Foreign entrepreneurs have several visa options to start a business in the United States. Each situation is different, which requires the assistance of an experienced business immigration attorney to identify the best visa for each applicant. 

In this article, you will discover the most popular visa options to start a business in the United States. 

What Visa Do I Need to Start a Business in the US? – An Overview  

E-2 Treaty Investor Visa 

The E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows eligible foreign nationals from treaty countries to be admitted to the United States upon investing a “substantial” amount of capital in a US business enterprise. To qualify for E-2 status, an applicant must: 

  • Be a national of a treaty country classified with E2 status  
  • Have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide US-based enterprise, and 
  • Enter the United States exclusively focused on developing and directing the proposed E2 enterprise 

Hence, E2 applicants must show at least 50% ownership of the proposed enterprise or demonstrate operational control through a managerial position or other corporate devices. 

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not have a fixed amount to define the term “substantial.” The eligibility of an investment amount depends on the type of the proposed business.  

For example, for an applicant seeking to enter the United States to establish a consulting firm in Florida, the amount of investment can be as low as $50,000.   

Even though E2 visa holders may live indefinitely in the United States by renewing their status, please note that the E-2 is a nonimmigrant visa that does not offer a direct path to a green card. 

EB-5 Investor Visa 

Created in 1990 to stimulate the American economy by boosting job creation and attracting foreign capital investments, the EB-5 program is an excellent immigrant visa option for eligible foreign nationals.  

The USCIS permits EB-5 investors to apply for lawful permanent residence (green card) upon making the necessary investment in a US commercial enterprise to create or preserve ten permanent full-time jobs for qualified US workers. 

Considered one of the premium visas issued by USCIS, the key advantage of EB-5 status is that successful applicants (with a spouse and unmarried children under 21) can immediately receive green cards. 

Additionally, the EB-5 visa provides a direct path for US naturalization. Currently, the required standard minimum investment amount is $1,800,000 million while the minimum investment amount for investment in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) is $900,000. 

Besides the significant investment standard, applicants must handle extensive documentation and provide a detailed business plan.  

Should I Work with a Business Immigration Attorney to Start a US Business? 

Year after year, several visa applicants opt for not working with a legal counselor by justifying they need to “save money.” However, most of them eventually regret the decision. 

Even small mistakes in a visa application may lead to USCIS requests for further information, delays, or even rejections. To avoid this stressful cycle of unpleasant situations, work with an experienced business immigration attorney. 

Do You Want to Start a Business in the US as Foreigner? – Immediately Contact Attorney Romy B. Jurado 

With years of experience helping foreign entrepreneurs attain the American Dream, Attorney Romy B. Jurado is willing to help you succeed. Get in touch with us by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] to schedule a consultation.