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If you are a national of one of the following countries and are ready to invest in an existing business or start-up a new venture in the United States we are here to help guide you through the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa process.
The U.S. is party to numerous bi-lateral treaty agreements allowing investors from the above countries to enter the U.S. for the purpose of developing and managing a business enterprise, often after investing in the enterprise. The investor may be eligible for an E-2 Treaty Investor nonimmigrant visa if the individual can show the investment would be substantial and he or she is seeking to enter the U.S to direct and develop the business after the investment is made.
An important aspect of the program that makes it accessible to the majority of investors is no specific monetary amount is required; the investment of capital need only be substantial in proportion to the business. This means an investor does not have to have $1,000,000 (for example) on hand to be eligible for the program like other investment visa programs. Rather, an investor only needs to have the drive to invest or create a new venture and capital to invest which would be substantial in proportion to the business.
A proportionate capital investment does not necessarily mean cash. An investment can also be made for E-2 purposes by: transferring goods, buying equipment or inventory, or by making other capital investments such as devoting intellectual property to the business. These are only examples of possible options as an investment for the program allows for creativity – again making it accessible to the majority of investors.
Initial E-2 visas are valid for two years, but the visa may be extended each time for an additional two years. There is no limit to the number of times an investor may extend the visa. Spouses and unmarried children under 21 may join the investor in the United States. Spouses may also apply for work authorization with no restrictions on employment.
Employers in the United States always seeking to employ the very best individuals in science, arts, education, business, or athletics often search globally for employees. In order for U.S. based employers to employ foreign nationals who have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics, the U.S. based employer must obtain a visa for the foreign national so the extraordinary individual may perform for the employer in the United States. The O-1 visa was created specifically for U.S. employers to be able to employ extraordinary individuals from different countries.
O-1 visas are temporary work visas open to foreign nationals who have “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics” which “has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim.” Most individuals working in the above listed fields may qualify to apply. The O-1 visa would be filed by a U.S. employer seeking to employ the individual in the field in which he or she is acclaimed.
An individual is extraordinary if he/she can demonstrate the following:
- Has performed or will perform as a leading or starring participant in distinguished productions;
- Garnered national or international coverage of achievement’s in major newspapers, trade journals, magazines, or other publications;
- Has performed or will perform as a lead, starring, or critical role for a distinguished organization;
- Can demonstrate a record of commercial or critical success;
- Been awarded recognition for achievements accomplished in the field;
- Commands a high salary or other remuneration for work performed in the field.
Due to the open-ended categories used to demonstrate extraordinary ability the O-1 visa allows for a high degree of creativity and can encompass the majority of professionals. If the individual is outstanding in his or her respective field and has a U.S. based employer who wishes to employ the individual, our office should be contacted for a consultation.
An O-1 visa is valid for up to three years, and may be extended for up to one year. There is no limit on how many times an individual may apply for an O-1. Spouses and unmarried children under 21 may accompany the individual under O-3 status. Often after an individual has held O-1 status, the individual may be eligible for Lawful Permanent Residency (LPR).
The EB-1 program– Certain foreign nationals may apply for permanent residency without an employer or labor certification. Those individuals who may self-petition must possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics.
Individuals in order to demonstrate his or her extraordinary ability need only proof three of the following 10 categories:
- Receipt of prizes or award for excellence;
- Membership in associations requiring outstanding achievement of members;
- Published material about the individual in major media;
- Being asked to judge the work of other in the field;
- Original contributions of major significance to the field;
- Authorship of articles for professional or major publications;
- Display of work oat exhibitions or showcases;
- Performance of a lead or critical role for distinguished organizations;
- Receipt of a high salary or remuneration;
- Commercial success in the performing arts.
Due to the open-ended categories used to demonstrate extraordinary ability the EB-1 program allows for a high degree of creativity and can encompass the majority of professionals. If the individual is outstanding in his or her respective field and can demonstrate three of the above ten categories, the individual is eligible to request Lawful Permanent Residency (LPR) in the United States without a petitioner or a sponsor. After five years as a lawful permanent resident, most individuals are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.
Individuals may also apply for permanent residency for spouses and unmarried children under 21 through the EB-1 program. As lawful permanent residents, each individual will have the ability to work, study, and travel without restrictions and later apply for U.S. citizenship.