June 24, 2011
With the national dialogue on immigration so focused on economic protectionism — keeping out foreign workers and preventing economic opportunities from being shipped overseas — many people forget about immigration law and policy that encourages new foreign investment into the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), facilitates investment of capital and resources in the United States through nonimmigrant visas and immigration preferences available to individuals who are prepared to make a significant investment here.
The E1 & E2 investor visa attorneys at Sam Shihab & Associates support DHS and USCIS in encouraging people from all over the world to invest their time and money in the United States, especially here in Central Ohio. Our community appreciates foreign investment and immigration as well as the social diversity that come with it–especially as we slowly recover from the recession.
There are three primary ways in which U.S. immigration law encourages investment in the United States: The E Visa, The L Visa and the EB-5 Immigration Preference. Here’s a quick rundown of each.
E Visa – E Visas are nonimmigrant visas available to owners and key employees of businesses that engage in significant and substantial investment in the United States. In order to be eligible for an E visa the business must also be owned by citizens of a country that have signed special trade treaties with the United States. For a list of countries that have signed such treaties, contact our E1 & E2 investor visa lawyers or see HERE.
E-1 visas are available to businesses from treaty countries that engage in significant and substantial amounts of trade with the United States. Trade is considered significant when more than 50% of the company’s trade is between the United States and its home country. Trade is substantial when there is large volume and steady flow of it; a single transaction, no matter how large or time consuming will not create eligibility for an E-Visa.
E-2 visas are available to individuals from treaty countries that have invested or are in the process of investing in a business in the United States. In order to be granted an E-2 visa, not only must the investment of the E-2 visa seeker be substantial, but the business must have the present capacity, or at least future prospect of generating more than a minimal living for the investor.
L Visa – L Visas are nonimmigrant visas that allow multinational companies to transfer those who work in a managerial, executive or specialized knowledge capacity into the United States. Employees can move to the United States when, in the past three years, they have been continuously employed by a company for 12 months.
L Visas encourage foreign companies to expand into the United States by easily allowing them to bring in some of their top employees.
EB-5 Preference – The EB-5 Preference, unlike the E Visa and the L Visa, is an immigration preference. This means that one who is eligible for the EB-5 Preference can immigrate and permanently stay in the United States.
The EB-5 Preference is available to those who invest at least $1,000,000.00 in a new business in the United States that employs 10 U.S. Citizens or other authorized workers in the United States. The investment amount can be as low as $500,000.00 in certain rural, economically-depressed areas. (A more thorough look at EB-5 can be found HERE.)
With the above options available, United States Immigration law creates great opportunities and incentives for foreign nations to come to the United States and help grow the U.S. economy.