If you are an immigrant and you want to run a business, see a business immigration lawyer. Business immigration is the largest and most actively evolving part of immigration law. A business immigration law firm covers work visas, investor visas, employment-based green cards, and permanent residence for talented individuals. Some of the methods of business immigration to USA require having a sponsoring employer (for example, H-1B or PERM), but some of the petitions can be filed by the applicants themselves.
For example, an individual with exceptional skills, whose work is in the national interest of the United States, can self-petition and sponsor himself for a green card. Similarly, a small business owner may file a self-petition for an E-2 investor visa or an L-1A visa, if the applicant meets the requirements.
In some types of business immigration to USA, the beneficiary is required to have a certain set of qualifications, experience, education or talents. In others, the beneficiary may be eligible for a visa or green card based on the amount of their investment or type of their activity, without the need for a certain education or experience level.
Our business immigration law firm likes to believe there is a way for anyone to immigrate or be lawfully employed in the United States. The key is to find the right path and the best fit. However, you should be willing to make additional efforts to meet the requirements.
Our experienced business immigration lawyer and his team represent employers, investors, and small businesses in securing work visas and permanent residence based on their business activities. In light of the recently signed “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order, the success of the petitions, now more than ever, depends on the ability to strategize, and diligently identify and address all issues depending on the circumstances of each specific case, without applying one-size-fits-all strategies.
When we prepare immigration packages for filing, each document and form go through multiple levels of rigorous verification and scrutiny. Each case is assigned to a team of professionals consisting of the responsible business immigration lawyer, and dedicated paralegal and immigration clerks, all of whom work together in an effort to achieve the best outcome.
Our business immigration law firm strives to file every immigration package in such a way as to make it unlikely to trigger a request for additional evidence or inquiries from the government. To achieve this, we constantly monitor the changes in immigration law. Our business immigration lawyer adjusts and tailors each package to meet the most up-to-date requirements. This helps us to take away the stress and burden of these matters from our clients, allowing them to focus on running their businesses rather than dealing with complicated immigration procedures.
Our work in making it easy for you begins from your first contact with our office. The first step to become our client is to schedule a consultation with our licensed and experienced business immigration lawyer. Your options include an in-person meeting at our Northern Virginia office in Fairfax, Virginia, a telephone consultation, or an online conference via Skype.
If I get E-2 visa, can it lead me to a green card?
Depends on what you mean by “lead”. There is no visa or status that automatically leads to a green card. There is a common misperception about this. For example, an H-1B status does not “lead” to a green-card through employment. In fact, you do not need an H-1B status to have your potential employer sponsor you for employment-based green card. There are basis and procedures for non-immigrant visas, such as H-1B, E-2, L-1, and there are separate basis and procedures to apply for green card, such as employment-based green card process, family petitions, business, investment, outstanding abilities etc. The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is a non-immigrant visa which allows entrepreneurs and their families to live in the United States and manage their businesses. You can renew E-2 status continuously in every 2 years. While you are on E-2 status, you can apply for green card through all available options such as investment (EB-5), employment (PERM), family petitions, extraordinary ability, national interest waiver and so on.
Here are the common ways, listed in the order of frequency, through which many of our E-2 clients eventually adjust their status in the US and become US permanent residents:
- The E-2 visa holder can be sponsored for employment-based green card by a potential employer who is able and willing to offer a permanent job to the E-2 visa holder.
- PERM for E-2 Spouse. Spouses of E-2 visa holders are eligible for work permit, also known as Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The EAD allows the dependent spouse of E-2 principal to work for any employer at any job. Quite often, after some time of employment, the E-2 spouse’s employer decides to sponsor the employee through PERM process and, in turn, all family members of the E-2 visa holder adjusts status to permanent residency in the United States and get their green cards.
- Additional Investment – EB-5. As we know, the E-2 visa requires around $100,000 and, sometimes, even smaller investment. In other words, it is for smaller businesses. But as the business grows and expands, the E-2 investor may decide to inject more money ($500K/$1mln) into the business, thereby enabling business to hire 10 or more employees. If that happens, the E-2 investor may now be able to apply for green card through the EB-5 investment program.
- Exceptional/Outstanding Skills. If the E-2 investor’s business is so successful and innovative that it impacts the industry or field in which the E-2 investor operates, then he or she may be eligible to apply for green card based on National Interest Waiver or Extraordinary Abilities.
- Family Petitions. Some E-2 investors have US citizen siblings or parents. Or they may end up getting married in the US or their children may naturalize through one way or another. If that happens, naturally, the US citizen relative can sponsor the E-2 investor for green card. Some of family-based petitions take many years of waiting in line. For example, a green card process through US citizen sibling can take 12-15 years. The beneficiaries of family-sponsored preference categories who are waiting for priority dates to become current need to have some type of independent non-immigrant status during that time to be able to live and work in the US while waiting. E-2 is a good status which enables the waiting family status to live and work in the US while waiting for their family-based petition’s priority date.
There are multiple other options one can become a lawful permanent resident. E-2 status does not preclude you from exploring all those options while you are in the US. The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is a great tool for entrepreneurs and businessmen to establish and run their businesses in the US. It is often the first step in realizing your American Dream. For more information of obtaining E-2 visa, starting your business in the US, or applying for green card, please contact us at +1-703-527-1779 or via e-mail: [email protected].
I am a citizen of Ukraine and would like to apply for E-2 visa. Can I file for change of status or do I have to go back and apply through the consulate?
E-s visa applicants from Ukraine and other post-Soviet states frequently have difficulties with proving the source of income, because almost no one trusts banks or most individuals do not use bank accounts in Ukraine, Azerbaijan and other post-Soviet countries. Most transactions in those countries are made in cash due to the undeveloped and fragile banking system. Even if it is a sale of real estate, the initial transfer of funds occurs through a bank account, but then the seller immediately withdraws the funds and stores it in the form of cash. Income and taxes are very poorly documented. The good news is that the consulate there is aware of those conditions and is more liberal about tracking cash transaction. However, the USCIS here is not well aware of it and often denies change of status cases due to a lack of evidence proving source of funds invested. Therefore, I never recommend my clients from post-Soviet countries to file for change of status, and instead, advise them to go through the US consulate in their home country.
Additionally, the process through the consulate is more collaborative. If the consular officer is not satisfied with the evidence provided or has additional questions, you can go back and forth until the officer is satisfied. However, if you apply for change of status in the US, you do not get to communicate with the USCIS officer, other than responding to one dry request for evidence. If the USCIS officer makes an adverse decision, you are out of luck and run the risk of being deportable. Therefore, we always recommend to apply for E visa through the US consulate in the applicant’s home country.
Finally, applying for change of status inside the US is always a negative factor for your future visa applications through the consulate. The consulates are not happy when one enters the US with one type of visa and then changes it to another. Even if your change of status in the US is granted, you will still have to obtain the visa through the consulate whenever you decide to travel abroad. So, we recommend to apply from the consulate from the beginning and avoid dealing with the USCIS altogether.
How much money should I invest to get E-2 visa?
There is not the exact amount limit as a minimum or maximum for E-2 investment. The law requires that the investment be “substantial.” Typically, an investment of $100,000 or more satisfies the substantiality test. The important factor for E-2 investment is proportionality – the amount you invest should be proportionate to business you do. In other words, you must invest sufficient amount to ensure that the business operation will be successfully fulfilled. While making the decision, the USCIS considers substantiality of E-2 visa investment, which means the nature of the business and amount of the investment should be proportionate. Additionally, the higher investment amount makes it easier to obtain the E-2 visa.
Yes, the loan is one of the legitimate sources for E-2 investment. However, the loan cannot be secured by the assets of your E-2 enterprise. It can be either unsecured loan or a loan secured by your personal assets.
NOTICE: The information contained on this site is intended to educate the general public and not to provide legal advice. To obtain proper legal assistance, please contact a qualified attorney.
Article Title: Business Immigration
Short Description: If you are an immigrant and you want to run a business, see a business immigration lawyer. Business immigration is the largest and most actively evolving part of immigration law. A business immigration law firm covers work visas, investor visas, employment-based green cards, and permanent residence for talented individuals. Some of the methods of business immigration to USA require having a sponsoring employer (for example, H-1B or PERM), but some of the petitions can be filed by the applicants themselves. Our business immigration law firm likes to believe there is a way for anyone to immigrate or be lawfully employed in the United States. The key is to find the right path and the best fit. However, you should be willing to make additional efforts to meet the requirements.
Author: Ismail Shahtakhtinski
Publisher - Orgnization: I.S. Law Firm, PLLC