US Investor Visas The Leading 5 Ways to Emigrate by Investment

Top 5 US Investor Visas

Here's a quick run-down of the visas you should be looking at if you are an investor or entrepreneur, and you want some reliable options to emigrate to the US. 

Click the links in the headings to find out more: 

5. EB-5 Direct Investment

For investors ready to put USD $1 million in play, this could be the visa you’re looking for.

You will need to (1) start or buy a business that (2) employs no fewer than 10 employees (3) over the course of two years and (4) be able to demonstrate that you have maintained your $1 million minimum investment in the process.

And, if you’re not averse to investing in a high-unemployment area, you could qualify for a reduced investment of just USD $500,000 – which of course comes with higher risk -- and is the next option on our list...

4. EB-5 Regional Center Investment

By contrast with its Direct Investment counterpart, this visa allows you to invest just USD $500,000, in a “regional center”, which puts your funds to work on your behalf.  

The program allows you to secure conditional green cards, for you and your immediate family, which allow you to live, work and study anywhere in the US, with no further requirements regarding age, education, or English language.

The centers will aim to use your funds to employ at least 10 US workers for a period of at least two years.  Once that goal is achieved, you can apply for permanent residency “green cards”.  And at the end of the five-year investment period, your funds are returned to you.

3. L-1 Inter-company transfer

If you have worked for a company with a US affiliate for at least one year in the previous three – and could perform a similar role in the US as you do at home -- an inter-company transfer could be an option for you.

The role also needs to be sufficiently specialised.  So for example, you would need to bring specialised knowledge, and likely work at the level of manager or higher.

If you can tick these boxes, and have a US employer willing to provide you the necessary visa support as your petitioning company, this could be your best bet for obtaining a green card.  

2. E-2 Treaty Investor visa

The E-2 is unequivocally the fastest way to get to work legally in the US, and all done on the basis of a US company that you establish.  

You might start with an investment of as little as USD $75,000, but E-2 visas are temporary, typically issued for 5 years.

However, they are renewable indefinitely, and E-2 visas do not result in obtaining a green card. That turn means that E-2 holders are not subject to US tax on worldwide income. 

1. EB-1 Extraordinary Achievers

Okay, we admit, the EB-1 isn't so much an investment visa, as it is a return on your career investment.

Few will be eligible for this visa, but that won’t matter at all if you are among those few.

The quick eligibility test is whether you’re famous: think JK Rowling, Andy Murray, Emma Watson,  Gordon Ramsay, etc., you get the picture.

That said, you do not necessarily need to be a household name, if you can meet the US government’s criteria for extraordinary achievement, whether in arts, sciences, business, education or athletics.

If you can meet the standard, you don’t need an employer’s backing: you can apply without a sponsor. 

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