There are several different types of Visas for foreigners who wish to set up a business in the U.S. as a means to eventually obtain their permanent residency or green card. Visas B-1 & E-2.
B-1 Business or E-2 Investors Visas have been created by USCIS for non-immigrant nationals from countries with which the United States has a Commercial Treaty and who come to the U.S. to invest money either in a new business or as a partner in an existing business.
B-1 Business Visas
A foreign national who applies for the B-1 Visa can stay in the U.S. for up to 6 months period permitted and can travel to and from the U.S. in order to investigate and explore setting up a new business or office. The requirements are that they can prove to have sufficient funds to cover their expenses while in the U.S. and that they do not receive income from any source in this country.
These Visas must be requested from their home country to the Department of State through their local U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Generally this procedure can take between 2-4 weeks. Once they are in the U.S. under the B non-immigrant status, they can apply for an extension with USCIS.
E-2 Investor Visas
This Visa is designed for non-immigrants who intend to invest substantial capital and create a new business for profit or purchase a pre-existing business in the U.S. Substantial capital can be demonstrated by providing documentation to back this statement and can depend on the type of business intended. It is not the same if the new enterprise requires a lot of expensive equipment and large set up expense and installation as if it is a simpler lower overhead investment.
Among the requirements established by USCIS is that this at-risk capital must be deposited into a U.S. financial institution and prove that these funds are used for the business. This information can be demonstrated with the business bank statements, materials or equipment purchased to start up the business, lease agreements and payroll summaries for employees.
It is recommended that a detailed business plan be prepared by a local marketing agency, to develop the brand, corporate image and online marketing, demonstrating the feasibility of the business.
Even though the E-2 Visa can be applied for without the assistance of other professionals, by filling out all the forms, together with the supporting documentation and proof of at-risk investment, it is highly recommended to speak with an experienced and skilled immigration attorney, authorized to practice immigration law in Dallas.
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