How investors can live and work in the United States.
Depending on the type of investment, you may qualify for a nonimmigrant visa or even a green card. Some visas are only temporary, while others can be renewed indefinitely. Spouses can accompany the visa holder and will be eligible for a work permit plus unmarried children under 21 can be included and may attend school in the U.S.
E-1 / E-2 Treaty Visa
The E-1 is a treaty trader visa, used to stay in the U.S. to oversee or work for a business engaged in trade between the U.S. and the foreign country. Trade can be any international exchange of goods and services, as long as it’s sizable with more than 50% of the trade existing between the U.S. and the foreign country.
The E-2 is a treaty investor visa, granted to Foreign Nationals who want to enter the U.S. solely to develop and direct a business enterprise. There is no specific minimum dollar investment required, as long as there is a substantial amount of capital put at risk to secure the success of the business.
L-1A / L-1B Intracompany Transferee Visa
Capital and resources must be available and committed to by the foreign company in order to ensure the successful operation of the U.S. business. There are no minimum investment amounts required and no limits to the number of L-1 visas granted each year. However, there is a limit of 5-7 years for holding the L-1 visa.
The good news with the L-1 visa is that it can lead to a green card if the U.S. company can show that it is doing well enough to sponsor the L-1 visa holder and their eligible family members (spouse and unmarried children under 21).
EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, Green Card Visa
$1.8 Million or $900K
That’s the amount of U.S. dollars needed for the investment. For the $1.8 million investment there is more flexibility because the commercial enterprise does not have to be limited to a specific targeted employment area (TEA), giving the investor more options to choose from. For the $900,000 investment, this can only be used if the commercial enterprise is in a TEA, defined by the U.S. government to include certain rural areas and areas of high unemployment.
10 U.S. Jobs
A regional center is an economic entity approved by the U.S. government for participation in the EB-5 program based on various objectives for promoting economic growth. This is the most common option chosen by EB-5 investors, even though it ususally generates the lowest return on investment. Think of a number of foreign investors all pooling their $1.8 million or $900K into a large commercial enterprise such as a turnpike, highway project, manufacturing company, or hotel. It’s worth noting that a regional center can make it easier for counting the 10 U.S. jobs because indirect jobs can also be counted. As of Jan. 4, 2016 there are close to 800 approved regional centers.
TEA, Targeted Employment Area
A targeted employment area (TEA) is an area that at the time of the investment, is in a rural area (any area outside a metropolitan statistical area as determined by the government) or outside of a city or town as long as that city/town doesn’t have a population of 20,000 or more, or an area with high unemployment defined as at least 150 percent of the national average. By investing in a TEA, the requirement becomes lower at only $900,000 compared to $1.8 million for all other areas that are not a TEA. However, the majority of regional centers are NOT in TEA locations, which makes it more likely that a direct investment would be needed at the lower $900,000 level.