It’s quite common in the U.S. in 2019 to hear that immigration is “controversial,” but even those who would restrict some types of immigration tend to be in favor of investor immigration, and almost everyone in the United States welcomes those who invest when they arrive here.

A “typical” international investor who is seeking to enter and invest in the United States is already an affluent individual who owns and operates one or more successful businesses. Many also have families that will accompany them to the United States. This is where a Columbus investor visa attorney can help.

WHY DO SO MANY NATIONS ENCOURAGE INVESTOR IMMIGRATION?

Canada, Australia, the United States, and many other nations encourage investor immigration for one obvious reason – the investment funds that international investors bring. When international investors come to the United States, they create jobs, businesses, and prosperity.

Apart from their investments, which must be substantial, international investors who enter and invest in the United States do plenty of spending. They buy homes, vehicles, and many send their children to U.S. universities. They also pay a substantial amount of local, state, and federal taxes.

visa options for international investors

The United States offers two visa options exclusively to international investors – the EB-5 investor visa and the E-2 non-immigrant “treaty partner” visa.

HOW DOES THE E-2 VISA WORK?

If you are an investor from one of the many nations that has a commerce treaty with the U.S., and if you can make a “significant” investment in a U.S.-based business, you may be qualified to receive an E-2 visa.

The E-2 visa program requires a “significant” investment in an active U.S. business. The investor must make that significant investment before petitioning for the visa. The E-2 program does not offer the investor a green card.

What is considered a “significant” investment? There is no exact figure specified by the law, but it is generally difficult to obtain an E-2 visa with an investment of less than $100,000. Depending on the type of investment, that amount may vary considerably.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE E-2 VISA?

The investor who is seeking the E-2 visa must prove that the investment will generate profits and provide jobs to U.S. citizens. Any misunderstandings or mistakes can delay approval of the visa.

investors generating profits

An E-2 visa applicant must also satisfy these additional requirements:

  1. The investment must be made in an active entrepreneurial or commercial undertaking. A paper organization or an idle or speculative investment will not qualify.
  1. The investment must generate income beyond the investor’s living expenses.
  1. The investor must be personally in control of the funds.
  1. The investor must be coming to the U.S. personally to direct and develop the investment.

WHAT ELSE DO E-2 VISA APPLICANTS NEED TO KNOW?

Investors should understand that an E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa. If an E-2 visa holder wants to remain in the U.S., he or she must apply for the appropriate immigrant visa while still abroad – or submit a Form I-129 to request an adjustment of status if you are already in the U.S.

Minor children and spouses usually qualify for derivative E-2 visas to accompany or follow the E-2 visa holder to the U.S. When an E-2 visa expires, under the current rules, E-2 visa holders must either leave the U.S. or apply for an extension.

HOW DOES THE EB-5 VISA WORK?

Although the EB-5 program began slowly after it became law as part of the Immigration Act of 1990, the number of EB-5 visas issued has more than quadrupled since 2008. In 2014, EB-5 investments surpassed $2.6 billion and created more than 16,000 full-time jobs in the U.S.

The EB-5 visa currently requires a minimum investment of $500,000 into a U.S. business and the creation of at least ten jobs. Investors receive a green card after two years if the jobs have been created and all of the other requirements are met.

investors creating jobs

EB-5 visa applicants have a number of options. An international investor can, for example, make a direct investment of $1,000,000 in a qualifying business that creates at least ten jobs, provided that the investor actively manages the investment.

WHAT ARE EB-5 REGIONAL CENTERS AND TARGETED EMPLOYMENT AREAS?

Alternatively, an international investor can invest $500,000 in one of about nine hundred EB-5 “regional centers” that manage EB-5 investor funds. These centers typically finance or buy equity in job-creating capital projects in “targeted employment areas” with high jobless rates.

A solo international investor may also directly invest $500,000 in a targeted employment area. The EB-5 program offers participating international investors the benefits of lawful permanent residency in the United States.

It can be difficult – and it may take some time – for you to acquire an EB-5 visa. It typically takes eighteen to twenty-four months for EB-5 applications to be adjudicated and processed.

WHAT ELSE DO EB-5 VISA APPLICANTS NEED TO KNOW?

The EB-5 filing fee is currently $3,675. An investor’s personal life and financial details will be closely scrutinized. An investor must produce evidence that the investment is being made with capital that was legally acquired.

For the first two years, EB-5 visa holders are granted conditional permanent resident status. After two years, if all other requirements have been satisfied, EB-5 visa holders can apply for full lawful permanent resident status.

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Dependent children under age 21 and spouses are granted the same immigration status and receive their own green cards. EB-5 visa holders, their spouses, and their dependent children under age 21 may qualify for U.S. citizenship five years after the initial approval.

EB-5 funds have been used to build hospitals, office towers, ski resorts, shopping malls, and even film studios in the U.S.

HOW CAN AN IMMIGRATION LAW FIRM HELP?

International investors seeking an E-2 or EB-5 visa should not hesitate to retain the advice and services of an experienced Columbus immigration attorney who can prepare or review your visa petition and the other necessary documents.

In 2019, impressive and abundant investment opportunities are found in every part of the United States. Visas take time, so international investors need to get started as early as possible.

Both immigration law and American business law can be confusing, but a good U.S. immigration attorney will be able to address your concerns, answer your questions, and help you with the necessary documents and the required legal paperwork.

Investors can make the call right now from anywhere in the world and arrange to speak with a qualified Columbus immigration attorney. If you want to invest in the United States, the right time is now.