The American Dream includes being your own boss. Immigrants from countries around the world want to come to the United States to become an entrepreneur. If you’re thinking of joining the immigrant business owners who have made a difference in this country, you’ll need to work with your embassy and the state department to understand visa requirements for businesses. Here are some tips for immigrant business owners.

Know Your Visa Options

L-1A/B visas let businesses transfer employees of their foreign business to the United States to start a branch here. The employer files Form I-129 to start the process. Once that is approved, the employee has another form to fill out to get approved. It takes time.

The E-2 Visa is for people who want to start a business in the United States. Not every country is eligible for this visa. Applicants can only stay for two years, then must reapply. An E-2 visa must demonstrate that the business has the capital to operate. E-2 visa holders cannot earn residency status but can change their visa status as the business grows.

The EB-5 Visa allows wealthy immigrants to invest in American jobs and get residency status for doing so. The minimum investment is $500K (USD), but in city settings, the investment is $1,000,000 (USD). Funds can be invested in existing businesses or new ones. At least 10 jobs must be created. Applicants must show that the money came from legitimate sources.

There are some concerns that the immigrant entrepreneur program may get tougher over time. It might be beneficial to talk to an immigration lawyer to guide you through the process.

Your Business Will Need to Submit a Business Plan

Whether you’re on an L1, E-2, or EB-5 visa, your business will need to have a business plan and supporting documents that demonstrate the economic benefit, investment level and need for workers. 

Commercial Capital Partners has financing options for immigrant business owners. Contact us for more information.