The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has several visa types based on specific criteria that allow eligible foreigners to enter the country and materialize the American Dream.
Do foreign nationals need a specific visa to enter the United States to purchase a business? Read on to find out.
Do You Need a Visa to Buy a Business in USA? – The Verdict
With very few exceptions, US law does not restrict the ability of foreign nationals to purchase existing businesses in the country. As long as the aspiring business owners have been admitted to the United States legally, it is possible to buy a company without necessarily being:
- A US citizen
- A lawful permanent resident (green card holder), or
- A holder of a specific visa
Hence, foreign nationals do not need a specific type of visa to purchase an existing US business.
Buying a Business in USA vs. Work Authorization – Taking a Closer Look
While purchasing an existing US business does not require a specific type of visa, performing labor for the purchased business requires specific work authorization. Being allowed to buy a company is not equivalent to being allowed to work for the company you have purchased.
Most nonimmigrant visas tend to limit an entrepreneur’s ability to work in a newly-acquired US business. For example, if a foreign investor under B-1 (Temporary Business Visitor) status decides to buy an existing business, he or she can freely sign the paperwork to complete the transaction.
However, the same foreign investor cannot manage the business or serve as an officer of the company (e.g., CEO, CFO, etc.). Performing any labor for a US company requires work authorization, which is often a hassle for foreign entrepreneurs.
What Are the Best Visa Options to Buy a Business in USA? – A Realistic Overview
Depending on the foreign national’s country of origin, it is possible to qualify for the E-2 nonimmigrant classification. Despite being a nonimmigrant category, the E-2 Treaty Investor visa has no limit on the number of extensions.
Hence, many E-2 investors can indefinitely renew their status and work in their own US companies. To qualify for the E-2 classification, the applicant must:
- “Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
- Have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States, and
- Be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise. This is established by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position or other corporate device”
Unlike other investment-based visas that impose a minimum eligibility threshold on the amount of investment, the E-2 classification requires the applicant to invest “a substantial amount of capital.”
USCIS does not have a fixed threshold to determine what a “substantial amount of capital” is, which gives E-2 applicants more flexibility.
Do You Want to Buy a Business in USA as a Foreign National? – Immediately Seek Expert Legal Guidance
A well-versed legal advisor in US immigration law, Attorney Romy B. Jurado willingly wants to help you succeed. Contact us today by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] to schedule a consultation.