Are you wondering if is there a visa for entrepreneurs? You can stop wondering thanks to Jurado & Associates, P.A because we have successfully helped hundreds of foreign entrepreneurs to start or immigrate their businesses to the USA. Contact us at (305) 921-0976. today to make your American Dream come true!
Below, find our complete guide about visas for entrepreneurs, to bring you a proper overview of your options to start a business in the USA as a foreigner. Nonetheless, if you want the perfect solution as soon as possible, then get in touch with us, in order to find the perfect visa for your case.
Is There a Visa for Entrepreneurs? – All You Need to Know
As provided by USCIS, all visa options are split between two categories – non-immigrant visas vs. immigrant visas. Essentially, the classification of the visa is determined by the purpose of the applicant’s travel to the United States. When a foreign national with permanent residence abroad decides to be in the United States temporarily for any reason – tourism, business, temporary work or study, medical treatment – he/she will receive a non-immigrant visa.
Nonetheless, if foreign national wishes to live permanently in the United States, he/she will apply for an immigrant visa. If the application is successful, the applicant will be granted lawful permanent residence (green card) to live and work legally in the country. Although there is not a category denominated by USCIS as the “entrepreneurs visa” there are specific visa options that are suitable for distinct types of entrepreneurs. Currently, the most suitable visa options available at USCIS include:
- EB-1 visa (immigrant visa)
- O-1 visa (nonimmigrant visa)
- EB-5 visa (immigrant visa)
- E-2 visa (nonimmigrant visa)
We will talk about each one of them in the following sections. We invite you to keep reading, in order to learn what visa option might be the most suitable for you in order to start a business in the USA as a foreigner.
Immigrant Visa Options For Entrepreneurs
Let us start with the immigrant visa options for entrepreneurs. They are more demanding in terms of requirements, but they offer more benefits in comparison to non-immigrant visas. Below, find the best options for entrepreneurs
The EB-1 Visa is one of the most demanding visa options in terms of eligibility criteria. As provided by USCIS, eligibility applies to foreign nationals with extraordinary ability, who are outstanding professors/researchers, or multinational executives or managers under specific circumstances.
Foreign nationals applying based on extraordinary ability must demonstrate they have sustained national or international acclaim or achievements that have been recognized in their field(s) of expertise. To demonstrate it, applicants must either include evidence of a one-time achievement (e.g., international recognition award) or prove to meet at least three of the ten criteria established by USCIS, which includes evidence of:
- The receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
- The applicant’s membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members
- Published material about the applicant’s professional or major trade publications or other major media
- The applicant was asked to judge the work of others (either individually or on a panel)
- The applicant’s original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field
- The applicant’s authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media
- The applicant’s work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases
- The applicant’s performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations
- The applicant commanded a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field
- The applicant’s commercial success(es) in the performing arts
With an annual cap of 10,000 visas per year, the EB-5 visa is available to entrepreneurs who are not afraid of investing larger amounts of capital to enter the United States legally. Created in 1990, the EB-5 program was intended to stimulate the United States economy and generate jobs by attracting foreign investment(s).
To obtain an EB-5 immigrant visa, applicants must invest at least the required standard minimum investment in a US-based business enterprise and create/preserve ten permanent full-time jobs for qualified American workers.
Currently, EB-5 investors putting capital at risk by buying an existing business or establishing a new business in the United States must invest at least $1 million. On the other hand, EB-5 investors putting capital at risk in a TEA (Targeted Employment Area) must invest at least $500,000.
As long as the funds used as investment come from a legitimate source, applicants can use money from savings or a business loan to apply for an EB-5.
While the EB-5 visa may seem like an “overly-restrictive” visa option due to the large sum of capital required as an investment, this visa is still one of the premier options for foreign entrepreneurs who want to start fresh in America’s pro-business environment.
Non-Immigrant Visa Options For Entrepreneurs
At Jurado & Associates, P.A., we have successfully helped hundreds of entrepreneurs to obtain nonimmigrant visas in order to build their business in the USA. Below, find the most suitable options for your needs.
Similar to the EB-1 visa, the O-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that applies to foreign nationals who:
- Possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics
- Has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry
- Has been recognized nationally or internationally for related extraordinary achievements
While the O-1 visa does offer permanent residence in the United States, successful applicants can renew it indefinitely as long as they comply with the visa requirements. Typically, the O-1 visa applies to business owners that are very well known or have been granted some type of prestigious award(s).
Real-world cases include talented business people who received a business award or extensive media coverage due to extraordinary ability in the financial segment. For example, a top-tier stock market specialist who invests in a US-based enterprise may apply for an O-1 visa based on his extraordinary ability.
While the standard minimum investment amount of $1 million is a barrier for many prospective EB-5 applicants, the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa offers an alternative pathway for foreign entrepreneurs.
The E-2 visa permits qualified foreign nationals from treaty countries to be admitted into the United States upon investing a “substantial” amount of capital in a US-based business enterprise.
As there is no minimum investment amount specified by USCIS for the E-2 visa, some applicants may receive approval for investing less than $150,000 in a US company. However, USCIS’s definition of “substantial” varies according to the applicant’s proposed business plan.
Only foreign nationals from specific countries may apply for an E-2 visa, specifically those treaty countries:
- With which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
- With which the United States maintains a qualifying international agreement
- Which have been deemed as qualifying countries by US legislation
Currently, there is an extensive list of E-2 qualifying countries. To determine your eligibility, schedule a consultation with a trusted immigration lawyer from Jurado & Associates, P.A. by calling (305) 921-0976.
Frequently Asked Questions about Visas for Entrepreneurs
We have created a special section to answer the most frequently asked questions about visas for entrepreneurs in the USA. Below, find our precise answers.
Can I get a visa if I own a business?
Not necessarily. In fact, there are two main cases in which a successful business owner may apply for a US visa. First, the category of foreign entrepreneurs who have achieved great success in their native countries or have promising business ideas that meet the requirements for an extraordinary ability visa. On the other hand, business owners may also receive a US visa upon investing a specific amount of money to establish a new business, expand an international company, or buy an existing endeavor.
Is there any entrepreneur visa in the USA?
In short, there is no such thing as an “entrepreneur visa” issued by USCIS. Foreign entrepreneurs must seek legal guidance to determine whether their circumstances suit the requirements of an existing visa category within USCIS. Overall, the most suitable visa options issued by USCIS that apply for international entrepreneurs include the EB-1 visa, the O-1 visa, the EB-5 visa, and the E-2 Treaty Investor visa.
How can an entrepreneur get a green card?
Unless the applicant is a foreign entrepreneur married to a US citizen, in which case he/she would apply for a family-based green card, it is possible to apply for an investor visa (EB-5, E2) or a visa based on extraordinary ability (EB-1, O-1). Non-immigrant visas permit foreign entrepreneurs to operate a business temporarily in the United States (typically with the possibility of renewal). On the other hand, immigrant visas grant lawful permanent residence to eligible applicants, which permits them to stay in the country indefinitely.
Contact Us for Expert Guidance on US Immigration Law
If you are a foreign entrepreneur willing to immigrate to the United States, waste no time with uncertainty. Consult with an expert business immigration attorney from Jurado & Associates, P.A. by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] for a consultation.