Business Immigration

Supporting Corporations and Investors

Visa Application and Passport - Business Immigration

Ainsworth & Clancy services help corporations and investors navigate the various visa options for key personnel, such as managers, executives, and investors.

There are many visa options for employers/employees and investors that want to live and work in the United States. There are also permanent resident and non-resident options in U.S. immigration for individuals, including:

  • Professionals with university diplomas
  • Company executives and managers
  • Investors
  • Persons with extraordinary ability

Each visa varies depending on the particular visa requirements.

Below summarizes some of the most common employment and investment visas:

Non-Resident Options (work visas)

L-1: The L visa is used to transfer an employee from an affiliated company abroad (parent, affiliate, subsidiary) to a company in the United States.

Within the L-1 category, there is an option for Managers and Executives (L-1A) and non-managers or operational employees (L-1B). The L-1A can be renewed for up to 7 years, while the L-1B has a limit of 5 years.

E-1/E-2: The E visa is suitable for investors who would like to start a U.S. company to carry out international trade (export or import) or create and manage an ongoing investment in the United States.

Unlike the L-1, neither the E-1 nor the E-2 requires an affiliated company abroad. However, only persons from certain countries qualify to apply for an E visa. It is based on a specific type of treaty that the U.S. has with countries around the world. See the approved list of countries here.

H-1B: Many people with bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees apply for H-1B visas each year. By law, the number of H-1B visas allowed annually is 85,000.

The H-1B visa is a good option for individuals with training and skills. However, they do not work at an affiliated company abroad. They are either not in a position to make a substantial investment required by the E visa, or are not from a country with an E visa agreement with the United States.

TN: Some visas are based on treaties; the E visa is one example, and the T.N. visa is another. The advantages of the T.N. visa include the expediency of the petition process and a lower overall cost.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) created a visa option for Mexicans and Canadians called the T.N. visa. The TN visa for Mexicans and Canadians is limited to a list of positions posted here.

O-1: This category is for extraordinary ability individuals. Often, these individuals are artists or athletes. However, the applicant may be a person who can demonstrate exceptional ability in business, journalism, or some other relevant area of expertise.

Generally, the applicant will show his or her extraordinary ability by receiving awards, published material about the applicant in magazines or newspapers, or other similar evidence that shows the applicant is recognized in his or her area of expertise.

Permanent Resident Options (Green Card)

EB-1-A: This category is for extraordinary ability individuals. It mirrors the O-1 visa requirements but with higher scrutiny.

EB-1-C: This category of employment-based residency mirrors the L-1A visa requirements. The employee must have worked at an affiliated company abroad for a full year as a manager or executive. They must fulfill a managerial or executive position at the U.S. affiliated company.

This petition is typically used to obtain permanent U.S. residency for L-1A visa holders. But both the U.S. and affiliated companies abroad are usually developed companies with profitable operations and a strong workforce.

EB-2/3: The second and third employment-based immigrant petitions are for professionals with either a master’s degree or above (EB-2) or a bachelor’s degree (EB-3).

Generally, when petitioning in this category, the employee cannot control or be related to the company’s owners. The employer must also prove there are no available U.S. workers who can fill the position. They provide proof by submitting the job to the market to see whether qualified applicants apply for the position.

EB-5: The fifth employment-based residency preference provides permanent U.S. residency to international investors who invest in commercial enterprises in the United States.

The EB-5 petition requirements are an investment of $1,800,000 (or $900,000 if in an area of high unemployment or a rural area) that creates ten full-time American jobs within two years.

An immigrant investor in the EB-5 category need not purchase or start a new business. Instead, there are options to invest in Limited Partnerships called “Regional Centers,” where multiple EB-5 investors invest in projects that create jobs on a large scale.

The EB-5 program should not be confused with the E visa described above. The E visa does not have rigid requirements for U.S. investment and job creation yet. It provides the investor an opportunity to live and work in the U.S. if the investment is ongoing.