Published On: Wed, Sep 21st, 2016

Which Business Visa Options are best for International Clients?

Which Business Visa Options are best for International Clients?

 

By Carlo Barbieri

usa-visaIn the world of international business, every entrepreneur’s need for a visa is different. They can’t waste time trying to determine which visa is most appropriate. That decision requires an enormous amount of interaction and consultation between an advisor and client. The choice varies by type of business, industry and the personal circumstances and long-term goals of each client.

Oxford Group together with a pre-identified group of independent immigration attorneys, to which clients may be recommended, offer a “one-stop” consulting service for Visas, providing expertise with a focus on presenting accurate information within a measured time frame. Oxford’s independent immigration attorneys have a stellar track record of pointing the way to appropriate visas because they know what the USCIS (United States Citizen and Immigration Services) wants. They get the job done, making clients’ work less painful and more peaceful by offering solutions to the ever-present issue of the business plan and its importance visa case.

The USCIS administers the EB-5 program, under which entrepreneurs (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) are eligible to apply for a green card (permanent residence) if they:

  • Make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States; and
  • Plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.

This program is known as EB-5 for the name of the employment-based fifth preference visa that participants receive.

Congress created the EB-5 Program in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. In 1992, Congress created the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as the Regional Center Program. This sets aside EB-5 visas for participants who invest in commercial enterprises associated with regional centers approved by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.

All EB-5 investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise, which is or has been:

  • Established after Nov. 29, 1990, or
  • Established on or before Nov. 29, 1990, that is:
  • Purchased, and the existing business is restructured or reorganized in such a way that a new commercial enterprise results, or
  • Expanded, through the investment so that a 40% increase in the net worth or number of employees occurs

Commercial enterprise means any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business including, but not limited to:

  • A sole proprietorship
  • Partnership (whether limited or general)
  • Holding company
  • Joint venture
  • Corporation
  • Business trust or other entity, which may be publicly or privately owned

This definition includes a commercial enterprise consisting of a holding company and its wholly owned subsidiaries, provided that each such subsidiary is engaged in a for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of a lawful business.

Job Creation Requirements of the EB-5 visa are:

  • Create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years (or under certain circumstances, within a reasonable time after the two-year period) of the immigrant investor’s admission to the United States as a conditional permanent resident.
  • Create or preserve either direct or indirect jobs:
  • Direct jobs are actual identifiable jobs for qualified employees located within the commercial enterprise into which the EB-5 investor has directly invested his or her capital. A qualified employee is a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or other immigrant authorized to work in the United States.
  • Indirect jobs are those shown to have been created collaterally or as a result of capital invested in a commercial enterprise affiliated with a regional center by an EB-5 investor. A foreign investor may only use the indirect job calculation if affiliated with a regional center.

Note: Investors may only be credited with preserving jobs in a troubled business. A troubled business is an enterprise that has been in existence for at least two years and has incurred a net loss during the 12- or 24-month period prior to the priority date on the immigrant investor’s Form I-526.

Capital Investment Requirements

Capital means cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents and indebtedness secured by assets owned by the international entrepreneur who is personally and primarily liable and that the assets of the new commercial enterprise upon which the petition is based are not used to secure any of the indebtedness. Investment capital cannot be borrowed.

Required minimum investments are:

  • The minimum qualifying investment in the United States is $1 million. It also requires investment to create or preserve 10 qualifying jobs.
  • Targeted Employment Area (High Unemployment or Rural Area). The minimum qualifying investment either within a high-unemployment area or rural area in the United States is $500,000. A targeted employment area is an area that, at the time of investment, is a rural area or an area experiencing unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate.

rural area is any area outside a metropolitan statistical area (as designated by the Office of Management and Budget) or outside the boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more according to the decennial census.

Non-immigrant Business Visa Options are:

E-2 visa – Substantial investment from treaty country in U.S. business (start-up or existing), up to five years and renewable.

E-1 visa – National of a treaty country in U.S. to engage in international trade on his or her own behalf (at least 50% with home country); up to five years and renewable.

L-1 visa – Foreign business that sets up affiliate/subsidiary in U.S. and transfers senior exec/manager; maintain foreign ops and supervise senior staff in U.S. Must have worked in foreign business one of past three years.

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