Sunday, December 2, 2018

Best U.S. Visas for Business & Investment

This blog post lists some of the easier to obtain temporary U.S. visas related to business, employment and investment. There are dozens of temporary employment visas and five categories of permanent employment visas in the U.S.. Temporary (“non-immigrant”) ones are easier to obtain because permanent visas are granted to individuals with exceptional, critical skills; industries with worker shortages and for investors of U.S.$500,00 or more in jobs creating work for at least 10 full time U.S. employees. If you are curious about working in the U.S. but don’t meet the high requirements for a permanent visa, then this post could be for you.

BUSINESS, B-1.  This is one of the easiest visas to obtain and you don't need a lawyer to fill out a form. B-1 does not allow you to work in the U.S. However, it allows you to consult with business partners, attend professional or business conventions/conferences, negotiate contracts or settle an estate.

INTERCOMPANY TRANSFER, L-1 visas can be an option if you work for a firm with offices in both the United States and abroad. L-1 permits such foreign employees to relocate to the company's US office after having worked abroad for the company for at least one continuous year within the previous three prior to admission in the US. The US and foreign companies must be related in one of four ways: parent and subsidiary; branch and headquarters; sister companies owned by a mutual parent; or "affiliates" owned by the same or people in approximately the same percentages.

Spouses of L-1 visa holders are allowed to work without restriction in the US (using an L-2 visa) once EAD is granted, and the L-1 visa may legally be used as a stepping stone to a green card under the doctrine of dual intent.

SPECIALTY OCCUPATION, H-1B. For workers with a bachelor's degree or the equivalent of work experience in a “specialty occupation” that requires the application of specialized knowledge in fields such as IT, finance, accounting, architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, medicine, etc. Some NURSES can qualify for an H-1B if they hold a four-year degree and fulfill a specialized nursing role, such as cardiology, critical care nurses and emergency room. Unlike with the other non-immigrant visas in this article, an H-1B applicant can intend to immigrate to the U.S. at some time in the future, get a green card and, eventually, a U.S. citizenship.

TREATY TRADER (E-1) & INVESTOR (E-2). These visas are available if you own, start up, invest substantial sums in, or must direct an enterprise which carries on “substantial trade” principally between the United States and the treaty country (e.g. Philippines).  For example, you own a company in which more than 50% of foreign sales are to the U.S.. Domestic sales do not count, which makes it easier.  For an E-1, the applicant “must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possess highly specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the firm.  Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify.”For an E-2, the investment must be a real operating enterprise.  Speculative or idle investment does not qualify.  There is no fixed amount which is considered "substantial" but normally a minimum investment of U.S.$100,000 - U.S.$150,000 will be required.

GENERAL INFO. All of the above visas except H-1B and L-1 require you to show that you have significant ties with your home country and every intention to return before the visa expires. Some of the factors that will weigh in your favor are:
- You have been employed at your current high-paying job for a long period of time.
- You have no relatives or bf/gf in the U.S. Your family is in your home country.
- You are not very young.
- You have legally traveled to/from the U.S., other Western countries.
- You own real estate outside the U.S.
- You can demonstrate financial independence regardless of your sponsor.

It’s not necessary to have any of those factors and you can still get rejected even with all of them seemingly in your favor. You cannot appeal the refusal but you can reapply.

Disclaimer: nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. No guarantee that the information is 100% correct or applicable to your particular situation. For general educational purposes only.