The US remains one of the most attractive destinations for investment. It has welcomed foreign investors throughout its history.
The E visa category is available to citizens of countries which have a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation (FCN), bilateral investment treaty (BIT) or free trade agreement (e.g. NAFTA), coming to carry on substantial trade principally between the United States and the treaty country, or, to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the foreign national has invested, or is in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital.
The law office of James C.T. Hsia has been navigating through the highly specialized field of U.S. Immigration Law and will be happy to assist you. Call our office at (703) 860 8822 or contact us online.
E-1 Treaty Trader
The E-1 Trader must be a national of a treaty country representing a trading firm of the nationality of the treaty country and must be coming to conduct “substantial” trade between the treaty country and the United States. The international trade must be “substantial” in the sense that there is a sizable and continuing volume of trade regardless of the size of individual transactions. The term “trade” includes the international exchange of goods, services, and technology, and requires the exchange of title from one party to the other.
The trade must be “principally” between the U.S. and the treaty country, which is defined to mean that more than 50 percent of the international trade involved must be between the U.S. and the country of the trader’s nationality. Lastly, the treaty trader must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possess highly specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the firm. Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify.
E-2 Treaty Investor
The E-2 Investor, be it a real or corporate person, must be a national of a treaty country making a “substantial” investment in the United States. The investment must be made up of the investor’s unsecured personal business capital, or capital secured by personal or business assets. However, borrowed funds secured by the assets of the investment enterprise will not qualify.
To be considered substantial, the investment capital must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. Therefore, the percentage of the required investment in proportion to the total capital needed to operate the business will be higher for a low-cost business enterprise than for a high-cost enterprise.
The investor must have possession and control (i.e. own at least 50%) of the investment, which must be placed at risk in an operating commercial enterprise. Speculative or idle investment will not qualify, nor will uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security. Additionally, the investment cannot be “marginal” in-so-far as it merely generates income sufficient to provide a living to the investor and his/her family. Instead, the investment must generate significantly more than marginal income, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States.
The investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise. Key employees who are nationals of the treaty country may be eligible for E status if employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity.
EB-5 Visas for Immigrant Investors
The EB-5 preference class allows certain foreign investors to qualify for permanent residence.
Every year, the United States offers 3,000 EB-5 investment visas to foreign nationals who are able to invest a large sum in a new commercial enterprise. These investments need to be able to be seen as vital to the United States’ economy as they create jobs and stimulate economic growth.
In order for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to consider an alien investor for investment based immigration, the investor must file an I-526 petition.
The basic requirements for this program are an investment of $1 million dollars (or $500,000 in a high unemployment or rural area) in a commercial enterprise that will create full-time employment for at least ten (10) workers. The investor may also choose to invest in a pre-approved “regional center.”
What is a Regional Center?
A regional center is an entity, organization or agency that has been approved by the USCIS. It must focus on a specific area in the U.S. and promote economic growth through increased export sales and domestic capital investment, job creation, and improved regional productivity.
There are many EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Centers throughout the United States.
Please call the law office of James C.T. Hsia & Associates at (703) 860 8822 to schedule your consultation or use the online form to describe your particular case details.