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There are many immigration options available for investors and successful businesspeople who want to come to the United States.  Investors and businesspeople can come to the U.S. temporarily (with a nonimmigrant visa) or permanently (with a green card).  As a foreign investor or businessperson, you are allowed to bring your family with you to the United States.

Temporary Visas for Foreign Investors/Businesspersons

E-1 Visa: The E-1 visa is available to foreign nationals who want to come to the U.S. to engage in substantial trade between the U.S. and the foreign national’s home country.  The E-1 visa is typically a good option for executives and managers of international companies that carry on substantial trade with the United States, but other company employees can qualify for the E-1 visa as well.

E-2 Visa: The E-2 visa allows foreign investors to come to the U.S. in order to develop and oversee their investment into a U.S. business.  The foreign investor can invest into an existing business or use the investment funds to create a brand new business.

In order to qualify for the E-1 or E-2 visa, the foreign national must be a national of a country that maintains a trade treaty with the United States.  The U.S. Department of State maintains a list of E-1 and E-2 countries that you can access on the Department’s website.

Green Cards for Foreign Investors/Businesspersons

Foreign investors and businesspersons have a relative advantage when applying for green cards (U.S. permanent residence) because they are not required to find a U.S. employer to sponsor them – they can apply for green cards on their own.

In general, there are three types of green card petitions available to foreign investors and businesspersons:

1.  Investment-based petition (EB-5): To qualify for the EB-5 petition, the foreign investor must invest either $1,000,000USD or $500,000USD (depending on the location of the investment) into a U.S. commercial enterprise.  The investor must prove that the investment funds were lawfully obtained and that the investment will create ten new, full-time, and permanent job positions for U.S. workers.

2.  Extraordinary Ability petitions (EB-1): To qualify for the EB-1 petition, the foreign businessperson must show that he/she has extraordinary ability in the field of business and has made exceptional contributions and outstanding achievements in that field.  There are many ways to prove extraordinary ability such as the creation of new enterprises, the maintenance of high profits, the publication of scholarly articles, or membership in prestigious business-related societies.

3.  National Interest Waiver petitions (NIW): To qualify for the NIW petition, the foreign businessperson must show that his/her business is of substantial intrinsic merit, that his/her proposed benefit to the U.S will be national in scope, and that it would be contrary to the national interests of the U.S.  for the U.S. to require the foreign businessperson to find an employer sponsor.

How We Can Help You

Many foreign nationals and their families initially come to the U.S. with nonimmigrant visas and then obtain their green cards after they have lived in the U.S. for a few years.  This process is very common and our attorneys look forward to working with you and your family to obtain your investment-based visa or green card.

Our attorneys at U.S. Immigration Legal Services are highly skilled in advising foreign investors and businesspeople, and we can provide you with personalized immigration services designed specifically to meet your needs.  Contact our office today to speak to a member of our outstanding team of legal experts.