Boasting the world’s largest GDP ($22.675 trillion in 2021) and continuous growth despite the existence of several setbacks (e.g., geopolitical disputes, COVID-19, etc.), the United States offers fertile soil for foreign entrepreneurs chasing the American dream.
However, things are not as simple as they seem, especially considering the complexities of establishing a new business in America as a foreigner. Still, it is possible to “immigrate” a business from abroad to the United States? In this article, you will find out the answer.
How Can a Business Immigrate to USA? – Taking a Closer Look
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has several types of visas available for different applicants based on their background, home country, professional skills, etc.
Accordingly, entrepreneurs looking into investing in a US-based company from overseas or expanding their businesses into American soil must consult with an expert business attorney to have their cases assessed in detail.
Yet, it is possible to anticipate whether a visa category may be a feasible option by assessing the eligibility criteria.
EB-5 Investor Visa
One of the most popular options for foreign entrepreneurs who aspire to call America their homes, the EB-5 investor visa is an excellent option for investors who do not have a problem investing larger amounts of money.
The EB-5 program was created to stimulate the US economy by attracting foreign capital. Accordingly, eligible investors can attain lawful permanent resident status upon investing the required amount in a US business enterprise.
As provided by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the required standard minimum investment amount is $1 million for standard enterprises. Also, the minimum investment amount for investment in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) is $500,000.
As it is plain to see, although the EB-5 visa provides a straight path towards the lawful permanent residence in the United States, it is an expensive option that excludes candidates who cannot afford to invest the required amount.
Multinational companies are still a powerful economic juggernaut expanding through different countries and establishing offices both in the United States and abroad.
It is common to find employees who need the authorization to work and live in the United States as intracompany transferees, so USCIS issues specific visas to address this type of situation.
The L category encompasses temporary intracompany transferees who work in managerial/executive positions (L-1A) or have specialized knowledge (L-1B) working for international businesses that have offices in the United States.
Nonetheless, these are not immigrant visas, so employees under L status must either renew their visas upon expiration or return to their home countries.
As provided by USCIS, the E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant that “allows a national of a treaty country to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business.”
While the EB-5 category has stricter requirements in terms of investment, the E-2 category offers a broader scope of possibilities for prospective applicants. Yet, E-2 eligibility depends on several factors, such as:
- Being a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
- Investing a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide US-based enterprise
- Entering the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise