We can assist you in locating a business that can qualify you to work and live in the US. There are many ways to remain in the US legally when you want to own a business but the most popular ways are as an E investor/treaty trader or as an L-1A intra-company manager or executive.
E-2 Treaty Investor
To qualify as an E-2 investor you must purchase an existing business or develop a new business. We can help you find the right business to qualify or space to develop your business. The US and your country of citizenship must have an E visa treaty. The investment should be around $100,000 and be able to support several workers, the number of workers will depend on the country you are from. Any type of business could qualify except real estate development companies can be problematic.
E-1 Treaty Trader
To qualify as an E-1 treaty trader, 50% of the trade or services between the US and your business outside the US must exist. There must be a E-1 treaty between the US and your country of citizenship. There is no set investment amount required or certain amount of employees for this visa type.
The E visa process can be complicated but with the right team guiding you it’s a great way to own and run a business in the US.
L-1A Intra-company Manager/Executive
Sometimes there is no E visa treaty with the US, in that case an L-1A can be a great way to pursue your dream of owning a US business and living in the US. The L-1A visa requires that you have a foreign business that you have worked for either as a Manager/Executive for one of the last three years before applying for this visa. The US and foreign company must be owned by the same persons or entities in the same or similar proportions and both the US and foreign company must be actively doing business.
Permanent Residence aka Green Card
Both E and L visa categories could lead to permanent residence status aka a green card but you will need an immigration attorney to advise you on the best strategies to achieve your long-term goals.
EB-5 Investor Immigrant
A foreign buyer often wants to reside in the US long term but needs to invest either $500,000 or $1 million in a US business. How much they need to invest depends on where the business is located. A single investor in a US business is called a stand alone EB-5.
If the business is located in a Targeted Employment Area (“TEA”), an area determined by the state your business is in or the US Immigration Service to have a high unemployment rate or in a rural area then the amount of the investment could be $500,000 not $1 million. However, most EB-5 investors still need to create 10 full time positions at least 35 hours a week despite where the business is located. There are a few exceptions to this rule such as the troubled business exception that the US business has to maintain the jobs at the business but it will only qualify for this if it meets certain financial requirements based on serious financial issues with the company.
Some foreign investors wish to invest in Regional Centers, where the investment they make is part of a larger project that benefits the US economy. Some investors prefer this because the 10 positions they need to create can include independent contractors but the stand alone EB-5 investors can’t count independent contractors.
The first step in this process is buying the right business so that you can live and work in the US either short or long term. We are ready to help you begin this process and can also refer you to a qualified immigration attorney that works well with our team of brokers to help you apply for a visa in one of the categories above.