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Investor Visas

E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is for investors who are nationals of a treaty country with the United States.

The investor must be coming to the United States to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the national has invested, or is actively in the process of investing.

To qualify as an E-2 Treaty Investor you must make an investment that is substantial, and not considered marginal. The investment must be made in a real operating enterprise. Also, an "investment" means the placing of funds or other capital assets "at risk" in the hope of generating a return on the funds. Therefore, uncommitted funds in an idle bank account do not constitute an investment. Speculative or passive investments made merely for potential appreciation, such as land and stocks do not qualify under the statute.

The E-2 Treaty Investor investment must not be marginal. It must generate significantly more income than needed to provide a living to the investor and his/her family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States and employ US workers. The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. For the purpose of measuring the investment, loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not counted.

The investor must be coming to the US to develop and direct the enterprise. If applicants are not the principal investors, they must be employed as a supervisor, executive, or as the possessor of highly specialized skills. The percentage of investment in cash for a low-cost enterprise must be higher than the percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise

EB-5 Investor Visa

Congress created the EB-5 immigrant investor visa category in the Immigration Act of 1990 in the hopes of attracting foreign capital to the US and creating jobs for American workers in the process. The overall advantage of the EB-5 visa category is that it allows the beneficiary to engage in commercial enterprise anywhere in the US.

What are the basic requirements for the EB-5 visa?

There are three basic requirements as follows:

1. The foreign national must establish a business or invest in an existing business that was created or restructured after November 19,1990

2. The foreign national must have invested $1 million ($500,000 in some cases) in the business

3. The business must create full-time employment for at least 10 US workers

What types of investments meet the requirements for the EB-5 investor?

The investment can be in the form of cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents and indebtedness secured by assets owned by the foreign national provided that he or she is personally and primarily liable and the assets of the new commercial enterprise are not used to secure any of the indebtedness. The definition specifically excludes capital acquired by unlawful means

How much investment is required to be an EB-5 investor?

The basic investment amount is $1 million. The required investment is $500,000 for a business established in a "targeted employment area." Targeted employment areas include:

1. Rural areas, defined as any area other than one within a metropolitan statistical area or within the boundary of a city or town with a population of 20,000 or more; and

2. Areas having an unemployment rate that is at least 150% of the national average.

For a Pilot Program investment, the threshold is a $500,000 capital contribution to a designated Regional Center.

How many full-time jobs must be created by the EB-5 qualifying investment?

The investment must create at least 10 full-time jobs for US citizens, lawful permanent residents or other immigrants lawfully authorized to be employed in the United States. This includes conditional residents, temporary residents, asylees, refugees, and recipients of suspension of deportation, but does not include nonimmigrants. In calculating the required number of employment positions, the investor may not include spouses or children, but may include other family members who are employed by the business.

Can a commercial enterprise involving multiple investors be used as a basis for classification as an EB-5 investor?

Yes. Multiple investors may establish a new commercial enterprise which can be the basis for the EB-5 classification. However, each investor applying for the classification must meet the requirements for the EB-5 classification separately. For example, each investor must create 10 jobs for US workers.

Permanent Residence (Green Card)

Family Sponsored Immigration

U.S. citizens may petition for spouses, parents, children and siblings. Permanent residents may petition for spouses and children.

EB-1 Foreign Nationals of Extraordinary Ability,Outstanding Professors and Researchers, and Multinational Executives and Managers

Individuals in this category can petition for permanent residency without having to go through the time consuming labor certification process.

EB-2 Workers with Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability in the Sciences, Arts or Business

Visa holders in this category normally must have a job offer and the potential employer must complete the labor certification process. The labor certification involves a testing of the job market to demonstrate that the potential visa holder is not taking a job away from a U.S. worker. In cases where an individual can show that his entry is in the national interest, the job offer and labor certification requirements can be waived.

EB-3 Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers

Visa holders in this category normally must have a job offer and the potential employer must complete the labor certification process.

EB-4 Special Immigrant Visas for Religious Workers

EB-5 Investor/Employment Creation Visas

Under the 1990 Immigration Act, Congress has set aside up to 10,000 visas per year for alien investors in new commercial enterprises who create employment for ten individuals. There are two groups of investors under the program - those who invest at least 500,000 in "targeted employment areas" (rural areas or areas experiencing high unemployment of at least 150% of the national average rate) and those who invest 1,000,000 anywhere else. More Details

DV-1 Visas (the "Green Card Lottery")

55,000 visas are annually allotted in a random drawing to individuals from nations underrepresented in the total immigrant pool.

Refugee and Asylum Applications

Persons with a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion may be eligible to apply for asylum or refugee status in the U.S.

US Visa Temporary Non Immigrant Visas

A Visa, G Visa, and Nato Visas

A visas are granted to diplomats, officials and employees of foreign governments coming to the US for official business. G visas are granted to employees of nongovernmental organizations and to lower ranking officials of foreign governments. NATO visas are granted to representatives of countries that are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Because these visas are an important component of US foreign policy, they are largely under the control of the State Department, with little involvement from the USCIS.

B-1/B-2 Visitor's Visas

Available to visits coming to the U.S. for business or pleasure. B-1 business visitor visas are for a short duration and must not involve local employment. Nationals of certain countries may be eligible to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa.

E-1/E-2 Treaty Trader and Investor Visas

Investors and traders and their employees may receive visas to carry on their businesses in the U.S. if their home country has a commercial treaty with the US conferring visa eligibility.

F-1 and M-1 Student Visas

Persons seeking to pursue a full course of study at a school in the United States may be eligible for a visa for the course of their study plus, in some cases, a period for practical training in their field of study.

H-1B Specialty Occupation (Professionals) Visas

Professional workers with at least a bachelor's degree (or its equivalent work experience) may be eligible for a non-immigrant visa if their employers can demonstrate that they are to be paid at least the prevailing wage for the position.

H-2A Visas

The H-2A temporary agricultural visa is a nonimmigrant visa which allows foreign nationals to enter the U.S. to carry out temporary or seasonal agricultural labor or services.

H-2B Visas

For a foreign worker to be covered by an H-2B visa, the job the employer offers needs three essential criteria:

1. The job and the employer’s need must be one time, seasonal, peak load or intermittent

2. The job must be for less than one year

3. There must be no qualified and willing U.S. workers available for the job.

H-3 Visas

The H-3 nonimmigrant visa category is designed to allow foreign nationals to come to the US to receive training in many different activities. Unlike the H-1B category, the H-3 is not a dual-intent visa, so the beneficiary cannot be pursuing avenues toward permanent residency.

I Visa

The I visa is a nonimmigrant visa for persons entering the United States temporarily who are representatives of the foreign media traveling the U.S. to engage in their profession.

J-1 and Q-1 Exchange Visitor Visas

Persons coming to the U.S. in an approved exchange program may be eligible for the J-1 Exchange Visitor's visa. J-1 programs often cover students, short-term scholars, business trainees, teachers, professors and research scholars, specialists, international visitors, government visitors, camp counselors and au pairs. In some cases, participation in a J-1 program will be coupled with the requirement that the beneficiary spend at least two years outside of the U.S. before being permitted to switch to a different non-immigrant visa or to permanent residency.

K-1 Fiancee Visas

A Fiance(e) of a U.S. citizen is eligible for a non-immigrant visa conditioned on the conclusion of the marriage within 90 days.

K-3 and K-4 Visas

On December 21, 2000, the Legal Immigration and Family Equity (LIFE) Act amended the K nonimmigrant visa category to include the spouse and unmarried children of United States citizens. With this modification, the spouse and children of a United States citizen may be admitted to the United States as K-3 and K-4 nonimmigrants to complete their process for permanent residence.

L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visas

The L-1 Intracompany Visa is defined in the regulations as a foreign national who, within three years preceding the time of his or her application for admission into the United States, has been employed continuously for one year by a firm or corporation or other legal entity or parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary thereof and seeks to enter the United States temporarily in order to render his or her services to a branch of the same employer or a parent, affiliate, or subsidiary in one of the following capacities:

1. Managerial

2. Executive

3. Or in a specialized knowledge position

O-1 Extraordinary Ability Worker Visas

The O-1 category is set aside for foreign nationals with extraordinary ability. This includes entertainers, athletes, scientists, and business persons.

P-1 Artists and Athletes Visas

This category covers athletes, artists and entertainers.

R-1 Religious Worker Visas

Religious workers may be eligible for an R-1 visa.

S Visa

The S visa is given to aliens who assist US law enforcement to investigate and prosecute crimes and terrorist activities.

T Visa

The visa was created by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, and allows people who have been trafficked into the US to remain in the US while the case against their trafficker is pursued. It is believed that as many as 50,000 to 75,000 people, mostly women and children, are trafficked into the US each year and are often forced to live in slavery-like conditions. The visa was created in the hope that by offering victims a way to remain in the US lawfully, they would be more willing to contact authorities with information about traffickers.

TN Status Under the North American Free Trade Agreement

A special category has been set up for nationals of Canada and Mexico under the provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement.