Introduction to Business Immigration

The United States has many opportunities for business people to start or expand their businesses if you know how to take advantage of them. Business immigration can be a complex process, but it is a very attractive option for many prospective immigrants.

There are several benefits of business immigration to the United States. These include access to a large market, innovative technologies, a diverse and skilled workforce, and a stable and predictable business environment. Additionally, the United States offers favorable tax laws, intellectual property protection, a robust financial system, and a culture of entrepreneurship that strongly supports business growth.

In this article we will be discussing the various ways you can do business  in the U.S as a foreign citizen, and some of the pathways that lead to U.S permanent residence.

Types of Business Visas

business meeting

Depending on your needs, there are a number of business visas available. They range from short-term visas like the B-1 Visa to longer term visas like the EB-5 visa.

B-1 Visa

Also known as the B-1 Business Visitor visa, this is available to people who need to travel to the US to transact some form of business. This could include signing papers, attending conferences, giving or receiving work-related training, etc. 

Usually, you can stay for up to six months (in one trip), but you may be allowed to stay for up to a year if you need more time to complete your business activities. 

A person on this visa cannot be paid by any entity in the US except as part of the business they are in the country to transact.

Related Read: B-1/B-2 Visitor Visas and Work Permits

E-1 Visa

The E-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign nationals of certain countries to be admitted to the United States solely to engage in international trade on their own behalf. To qualify for this visa, your country has to have a business treaty agreement with the United States. To find out if your country qualifies under the E-1 Visa category in this official list.

If you are approved, you can conduct trades of goods and services between your country and the United States, and you will be able to enter into the country for this purpose.

Because this category is quite complicated to navigate, it is advisable to contact a lawyer before moving forward with an application to increase your chances of success. 

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

Unlike the other categories in this article, this visa category is an immigrant category. This means that if you qualify, you immediately receive legal permanent resident status, and can transition to U.S. citizenship in 3-5 years.

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program requires a minimum investment of $1.8 million in a new or existing business in the US. This investment must create at least 10 full-time jobs for US workers. Investors can also invest $900,000 in a designated regional center and still qualify for the program.

Investors must prove that business is being conducted. Merely leasing a space and employing people is not a guarantee that the investor is using the funds for the purpose of the business or assuming any risk.

Direct and Indirect Investments

There are two main types of investments permitted under the EB-5 visa category: Direct and Indirect Investments. 

If you choose the direct investment route, you are solely responsible for the success or failure of the enterprise, as well as overseeing the day-to-day running of its activities.

In the indirect investment route, your funds are pooled in an established regional center with other investors, and are used to do a much larger project than you would have been able to do on your own. You will not be responsible for running this business.

There are pros and cons to both routes, so it is important that you speak to your lawyer to weigh your options and come up with the decision that is best for your business needs.

Because of the high demand for visas for business people, it is important to have an airtight petition that will stand out and increase your chances of success. The lawyers at CFUIS are very competent at navigating business visas, so contact us today to get started on your petition.