In continuing our basics series, below is a list of visas relevant to those investing in the United States. As I mentioned in my previous post, these are very generalized descriptions and, therefore should be approached accordingly. Any of you who have immigration questions should consult immigration counsel. As always, we are here to answer any questions you may have regarding your particular situation. Click here to reach us at our e-mail address.
L-1 Intra-company Transferee Visa
Executives and managers (L-1A) or employees with “specialized knowledge” (L-1B) working for an overseas company or multinational company with a U.S. affiliate company may apply for L-1 nonimmigrant status. Under the L-1 visas, the candidate must have worked for at least one year out of the past three years for the company overseas. L-1A and L-1B visa holders may stay in the U.S. for a maximum of seven and five years, respectively. As an added perk, Managers and executives (L-1A visa holders) who have worked for at least one year with the company overseas may be eligible for permanent residence or “Green Card” as a “priority worker.” Qualifying multinational companies and organizations have the opportunity to “pre-certify” via a “blanket” petition.
A summary of how it works:
The overseas company can open a new U.S. office and transfer a manager or executive to the new U.S. office on L-1A visa. The L-1A visa will be issued initially for one year. During this this initial year, the U.S. based company must actively engage in business in the U.S. In addition, the manager (L-1A) applicant must perform managerial duties (not clerical or administrative). Our attorneys will guide you through this process and help establish the elements of an active company. Prior to the end of the first year, the applicant must apply for an extension for an additional three years, and can stay for a maximum of seven years. It is during this time that the company can petition the manager (L-1A visa holder) for U.S. permanent residence (aka a “greencard”). In additional, a spouse in L-2 status can apply for a work permit.
EB-5 Investment Immigration
Applicants investing $1,000,000 USD and, who create at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers can be eligible for an EB-5 visa. Once the EB-5 visa petition is approved, immigrant investors become conditional permanent residents. After two years, they must file a petition proving that they maintained their investment for two years. They, then, can become regular permanent residents.
The requirements for a EB-5 visa are very specific. An EB-5 petition must be filed with supporting documentation demonstrating that the individual:
- has established a new commercial enterprise
- has invested the required amount of money
- has proven the investment comes from a lawful source of funds
- either has already created the required number of jobs or has a good business plan to create the jobs within two years
- is actively participating in the business, and
- (where applicable*) is creating employment within a high unemployment or rural area. (*Although an EB-5 application normally requires investments of $1,000,000 and the creation of ten jobs for U.S. workers (or allotment of 10 jobs to U.S. workers within its workforce), this amount may be reduced to $500,000 to those investing in a high unemployment or a rural area.)
There are 10,000 slots allotted to the EB-5 preference category. Of these, 3,000 are limited to regional centers, which focus on a specific geographical region within the United States.
There are avenues which also provide funding to the EB-5 applicant.
Our attorneys will help you navigate through the best means of application and guide you through the documentary proof necessary to establish a business that satisfies the dense requirements of the EB-5 visa.
Treaty Investor: E-2 Investor Visa
E-2 Investor Visas are for those who invest in or start a U.S. business entity. That is, one who is essentially coming to the United States solely to direct and develop the operations of an enterprise in which she has invested or is actively involved in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital. There is no specific amount that must be invested and instead depends on the capitalization needs of the entity being established. One of the requirements under this visa is that the applicant’s country has a commercial treaty with the U.S. as indicated on U.S. Department of State’s website, here http://travel.state.gov/visa/fees/fees_3726.html. The visa typically lasts five years, but can be extended indefinitely as long as the U.S. business enterprise thrives.
There is also the possibility for an investor who is already in the United States to change its status to an E-2. If the immigrant is outside the United States, wishing to apply under a E-2 visa, he may do so by applying directly to the U.S. consulate office aboard. Where the applicant is outside of the United States, there is no requirement for a petition of employment.
Click here to view our summary work visas chart.
Important: The information provided herein is for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute legal advice, nor should it take the place of independent legal counsel. As immigration laws are complex and ever changing, we recommend that you consult counsel before taking action in any particular case.