The range of immigration visas for America is endless, with each one designed for different people in a variety of circumstances. The main types of visa that are accessible to non-US nationals include the EB-5 Investor Visa, L-1A Visa, and E-2 Visa.
Criteria for American immigration visas are strict and so it is prudent to only apply for the visa that is applicable to you and your circumstance.
The EB-5 Investor Visa is a direct route to a Green Card. If successful this visa will provide permanent residency in the US for you, your spouse and children under the age of 21. There are no restrictions of where you live or work in the US and no minimum qualifications. It also allows you to apply for US citizenship after 5 years if a conditional Green Card is issued to you.
Although the benefits of this visa are great, the requirements are substantial. In order to use this route to immigrate to the US, an investment of at least $500,000 must be made into a directed area of employment. There are ten thousand Green Cards issued by the US government annually to immigrants who can meet these financial criteria. Your investment must either support an existing troubled business in the US, or be given to a new commercial enterprise to create at least ten local jobs.
The L-1A Visa is suited to businesses or entrepreneurs that want to increase their US activity by immigrating there. It is a route for permanent residency in the future. The visa holder may also bring their spouse and children under the age of 21 through this visa. Once granted the visa is valid for a one year stay, with two years extensions available up to a maximum of seven years when it is possible to apply for a permanent Green Card.
Again the criteria are fairly strict, especially as the L-1A visa depends heavily on the state of the business. Previous experience in a managerial role within the company for at least one continuous year in the three years prior to applying for an L-1A is required. This ensures you have the experience and skills for the job. A detailed business plan covering all aspects of growth and development must be submitted, and the company needs an office space for the new headquarters. This office must be pre-arranged and available within a year of the application approval.
The E-2 Visa aims to help business owners to move to the US in order to further invest in the company. The visa holder may bring their spouse and children under the age of 21 to the US. The business must have the capacity or potential capacity to provide enough income to support all members of the family that come under the E-2 visa as well as contribute to the US economy. The initial stay is for two years, with the visa valid for as long as the company is in operation. There are no rights for permanent residency however, and so when business operations cease the holder and their family must return to their domicile country.
When applying for the E-2 visa, similarly to the L-1A visa, a detailed business plan is required. The applicant must be going into a supervisory or executive capacity in the country and have already invested, or be in the process of investing, capital into an existing US business. Additionally, only citizens from countries with which the US maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation may qualify.