Entrepreneurs and Investors

There are several options to stay legally within the United States as an investor or entrepreneur.  Each option has different requirements, restrictions, and drawbacks; therefore, we strongly urge you to seek legal advice before applying for any visa.

E-1 Treaty Traders

The E-1 nonimmigrant classification is for citizens of countries that maintain treaties of commerce and navigation with the United States. An applicant will be admitted solely to engage in substantial (more than 50%) international trade on his or her own behalf. Trade is the exchange of goods, services, technology, and other items. Certain dependents of the principal applicant may be eligible for the classification as well. The length of the visa validity is based upon the treaty and diplomatic reciprocity tables.

Qualifications of a Treaty Trader:

  • The trader must be a national of a country with which the US maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
  • Carry on substantial trade
  • Carry on principal trade between the US and the treaty country

Qualifications of the employee of a treat trader:

  • Be the same nationality of the principal alien employer (same of treaty country)
  • Meet definition of employee as per relevant law
  • Engaged in duties of executive or supervisory in nature. Some exceptions apply

E-2 Treaty Investors

The E-2 nonimmigrant classification is for citizens of countries that maintain treaties of commerce and navigation with the US when investing a substantial amount of capital in a US business. This visa requires a substantial investment in a real operating enterprise and the funds must be under the sole control of the investor. The investor must be in US to develop and direct the enterprise. The investment must create employment beyond the investor and their family. Certain dependents of the principal applicant may be eligible for the classification as well. Qualified investors and employees are allowed a maximum initial stay of two years. Requests for extensions may be granted in increments of up to two years each. There is no limit to the number of extensions, however nonimmigrant intent must be maintained.

Qualifications of a Treaty Investor:

  • Must be a national of a country with which the US maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
  • Investment must be at risk and more than marginal
  • Invest substantial capital in bona fide enterprise
  • Must be seeking to direct and manage the enterprise

Qualifications of the Employee of Treat Investor:

  • Must be the same nationality as principal applicant
  • Must meet definition of employee as per relevant law
  • Engaged in duties of executive or supervisory in nature. Some exceptions apply

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

Under this program, entrepreneurs and eligible dependents are able to apply for permanent residence. This is for people who wish to make a substantial investment of at least $1 million in a US business as well as plan to create 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified US workers.

Qualifications of EB-5 Immigrant Visa:

  • $1 Million plus 10 new full-time jobs (other targeted employment areas have different requirements)
  • Investment must be at risk
  • Residency Subject to Conditions