The United States offers a wealth of opportunities for business owners and investors seeking to diversify their portfolios, expand their operations and tap into one of the world’s largest and most dynamic economies. You may be wondering, “Can I buy U.S. citizenship?” While it’s not technically that per se, investors with enough financial capital can qualify for an investment green card. The process may seem cumbersome if you don’t have the help of an experienced immigration attorney but regardless it unlocks a world of potential earnings for the right entrepreneur. In this guide, we’ll discuss the nitty gritty of applying for a USA investment visa. We make the investment immigration process efficient and quick because we understand your time is valuable. Schedule a consultation to learn more about expanding your business to the U.S.

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Comparing U.S. Investor Visa Options

There are a few different immigration avenues that may be suitable for an investor’s situation. It’s important to consider them with your immigration attorney to ensure it’s the best option for you and that you qualify. The EB-5 immigrant investor program allows foreign investors to apply for permanent residency in the United States by investing a minimum amount. Many EB-5 investments are in real estate, hospitality, manufacturing, brick-and-mortar retail establishments, franchises as well as other infrastructure projects. You may see different numbers floating around for the minimum requirement investment. In recent years, to account for inflation, USCIS has increased the minimum investments. As of May 2023, the standard minimum investment is $1.8 million (up from $1 million) while the minimum investment in a TEA is $900,000 (up from $500,000). Future adjustments will also be tied to inflation (per the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, or CPI-U) and occur every 5 years.

u.s. investor visa

The EB-5 is essentially broken down into two programs: The Basic Program, which involves the investor actively participating in the day-to-day operations of the investment, and the Regional Center Program, where you can invest your capital as a partial owner in a USCIS-approved organization. Regardless of which option you choose, the investor must make a minimum investment of $1.05 million in a U.S. business enterprise or $800,000 if the business is located in a Targeted Designated Area (TEA) approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If you are applying for an EB-5 visa, you will need to file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur.

Investing in an infrastructure, rural, or high unemployment EB-5 project can potentially qualify an applicant’s petition for priority processing, which can expedite the green card application process. Keep this in mind if you’re trying to accelerate the timeline for receiving a green card. Again, one big draw to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is that if the investor is physically present in the United States, they have the option to simultaneously apply for an adjustment of status, employment authorization, and travel document alongside their I-526 petition. This means that nonimmigrants who file their petition may be eligible to temporarily remain in the USA until they receive their green cards, which can offer a level of flexibility and convenience in the application process.

What is a Targeted Employment Area Designation?

A targeted employment area (TEA) is one that has experienced unemployment at least 150% of the national average rate (can be a rural or non-rural area). They can also include cities and towns with a population of 20,000 or more outside of metropolitan statistical areas. Be aware that USCIS will directly review and determine the designation of high-unemployment TEAs; they will no longer defer to TEA designations made by state and local governments.

EB-2 National Interest Waiver Program

Are you an investor who possesses at least a master’s or bachelor’s degree in addition to five years of progressive experience in your field of expertise and you are willing to undertake a project deemed to be in the national interest of the U.S.? If so, the EB-2 NIW green card may be your pathway!

The application for the EB-2 includes a waiver of the typical labor certification required by the Department of Labor, which confirms that no U.S. workers are ready and willing to perform the work involved. Avoiding the labor certification process saves you time right off the bat! What’s more, if you are currently residing in the United States, you have the option to apply for an adjustment of status, employment authorization, and travel document at the same time as filing the I-140 petition. This means that you can remain temporarily in the USA until you receive your green card.

EB-2 NIW Requirements

In order to be eligible for NIW, there are three general requirements. The first is that you must demonstrate that the proposed endeavor has significant merit and national importance in fields such as business, science, technology, health, culture, or education. Provide measurable proof of the intended economic impact can further strengthen your case. At the end of the day, each application will be evaluated individually.

The second requirement is that you must have the ability to advance the proposed endeavor, which will be assessed based on factors such as their education, experience, relevant skills, prior successes, current progress, and plan for success. You are not required to prove that your endeavor will succeed, but rather that you’re capable of accomplishing it.

Finally, applicants must provide evidence that waiving the job offer requirement for an EB-2 visa would be beneficial for the U.S. This means that the advantages of waiving the job offer requirement must outweigh the advantages of not waiving it.

EB-1C Green Card for Multinational Executives and Managers

If you are an investor who has been employed for at least one year by a foreign organization on a full-time basis outside of the United States within the three years preceding the petition or your most recent lawful nonimmigrant admission, you may be eligible to apply for an EB-1C green card. The U.S. organization that you will work for must have a qualifying working relationship with the foreign organization for at least one year and must be prepared to offer you an executive or managerial position.

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How Does this Differ from the L1A? 

The EB-1C visa and the L1A visa share a similar requirement that the foreign worker must come to the United States to serve as a manager or executive. However, the evaluation to qualify for an EB1C visa is more stringent. Unlike the L1A visa, the EB-1C visa cannot be self-petitioned; instead, the US employer must file the EB-1C petition on behalf of the foreign worker. In this case, the US employer acts as the petitioner, while the foreign worker is the beneficiary of the visa. Another benefit of the EB-1C is that it qualifies the foreign worker’s spouse and children for U.S. green cards.

Schedule a consultation today with our top immigration lawyers to explore your investment immigration options.

Benefits of an Investment Green Card in USA

There are a number of benefits that come along with acquiring a U.S. investment green card not only for the investor but also for the local U.S. economy and residents. When it comes to the investor, aside from generating a return on their investment financially, the green card can provide a pathway to permanent residency and eventual U.S. citizenship, as well as access to top-notch education and healthcare systems. Moreover, the program can also benefit the local economy by providing much-needed capital for job-creating projects and promoting economic growth. By investing in a qualifying enterprise, the investor is contributing to the creation of new jobs for U.S. workers, which can have a positive ripple effect on the surrounding community.

Sponsorship by a Family member

Another option, which should be discussed more at length with your attorney, is to have a family member that is a U.S. citizen or green card holder sponsor you. About two-thirds of the total green cards issued every year are obtained through family-based immigration paths. Similar to other immigrant visas, the family-based green card consists of various subcategories that are based on the type of family relationship between the visa sponsor and beneficiary. Immediate relatives are categorized as the following:

  • IR-1: Spouse of a U.S. citizen
  • IR-2: A United States citizen’s unmarried child under the age of 21
  • IR-3: An orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen
  • IR-4: An orphan to be adopted in the United States by a U.S. citizen
  • IR-5: A United States citizen’s parent who is at least 21 years of age

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Preparing a Business Plan

Putting together a business plan is at the center of any successful venture and it can also bolster your immigration case. Be sure to include your target market, service or product you’re offering and a detailed strategy to connect your desired audience with that output. If your business will have a tangible impact on a struggling U.S. community

Frequently Asked Questions

How much money is required for an investor visa in the USA?

The answer depends on what type of visa you obtain. The EB-5, for example, requires a minimum investment of $900,000. Check out this other Entrepreneur Visa for USA in 2023 for other business-oriented immigration options. Other entrepreneur visa options can range from $100,000 to $1 million+.

How long does it take to get an investor visa?

The processing time for an investor visa can vary depending on the visa type, the USCIS workload, and other factors. Typically, it can take several months to several years to receive an investor visa.

What is the 5-year rule for a green card?

The 5-year rule for a green card refers to the requirement that green card holders must maintain continuous residence in the United States for at least 5 years before being eligible to apply for naturalization.

How can you get a green card through investment?

You can get a green card through investment by applying for an EB-5 visa, which requires making a qualifying investment in a new commercial enterprise that creates or preserves at least 10 full-time jobs for US workers. Other options for obtaining a green card through investment include the E-2 visa, which requires investment in a US business, and the EB-1C visa, which requires an investment in a US company by a foreign company where the applicant has worked for at least one year.

What happens if my business fails?

Depending on your case, you may have to leave the country if your business fails since some visas have requirements like maintaining a certain number of domestic jobs.

Do I need to invest all of my own money in the business to qualify for a visa?

Not necessarily but you do need to be able to show a significant stake in the company ownership, so the funds can be a mix of outside investors and your personal funds.

What is a U.S. golden visa?

A golden visa is often called that because it allows high-net-worth individuals and investors to get citizenship in a country by making a large donation or investment, sometimes by purchasing real estate or migrating a business.

How VisaNation Law Group Attorneys Can Help

Our attorneys have years of experience handling various types of entrepreneur immigration cases and are excited to help you migrate your enterprise to the North American market. To determine the best avenue for your immigration to the U.S. it’s necessary to schedule a consultation with our team who will be able to start the process!

Tags: EB-5, O-1 Visa