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Los Angeles Investor Visa Attorneys

Investor Visas and Immigration Law


There are different types of visas which allow a national to conduct business in the United States. The E-1 nonimmigrant classification allows a national to be admitted into the United States for the sole purpose of engaging in international trade. His or her employees may also be eligible for such classification, as well as certain dependent family members. For those treaty traders who are currently in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status, they may file a Form I-129 to request their status be changed to an E-1 classification. Employers may also file the Form I-129 on behalf of eligible employees.

How Do I Qualify for an E-1 Visa?

To qualify for an E-1 classification, one must be a national of a country with which the United States has a treaty of commerce and navigation, they must carry on a substantial trade and, they must carry on a specific trade that qualifies for the E-1 classification. These items include: goods, services, insurance, international banking, transportation, tourism, technology and its transfer, and certain news-gathering activities.

In order to qualify for an E-1 classification, you must have the same nationality of your employer, meet the definition of an “employee” under the law, and either have a supervisory position or have special qualifications if you are in a lesser capacity.

E-2 Treaty Investors

The E-2 classification allows a national (from a treaty country) to be admitted to the United States while investing a significant amount of capital in a U.S. business. Certain employees and family members may be eligible for an E-2 classification as well. Providing the treaty investor is currently in the United States legally, he or she may file Form I-129 to request a change to an E-2 classification.

A supervisor may also file such form on behalf of their employee. In order to qualify for an E-2 classification, the person must be a national of a country with which the U.S. has a treaty of commerce with, they must have invested or be in the process of investing a substantial amount of money in a bona fide enterprise in the U.S., and they must be seeking to enter the U.S. solely for the purpose of investing into a business enterprise. In order to do this, they must show at least 50% ownership of the enterprise, or possession or operational control of such enterprise.

The USCIS administers what is called the Immigrant Investor Program, which is otherwise called the EB-5. It was created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy by creating jobs and capital investment by foreign investors. All EB-5 investors are required to invest in a new commercial enterprise. Such business include: a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a holding company, a joint venture, a corporation or a publicly or privately owned business trust.

This classification must create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years and it must create or preserve either direct or indirect jobs. Furthermore, investors can only be credited with preserving jobs in an already troubled business. In the United States, the minimum qualifying investment in this case would be $1 million dollars. However, in a targeted employment area, meaning a rural area or one with a high unemployment rate) the minimum investment would be $500,000.

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