Individuals in Texas and other parts of the country who understand immigration regulations know that the U.S. visa system can become a problem for an entrepreneur to enter. There are several visa programs that may fit the needs of these business professionals if they know where to look, however.
Immigration law includes treaties with several countries whose citizens can visit the United States without the use of a visa. Entrepreneurs who are not from one of these countries will need to take advantage of a visa program.
Entrepreneurs and investors
The visa options directly targeted at entrepreneurs and investors are the E-2 and EB-5, respectively. These visas are meant to allow foreign nationals to either start a new business in the United States or invest heavily in an American company. The difficult part for obtaining these visas is the amount the U.S. government expects the visa applicant to invest. Although the E-2 does not give a specific dollar amount, they are looking for assurances that the new business can support the visa applicant and his or her family. The EB-5, on the other hand, requires at least $900,000 of investment, or more, depending on the enterprise.
Options for business leaders, employees and Master’s program students
A B-1 visa allows immigrants to visit the United States to attend meetings, events and other functions related to business. Entrepreneurs have successfully used this visa to gain entry to America in the past, but the B-1 visa program only allows access to the country for six months or less.
Individuals with bachelor’s degrees who want to work in America should look into the H1-B visa program. This visa is made available to 65,000 immigrants per year. An additional 20,000 H1-B visas are available for foreign nationals who complete a master’s degree program in the United States. The entrepreneur will need someone to apply on their behalf. The application must describe the work to be done for a company already established in America.
The creators of the L-1 visa wanted to facilitate a smoother process for companies who need to transfer employees from an overseas location to one within the U.S. This visa allows recipients to reside in the United States for one year, but it is possible to renew it seven times. Spouses of L-1 visa holders may also apply to work in the U.S.
The O-1 visa allows foreign nationals who demonstrate exceptional ability in the arts, sports, sciences, education and other areas entry into the country. Applicants must prove that they possess status or recognition in their designated field on an international level.
U.S. visa programs in the United States have a vast set of guidelines that can become a chore to navigate. A conversation with an immigration attorney may help individuals with questions about their status or the immigration process as a whole.