Foreign entrepreneurs have done a lot for the American economy. According to Forbes, more than a third of Fortune 500 companies have an immigrant entrepreneur connection. Instead of “stealing” jobs from American workers, foreign entrepreneurs work to create jobs – a highly desirable characteristic.
If you are a foreign entrepreneur you can capitalize on several options when seeking a fast track pathway to visa status in the U.S. The entrepreneur visa may even allow permanent immigration, depending on your situation and the path you select.
There are two categories of entrepreneur visa to consider: Nonimmigrant and Immigrant. Both allow options for foreign entrepreneurs seeking to build businesses here. The nonimmigrant visas allow you to start a U.S.-based business, while the immigrant visas can allow you to stay in the U.S. permanently if you are getting ready to start or have successfully launched a business.
Some of your options include:
Nonimmigrant Entrepreneur Visa
B-1 Business Visitor
If you’re coming to the U.S. as a visitor working on a business, then this visa may interest you. It allows you to buy office space, seek funding, negotiate contracts, or other business-related functions in the U.S. This entrepreneur visa usually lasts six months, with extensions possible.
H-1B Specialty Occupation
If you have a bachelor’s degree or higher in a field that is directly tied to your business, such as engineering, or computer programming, this entrepreneur visa may work well. This visa allows up to a three-year stay with extensions available in three-year increments. Generally, you can expect these visas to allow an average of six years.
L-1 Intracompany Transferee
If you are an executive, or worker with specialized knowledge working in a company that expands to the U.S., you may qualify for this visa. However, your foreign employer must transfer you to a similar role in this country. This visa lasts up to three years. Five to seven year extensions are possible, depending upon your job.
Immigrant Entrepreneur Visa
EB-2 Advanced Degree Professional
If you have a U.S. master’s degree or foreign equivalent related to your business, or if you have a U.S. bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent with five years experience working in your field, you may seek this entrepreneur visa.
Fast Tracking the Entrepreneur Visa
President Barrack Obama led efforts to streamline immigration via a series of presidential directives in 2014. The administration sought to encourage foreign start up companies in August 2016 when the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced efforts to streamline the entrepreneur visa process by allowing temporary permission to be in the U.S. to start a business under a process known as “parole.” It is expected that this rule will still go into effect this year, although this option may be rescinded under the new administration.
To find out your options related to the entrepreneur visa, or to stay up to date on any changes to U.S. immigration policy as they occur, contact Katz Law Office, Ltd. for a free 30-minute consultation.