7 Visa and Green Card Options for Investors, Entrepreneurs, and Business Professionals

7 Visa and Green Card Options for Investors, Entrepreneurs, and Business Professionals

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- Hi there. Hope you're having a wonderful day. In today's video, I'm gonna go over several different immigration options for investors, entrepreneurs, and business professionals. So if you're an investor or an entrepreneur and you're considering ways to get a visa to the United States or to potentially get a US green card, this video is for you. So make sure to stick around.

(upbeat music) My name is Michael Ashoori. And I'm a US immigration lawyer based in Los Angeles, California. At my law firm, we work with clients from all 50 states and worldwide.

And one of the big components of our law firm is working with investors and entrepreneurs and helping them get immigration benefits to the United States. So with that quick overview, let's talk about these options. So the first option that I wanna talk to you about is the E-2 visa.

The E-2 visa is a tremendous option for business professionals and entrepreneurs and investors looking to come to the United States. Basically the way the E-2 visa works is that it allows somebody to invest in a US business. They can either start a new business or purchase an existing business. And based on making that investment, the person can live in the United States and can operate their business. Now, this visa is a tremendous option for investors.

There are so many benefits with the E-2 visa. For one, the E-2 visa allows somebody to continue to renew their visa without limit. As long as the person continues to satisfy the E-2 two visa requirements, an E-2 investor can renew their visa over and over again. Additionally, the E-2 visa allows the spouse of the E-2 visa holder to get their own E-2 visa and to also apply for work authorization.

So your spouse can also potentially qualify to work in the United States and your children can attend school in the United States as well. So let me go over a big picture of how the E-2 visa works. Basically, the way this visa works is that again, you have to make a substantial investment in a US business. You can start a new business or purchase an existing business. You also have to be from a country that has an E-2 treaty with the United States. So there are many different countries that have an E-2 treaty with the United States, and you need to make sure that you're from one of those countries.

And again, if you do not have citizenship to a country that has an E-2 treaty with the United States, in some cases, it's possible to get citizenship to a country that does have an E-2 treaty. A popular country that many people get citizenship to to get their E-2 visa is Grenada. And there are many other countries as well such as Turkey and so on and so forth.

But again, as I mentioned, there are many countries that have an E-2 treaty with the United States. So again, you have to have citizenship to an E-2 country. Additionally, the business that you're investing in has to be an active for-profit business.

Also, you have to also spend the money. So again, you have to deposit the investment funds into the US business' business bank account, and then you have to spend the money towards your business. It can be on inventory, supplies, anything that's needed for your business is what you can use to spend the money on. Now, you might be asking, how much do I need to invest for an E-2 visa? Well, there's no specific dollar amount listed that must be invested. At our law firm, we typically recommend an investment of at least $100,000, but investments for less than that can qualify. In the past, we've had cases get approved where the investment was as low as $55,000.

So the second option that I wanna talk to you about is the L-1 visa. The L-1 visa is also a super powerful option for entrepreneurs and business professionals to operate a business in the United States. So basically as a big picture overview of the L-1 visa, this visa is known as the intra-company transferee.

And the way the L-1 visa works is that there must be a foreign company, so a non-US company and a US company that has some sort of relationship with that foreign company. And through the L-1 visa, somebody that's working for the foreign company can transfer to work for the US company. Now, if there is no US company, somebody can set up a newly formed US company. And if they satisfy the L-1 visa requirements, they can transfer to the newly formed US company.

So basically, as you can see, there's a foreign company and a US company. And through the L-1 visa, somebody can transfer to the US company. And this is a wonderful option for entrepreneurs in particular, because it doesn't matter that you have ownership in either of the companies. You're still eligible to apply for an L-1 visa, assuming that you satisfy all the requirements. So what are these requirements for an L-1 visa? Well, there's quite a few, so let's go through them now. One of the requirements is that the US company and the foreign company have some sort of qualifying relationship.

What are some examples of qualifying relationships? Well, a parent-subsidiary relationship can qualify. So if one of the companies owns at least 50% of the other company, then they would have a parent-subsidiary relationship, which could qualify for L-1. Another relationship is an affiliate relationship. And lastly, another relationship that can qualify for L-1 is a branch office. If the US company is a branch office of the foreign company, that can also qualify for an L-1 visa.

So that's the first requirement. The second requirement is that the individual that's being transferred to the US company must have worked for the foreign company for at least one year full-time in continuous employment as either a manager, executive, or specialized knowledge worker. And they must be transferring to the US company to work as either a manager, executive, or a specialized knowledge worker. There are additional requirements as well, but for purposes of this video, I just wanna get to the essential stuff that we can get to during this time. Let's give an example of how the L-1 visa can work.

Let's say you are working for your company in India, or Pakistan, or some other country, and you're working for your company. And you decide that you want to open up a new office of your company in the United States. You could potentially, through the L-1 visa, open up a new branch office of your company in the United States, and apply for an L-1 visa to operate your business, assuming that all the L-1 requirements are met. So let's move on to our third visa option for today's video, which is the O-1 visa.

The O-1 visa is a visa option for people that have an extraordinary ability in a field. So let's say somebody has an extraordinary ability in science, or math, or athletics, or some other field, then they could potentially qualify for an O-1 visa to come to the United States and work in their field of extraordinary ability. Now, you know how I mentioned science, mathematics, et cetera? One of the fields that's eligible for an O-1 visa is business. So if you have an extraordinary ability in business, you could potentially qualify for an O-1 visa to live in the United States and to work in the United States as well.

So you might be wondering, how do I know if I qualify for an O-1 visa? How do I know whether I have an extraordinary ability? Well, the way USCIS determines whether somebody has an extraordinary ability is based on various criteria. There are multiple criteria. It's somewhere around nine or 10 categories that somebody could potentially satisfy. And if they satisfy three of those categories, then they could potentially qualify for an O-1 visa.

So what are some of these categories and criteria that are used to determine whether someone has an extraordinary ability? Well, one is if you have received prizes or awards in your field. Another category is if you have a high salary or high compensation compared to others in your field. Another criteria is if you have published material about you. For example, press. And another criteria is if you have acted as the judge of work of others in your field. There's more criteria as well, but it's important to know that to be regarded as somebody with extraordinary ability, you have to satisfy three of those categories.

So now I wanna go to our next option, which is called the International Entrepreneur Parole Program. Now, this is something that's pretty different, and it's for people that have a startup company in the United States. And through the international entrepreneur parole program, somebody that has a startup company in the United States that has a substantial ownership of that company can potentially come to the United States through parole and work for their business. Now, there are multiple requirements for the international entrepreneur parole program, but one that you should know is that the startup company that you have ownership in, must be a company that has the potential for rapid growth and job creation.

You as the person that's applying under this program, must show that the company was set up within the last five years, and that you are well positioned to assist in the growth and success of the business. And another requirement is that you must show that you are going to provide a significant public benefit based on your role as an entrepreneur for this company. And again, this is a wonderful option because it can allow somebody that has ownership in a startup company in the US to come to the United States and to work on their business. So now that we've gone over those four separate ways that somebody can come to the United States and work and operate their business, now I wanna talk about two separate ways that somebody can get a green card, lawful permanent residents to the United States to live in the United States and to work for their business as an entrepreneur or an investor or business professional.

So the first way that I wanna talk about for somebody to get a green card to the United States as an entrepreneur or a business professional is through the EB1C green card option. And the way EB1C works is very similar to the L-1, and I'll explain in a moment. But just so you know, the EB1C is referred to as the Multi-national Manager or Executive. And basically, the way this works is similar to L-1. There must be a foreign company and a US company. And the two companies must have some sort of a relationship to one another, some sort of a qualifying relationship, just like we discussed for the L-1.

However, if you recall, when we talked about the L-1 visa, the L-1 visa allowed for the company to be a newly formed company. Well, for EB1C, the company must have been operational for at least one year. And basically, the way EB1C works is it allows somebody that's worked for the foreign company for one year full time as either a manager or an executive to transfer to the United States to either work as a manager or an executive.

So if you recall, when we talked about the L-1, there was something called specialized knowledge. The person could have worked for the foreign company as either a manager, executive, or specialized knowledge worker. And they could have come to the US to work as either a manager, executive, or a specialized knowledge worker. But for the EB1C green card option, the work for the foreign company must have been as either a manager or executive, and the work that will be performed for the US company must be as either a manager or executive. And again, similar to the L-1, the person that's applying for the EB1C, the beneficiary that's getting immigration benefits under EB1C, can be an owner of both the foreign company and the US company.

So as you can see, this can also be an ideal situation for an entrepreneur looking for ways to get permanent residents to the United States. Now, something that I wanna to mention is that it's very common for people to first come to the United States under an L-1 visa, and once they have worked in the United States and once their business in the United States, the US company, has been operational for at least one year, they will then apply for EB1C, assuming that the various requirements are met. So the second green card option for an investor or an entrepreneur that I wanna talk to you about is the EB-5 green card option. EB-5 is an investment-based immigrant visa.

And basically, the way this option works is that it allows somebody to invest in a US business. You know how we talked about the E-2 visa earlier, how that's also an investor visa? Well, this is similar, but it has some key differences. So the way EB-5 works is that it allows somebody to invest in a US business. They can either invest in a startup company or in some cases, they can purchase an equity share of an existing business. And basically, based on making that investment, they can qualify for a green card for themself, for their spouse, and their unmarried children under 21 years old. And basically, the way EB-5 works is that you're required to invest either $900,000 or $1.8 million,

depending on where your business is located. If your business is located in an area classified as a targeted employment area, then you can qualify for the reduced investment amount of $900,000. And a targeted employment area is basically an area that's either experiencing above average unemployment, or it's a rural area. So our immigration laws wants to encourage investment in those targeted employment areas so they make the investment amount lower. So rather than investing $1.8 million, if the investment is located in a targeted employment area, you can qualify for the reduced investment amount of $900,000.

So in addition to making an investment at the appropriate amount, your investment must ultimately lead to the creation of 10 full-time jobs for US workers. Additionally, your investment funds must come from a lawful source, and the investment funds must be put at risk. So the way this could work for an investor or an entrepreneur is that let's say you identify a business in the United States that you'd like to invest in, or perhaps you have an idea for a new business that you would like to start in the United States, through the EB-5 program, you could invest in that business or startup venture, and based on that investment, and the various projections for job creation that you plan to make in the future, you could potentially qualify for a green card. I wanna give you one more way that you could potentially qualify for a green card based on being an entrepreneur or a business professional. Now, this option is referred to as EB1A.

EB1A is for people that have an extraordinary ability in a particular field. Recall earlier how we talked about the O-1 visa, which was a visa for people that have an extraordinary ability? Well, through EB1A, it's quite similar to the O-1, except for the fact that it's a green card option. There are also some other difference as well with respect to the strictness with which these cases are adjudicated. And basically, the way EB1A works is again, it's for people that have an extraordinary ability in a particular field such as science, math, athletics or business.

So if you're a business professional and you can demonstrate that you have an extraordinary ability in the field of business, then you could potentially qualify for EB1A. And again, how do you demonstrate that you have an extraordinary ability? Well, similar to the O-1, there are these various criteria such as evidence of winning awards or prizes, evidence that you have published material about you. Evidence that you have a high compensation compared to others in your field, evidence that you have materials that are published about you. If you're a member of an organization or an association that requires outstanding achievements to be a member of that organization or association and there are various other criteria as well. And to demonstrate that you have extraordinary ability, you have to show that you satisfy at least three of those, and that you're among the top of your field.

So again, I wanna make clear that the EB1A option can be applied to entrepreneurs and business professionals, and people that have an extraordinary ability in the field of business. So, so far in this video, we've gone over six total options. We talked about the E-2 visa, the L-1 visa, the O-1 visa, the international entrepreneur parole program. We talked about the EB1C green card option, and we talked about the EB-5 green card option. We also talked about the EB1A green card option for people that have an extraordinary ability.

We talked about a number of different ways that an investor or an entrepreneur can come to the United States and operate their business. Now, a few important points that I wanna mention are that one, in this video, I wanted to present an overview of these various categories, but it's important to know that for purposes of this video, I did not go over every single requirement that's needed for these visas. I wanted to present you with a general overview so that you can understand some of the basics of these different options. But please be aware that immigration has a lot of different details to it. So it's very important that you speak with a qualified immigration lawyer to fully understand how these options can be applied to your particular case.

Please note that this information is intended as general information, and it's not intended as any sort of legal advice. For legal advice, you should speak with a qualified immigration lawyer. Please keep in mind that it's important to consult with a qualified immigration lawyer to see whether these options apply to you and whether you're eligible for one of these options. Now, I hope you guys learned a lot from this video. I hope that you got a ton of value from this video, and that you can live your American dream in the United States and operate your own business successfully in the US. Thank you guys so much for tuning in.

And I will see you on the next video.

2021-06-02 23:29

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