Owning a successful business in the United States is the lifetime dream of millions of individuals around the world. In this article, you will discover how to get a green card to start a business in the United States. 

How Can I Get a Green Card to Start a Business? – Immigrant Classification vs. Nonimmigrant Classification  

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has are more than 180 types of visas options, divided into two categories – immigrant visas and nonimmigrant visas. As its name suggests, an immigrant visa is issued to eligible foreign individuals who want to live permanently in the United States. 

Conversely, a nonimmigrant visa is issued to foreign individuals eligible to enter the country temporarily to engage only in specific activities, such as tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work, or study. 

How Can I Get a Green Card to Start a US Business? – Feasible Options for Foreign Entrepreneurs  

E-2 Treaty Investor Visa  

The E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that permits nationals of treaty countries to be admitted to the United States upon investing a “substantial” amount of capital in a US business. The USCIS defines a treaty country as a country: 

  • With which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation 
  • With which the United States maintains a qualifying international agreement, or  
  • Which has been deemed a qualifying country by legislation 

Under specific circumstances, employees of E-2 visa holders or a qualifying organization may also be eligible to apply for the same status. In addition to the nationality requirement, USCIS provides that E-2 applicants must: 

  • “Have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States, and 
  • Be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise” 

Please note that there is no fixed threshold to define the term “substantial.” USCIS provides that the amount invested must be substantial to “the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one.” 

Even though E-2 visa holders may live in the United States indefinitely by renewing their status, this visa type is not a green card and does not provide a direct path to US citizenship. 

EB-5 Investor Immigrant Visa  

In 1990, US Congress created the EB-5 Program to stimulate the American economy by incentivizing job creation and boosting the influx of foreign capital investments.  

Under the control of USCIS, foreign investors are eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence (green card) in the United States if they invest the minimum required amount in a US commercial enterprise while planning to create or preserve ten permanent full-time jobs for qualified US workers. 

Also referred to as the “million-dollar green card,” the EB-5 investor visa has several benefits. Under EB-5 status, successful applicants can bring a spouse and unmarried children under 21 to live and work legally in the United States. 

Additionally, the EB-5 visa provides a direct path to US citizenship. Currently, the required standard minimum investment amount is $1 million. If the applicant decides to invest in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), the minimum investment amount is $500,000.  

When compared to the E-2 visa, the EB-5 program has several benefits. Still, despite the nonimmigrant status, many foreign entrepreneurs rather apply for E-2 status to the stricter requirements associated with the EB-5 program. 

Do You Want to Obtain a US Investor Green Card? – Contact Attorney Romy B. Jurado Today 

It is quite difficult to identify the right visa option without expert legal guidance. Get in touch with attorney Romy B. Jurado by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] to schedule a consultation.