Obtaining insights and legal assistance from an experienced U.S. immigration attorney is the very best option if you are an international investor who is seeking to invest and live in the United States. You’ll need to submit a number of forms and documents to immigration authorities, you’ll need to have some patience, and to avoid any mistakes or misunderstandings, you will also need from the very beginning the legal advice and services of a good U.S. immigration attorney. Congress determines how many immigrants – and precisely which immigrants – will be allowed to enter the United States each year. A complicated formula determines how many and what kind of visas will be made available each year, and that formula also decides who will be approved for those visas. The current U.S. ratification options available to international investors include:
1. The E-2 visa: The E-2 ratification program does not currently offer international investors a green card, but it does require a “significant” investment in an active U.S. business.
2. The EB-5 visa: The EB-5 visa program, recently reauthorized by Congress, currently requires a minimum investment of $500,000 into a U.S. business and the creation of at least ten U.S.-based jobs. If the jobs are created and the other requirements are satisfied, investors and their immediate families receive green cards.
3. The L-1A visa: Another potential option for international investors is the L-1A visa. However, the L-1A is an employment-based visa that requires employer sponsorship. The L-1A visa lets a U.S. employer transfer an executive or manager from one of its foreign offices to an office in the United States.
THE E-2 VISA
If you are a savvy international investor, you are probably already aware that smart investment opportunities are abundant in every region of the United States. The E-2 visa is designed for investors from treaty-partner nations who are willing to make a significant investment in an ongoing U.S. business enterprise. To acquire an E-2 visa, an international investor must demonstrate that his or her investment will create not only profits but also jobs for U.S.-based workers. If you’re currently in the United States and you are interested in acquiring an E-2 visa, you’ll also have to apply for a change of status by submitting a Form I-129. The ratification and investment requirements are quite complicated, so you will very much want an immigration attorney’s help. Any mistake could result in substantial delays in the approval of your visa.
THE EB-5 VISA
To help finance projects such as stadiums, hotels, and vacation resorts, U.S.-based developers are looking more frequently to the EB-5 investor ratification program. The EB-5 program has provided about $6.5 billion to dozens of development projects across the United States over the last decade, and it has directly created more than 130,000 jobs. If you are an international investor looking for a good opportunity in the United States, the EB-5 ratification might be right for you.
The EB-5 ratification provides a path to lawful permanent residency; the E-2 visa does not. Investors from only particular nations – “treaty partner nations” – will be eligible to acquire the E-2 visa, but all qualified international investors may petition for an EB-5 investor visa. Through the EB-5 investor visa program, the United States allows international investors to invest in U.S.-based businesses and to live here with their immediate families. As the conditions of the EB-5 ratification are satisfied, investors and their families qualify to receive green cards. International investors with specific questions and concerns regarding the EB-5 investor visa program should consult with a good immigration lawyer in the United States. From wherever you are, you can arrange to speak with an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney, learn more about the EB-5 visa and your other visa options, and begin the visa application process.
BOOSTING THE U.S. ECONOMY
When the EB-5 investor ratification program was launched twenty-six years ago, it required international investors to create a new business in the United States. That requirement has changed, so that if ten new jobs are created, EB-5 investments may now be made into ongoing U.S.-based enterprises. Most EB-5 investors choose to work through an EB-5 Regional Center. Regional Centers are private groups that pool investor funds primarily for large development projects. For example, EB-5 investors are bringing new life to one of San Francisco’s most depressed districts. The $8 billion “Shipyards” project will create thousands of new homes as well as offices, retail locations, healthcare facilities, parks, an arts center, and studios for the community’s many artists.
EB-5 investors have built new university buildings, restaurants, and a number of other successful projects in Miami. EB-5 Regional Centers also funded the SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino and a number of other successful development projects across the country. In New York City, developers backed by EB-5 investments are building one of the largest Ferris wheels on the planet. Now in progress on Staten Island, “The Wheel” will stand over 600 feet high when it’s completed, offering spectacular views of the New York skyline. The development also includes a retail center, a major hotel, and a number of restaurants.
The EB-5 investor ratification program offers to investors from all nations a chance to pursue the American Dream and to live in the United States with their families. It offers developers and business owners another option for acquiring the investment resources they need to launch new business ventures and to bring new prosperity to sluggish companies and communities. The typical return on an EB-5 investment is a respectable eight percent, but many EB-5 investors are honestly more interested in green cards and good college educations for their children.
TARGETED EMPLOYMENT AREAS
Placing an EB-5 investment in a designated Targeted Employment Area or TEA lowers the minimum investment requirement from $1 million to $500,000. An EB-5 investment has to be located in a rural region or in an area with a high unemployment rate in order to receive the TEA designation. To qualify as a Targeted Employment Area, the location must have an unemployment rate of at least 150 percent of the U.S. national average. To obtain a TEA designation, an EB-5 ratification applicant must produce evidence that the project is located a rural or a high unemployment area.
An experienced immigration attorney can help you gather that evidence and offer other key insights and advice. Acquiring an EB-5 ratification and seeking the right investment opportunity takes some time and effort, but investors have learned that the benefits of the EB-5 investor visa program are very much worth their efforts. When an EB-5 ratification petition is approved, the visa holder/investor and his or her dependents are granted conditional permanent residence for two years. Within the ninety days prior to the end of that two year period, the investor must produce evidence that the full investment has been made and that ten jobs have been maintained, created, or will be created in a reasonable time.
CHANGES MAY BE COMING
At the end of 2015, Congress agreed to extend the EB-5 investor visa program through September 2016. Several times in 2015, Congress considered changes to the EB-5 program, but no action was taken, and lawmakers have now given themselves more time to study a number of proposals, including increasing the availability of EB-5 visas (now capped at 10,000 per year), raising the minimum investment amount, and creating tougher penalties for non-compliance. With only 10,000 EB-5 visas offered each year, it’s important for investors to begin the process as early as possible. The EB-5 visa is a superior and increasingly popular path to lawful permanent residency in the U.S. for those international investors with the resources and the tenacity to pursue it. Learn more about the EB-5 investor visa program by arranging a consultation with an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney.
THE L-1A VISA
A third possible option for international investors is the L-1A visa. The L-1A is a nonimmigrant ratification that allows a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its foreign offices to an office in the United States or to send an executive or manager to the United States to establish one. An eligible executive or manager must have worked outside of the U.S. for the sponsoring employer for one continuous year in the three-year period prior to entering the U.S. An L-1A is approved for one year. Requests for extensions may be granted in two-year increments until the employee has reached the limit of seven years. The L-1A visa is a temporary, nonimmigrant visa, so an L-1A visa holder who desires to and remain in the United States will need to request a change of immigration status. For example, after the L-1A is approved and all conditions have been met, the manager or executive may apply for an EB-1(c) visa, and upon approval of the EB-1(c), for a green card.
The United States always needs creative entrepreneurs, bold investors, and hard-working families. Their dreams can still come true here. Of course, preparation, patience, persistence, and good legal counsel are all needed whenever an investor – or anyone else – applies for a ratification to enter the United States. Every immigrant and immigration situation is unique, so whether you are an international investor or a U.S.-based sponsor, it’s important to have your immigration-related questions answered and your concerns addressed by speaking to an experienced Las Vegas E-1 E-2 investor lawyer. Every ratification takes time, so it’s best to start the process and make the call to an E-1 E-2 investor attorney promptly.