Grow Your Business with These Three Business Visas
The United States offers a wide selection of Business Visas that allow foreign nationals from across the globe the opportunity to pursue investments or commercial ventures in the country. The following is a quick rundown of the top three visas for foreign investors and business owners to consider.
The E-2 Treaty Investor VisaThis visa allows foreign nationals from certain treaty countries to come and work in the U.S. for the purpose of developing or directing a commercial enterprise with their investment funds. (You can find a list of eligible countries here: www.jflawfirm.com/e-2-visa-countries). The enterprise must be a *bona fide* and *non-marginal* commercial entity, meaning it must be actively engaged in profit-making activities and produce enough income * now or in the future * to support personnel besides you and your family. The business can be already established or can be founded through the E-2 Visa, provided you present a viable business plan.
The E-2 Visa also has specific requirements as far as the nature of the investment. Any capital you use must be your own or under your control, and you will be required to demonstrate that the funds were obtained legally. The investment must bear some degree of risk, meaning there is a chance of losing at least some of the capital if the enterprise fails. Finally, the investment must be *substantial* relative to the total value of the company or based on how much of an impact it will have on the enterprise*s operations and development.
The L-1 Intracompany Transferee VisaWith the L-1 Visa, a U.S.-based employer can transfer an executive, manager, or employee with specialized knowledge from a foreign office (such an affiliate, subsidiary, branch, or joint partner) to an office in the United States. A foreign company without a U.S. office can also use the visa to send an executive or manager to the U.S. to help establish one. The L-1 Visa allows domestic firms to draw from their foreign talent pool, or foreign firms to establish a foothold in the vibrant U.S. market, so long as the U.S. office is already established and active, or in the planning stage.
Any personnel being transferred until the L-1 Visa must meet certain requirements, namely being a foreign national who has worked for the business for at least one year out of the prior three years. They must also be either a manager (defined as anyone who oversees and directs the work of other staff), executive (makes important business decisions with broad discretion), or employee with *special knowledge* (displays information or skills that are crucial to the function of the business). A blanket L-1 Visa petition is also available for those who need to transfer an entire team to open a new U.S. office.
The O-1 Extraordinary Ability or Achievement VisaIf you are a talented and accomplished individual in the fields of art, science, business, athletics, academics, cinema, or television, the O-1 Visa is your best bet to enter the U.S. Unlike the other visas, it must be applied for on your behalf by an American sponsor (usually an employer) or their agent, or your foreign employer and their U.S. agent. Your sponsor will have to fill out and file the requisite forms as well as provide documentation proving your extraordinary ability or achievement in your field.
To support this claim, you must include at least three forms of evidence, which can include, but need not be limited to, the following:
- Articles you have published in professional journals or major media outlets
- National or international acclaim for your achievements, such as an award or prize
- Proof of membership in associations in your field that require exemplary achievement for members
- Articles in major publications or professional journals about you and your work
- Evidence of major or novel contributions to your related field
- Proof of participation as a judge of other*s work in the field
- Recognition by prominent organizations or professional institutions within the field
- National or international awards, prizes, or other recognition given for accomplishment in your field
- Proof of employment in a distinguished organization in which you play a pivotal role
- Contracts showing that you command a high salary for your work
- That you have or will be performing a leading or critical role for a major organization, production, or event in your field
- Any record of your commercial or critical success