At the law firm of Michael G. Murray, P.A., we work within the bounds of United States immigration law to accomplish immigration goals for our clients. One popular path to obtaining a non-immigrant visa or immigrant visa is through financial investment.
The three main investor visa routes are as follows:
If you wish to invest in a United States business, or if you are prepared to expand your company and establish a new office in the U.S., then the L-1 and E-2 visas are worthy of your consideration. While the EB-5 differs in that it is an immigrant visa with a longer processing time, both the L-1 Visa and E-2 Visa can be obtained within a few months.
In general, although the L-1 and E-2 visa classifications are intended for investors, there are some essential differences between the two classes. The best way to distinguish which visa is more suitable to your needs, it is important to understand the differences presented below.
|L-1 Visa||E-2 Visa|
|1 Year Start Up visa, otherwise usually three||5 Year Visa|
|Active Management Required||Develop and Direct the Business|
|Rigid Presence in the U.S.||Flexible Presence in the U.S.|
|No Investment Treaty||Investment Treaty Needed|
|Source of Funds Review and Proof of Sufficient Funds||Source and Path of Funds Scrutiny|
|Direct Path to Green Card (“Dual Intent”)||No Direct Path to Green Card|
|English Proficiency||English Proficiency|
|Maximum 7 years||Renewable Indefinitely|
(Experience Abroad of 1 year in the last 3 years).
|No Previous Management Required|
|Expand your business||Invest in a new business|
EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program
USCIS administers the EB-5 Program. Under this program, entrepreneurs (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) are eligible to apply for a green card (permanent residence) if they:
- Make the necessary investment in a commercial business or enterprise in the United States; and
- Plan to create or maintain 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.
This program is known as EB-5 for the name of the employment-based fifth preference visa that participants receive.
Congress created the EB-5 Program in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. In 1992, Congress created the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as the Regional Center Program. This sets aside EB-5 visas for participants who invest in commercial enterprises associated with regional centers approved by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth
While the above E-2 Visa and L-1 Visa are temporary non-immigrant visas, the EB-5 is an immigrant visa that provides for two-year conditional permanent residency in the United States. At the expiration of two year, the investor will need to apply to remove the condition via an I-751 petition filed with USCIS.
Business Plan is Key
When applying for a business investment visa (EB-5, L-1, or E-2 Visa), whether expanding or starting a business in the United States, a well-done immigration-oriented business plan can be critical. This is especially the case with smaller businesses that have lower revenues or lower numbers of employees. New businesses are also entities for which both USCIS and Consular Officers expect a detailed business plan laying out the growth strategy of the firm in the United States.
An Austin immigration lawyer – Abogados de Inmigracion en Austin TX – can help you determine if you qualify for an investor visa. Learn more by contacting Michael G. Murray, P.A today!