Coming to the US as an Investor: Visas and Processes Available

An investor is someone who gives money or other assets in order to support a business venture. While the US has many domestic investors, the USCIS also makes it possible for investors from other countries to enter the US with special US visas. If you do not qualify for US immigration based on employment or family, you may qualify for immigration as an investor. The US encourages investors from abroad to enter the US and invest in the US economy because investors contribute jobs and economic growth to the country.

An investor from the US can apply for the E-2 visa, which is a treaty investor visa under the Canada-U.S. free trade agreement (FTA). This US visa allows a business or individual expanding investments into the US to live and work in the US for a year, although the visa can be renewed yearly for up to five years. In most cases, this type of visa requires a great deal of paperwork and also requires a fairly substantial expansion or investment in the US. Investors who wish to apply for this visa need to file Form DS-156E, and potentially other immigration forms as well.

Another option for investors is the EB-5 visa. This visa is more attractive for many investors as investors do not need to be from Canada to apply. However, the investment requirements are high. Investors need to invest $1,000,000 in a US business and hire employees in the US or invest at least $500,000 and hire a specific number of employees in a specified disadvantaged area. As well, there is a third option, which allows an investor to invest $500 000 into an area designated a Regional Center by the government. This last does not require any hiring, but obviously considerable investment amounts are necessary. In some cases, EB-5 visas can lead to US green cards. This is usually with larger investments and for investments that benefit the US. Each year, there is a cap of about 10 000 for investment visas, so in addition to the considerable amount of money necessary there is competition for these investor visas as well.

If you are considering US immigration and own a company or have considerable assets, US visas for investors may be an option. These visas usually require considerable financial paperwork in order to prove to USCIS officials that you have the assets required for investing and will be investing in approved manners.