I often get asked for advice as to how can a foreign national or foreign citizen startup a company in the U.S. The following are 3 visa options for immigrant entrepreneurs:
1. The L1 visa – This is is a temporary, non-immigrant, intra-company transfer visa that permits the starting up of a business in the U.S. To be eligible for this visa, among other things, the visa applicant must have worked as an executive, manager or specialized knowledge employee for a foreign company for at least one year out of the last three years and the new U.S. company must have a qualifying relationship to the foreign company. To learn more about using the L1 visa for startups, please click here.
2. The E visa – This is also a temporary, non-immigrant work visa. The E visa includes the E1 treaty trader visa and the E2 treaty investor visa, but only individuals who are citizens of treaty countries are eligible to apply for the E visa. India is not a treaty country, but Japan, and many South American and EU countries are treaty countries. To see the list of treaty countries, please click here.
3. The EB5 visa category – This is an immigrant visa category that permits the starting up of a new company in the U.S. The EB5 visa grants a conditional green card to immigrants entering the U.S to invest in a new commercial enterprise. However, the EB5 visa applicant must invest $1 million in the new commercial enterprise or $500,000 if investing in a targeted employment area. Additionally, the new enterprise must benefit the U.S. economy and create at least 10 full-time jobs.
The Startup Visa Act could one day be an option for starting up a company in the U.S., but it is not an option as of now. It has not been passed into law, and it appears unlikely that it will pass into law in the near future. The Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are currently struggling to find Republicans who will co-sponsor the bill. For more information on the Startup Visa Act, please click here. To receive updates on the Startup Visa Act (and other immigration issues), please click here to follow us on Twitter.
Please do not hesitate to contact The Alagiri Immigration Law Firm about how to startup a company in the U.S. or with any other immigration questions. We are happy to assist you with your immigration matter.