opportunity to establish a business investment in the United States.

E-1 (Treaty Trader):

Very similar to the E-2 (Treaty Investor) visa, the E-1 (Treaty Trader) visa is available to those from countries that have entered into a qualifying treaty with the United States. This visa is made available to those who are involved in “substantial’ trade between the United States and a the applicant’s qualifying treaty country.

L-1A (Intracompany Transferees)

Unlike the other visas referenced above, the L-1A visa is not intended specifically for business owners or investors. It does, however, provide the opportunity for managers and executives from foreign companies to transfer to a qualifying office within the United States.

This visa can also be used to establish a “new office” in the United States and can be an ideal way to transfer key executives/managers (including owners) from a foreign company to establish and build an enterprise in the United States.

International Entrepreneur Parole:

Although not a formal visa program, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is authorized to grant “advance parole” (permission to enter the United States without a visa) to certain entrepreneurs under its International Entrepreneur rule.

Entrepreneurs can qualify for International Entrepreneur Parole (for themselves and for their dependents) by demonstrating each of the following:

  • Ownership: The entrepreneur owns “substantial” interest in a U.S. start-up (created within the last 5 years).
  • Potential: The start-up has “substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.”
  • Role: The entrepreneur’s role within company will allow them to “substantiall assist with the growth and success of the business.”
  • Funding: The entrepreneur and start-up can demonstrate the public benefit they will bring to the United States by documenting significant investment from “Qualified U.S. Investors” or government grants.

Other Options:

Although the visa programs listed above are among the most popular for business owners, entrepreneurs and investors seeking lawful status in the United States, other options may be available through other Employment-Based visa options.

If you are a business owner, entrepreneur, investor, or prospective investor interested in obtaining legal status in the United States, contact our office to schedule an appointment to meet with one of our immigration attorneys.

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