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Looking to Start a Business in the US? Here’s What You Need to Know About Work Visas

The United States is the largest single economy on Earth. In fact, the economy of the State of California, home to Hollywood and Silicon Valley, is the sixth largest in the world by GDP. The United States is also home to many of the world’s most recognizable and iconic brands. Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Apple, and many more are all American exports which have resonated with different people and cultures around the world. It is no surprise then that every year, entrepreneurs from around the world seek to make America their home.

One of the great strengths of the United States is that it has historically welcomed immigration, particularly from those who are seeking their fortunes in the land of opportunity. Before you pack up your bags and set sail however, you will need to apply for the correct type of immigration visas. The one you need will vary depending on your individual circumstances. In this article, we take a look at the four most common Visas available to investors, entrepreneurs, and business owners, whether you plan on emigrating permanently or are planning a long visit.

Specialty Occupations (H-1B)

The USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) maintains a list of what it considers to be specialty occupations, which you can find here. The H-1B visa is a non-immigration visa for individuals working in a relevant field. In order to qualify for one of these, the beneficiary (the foreign national coming to the States for work) will have to hold a bachelor’s degree, and their petitioner (the US company they will be working for) can employ the beneficiary for a period of up to six years.

In the cases of individuals who are looking to start a business in one of these fields, they will be both beneficiary and petitioner which makes the process a little trickier, but still doable.

Immigrant Investor Visa (EB-5)

This is the option that most would advise going for if you have access to a large amount of capital, colloquially it is known as ‘the million-dollar green card’. With this visa, you and your family will receive green cards immediately, however it is expensive to apply for (requiring $1,000,000 or more in capital) and EB-5 law is very complex. You should speak to an EB 5 Attorney, such as Hirson Immigration if you intend on pursuing this route.

L-1 Visa

An L-1 visa is used by companies who wish to transfer a management level employee from a foreign subsidiary to the United States. It also allows a company intending to open a US office to send an executive or manager to the states to do so. In order to be eligible for an L-1 visa, the employer in question must have an appropriate, qualifying relationship with a foreign company, and currently be, or will be in the near future, doing business in the United States and one other country directly.

Emigrating to a new country is always going to involve a degree of red tape and paperwork, that much is unavoidable. In order to make the whole process as smooth as possible you should do as much research as you can beforehand.

Writer and news enthusiast. Enjoy the simple things in life. A coffee on a Sunday morning listening to your favorite tracks. Take the time to love the world around you and enjoy life! Then work on something that you're passionate about.

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