Some Basics of Business Immigration to the U.S. in 2023

The United States is a country of great opportunities, especially for business people. The country that has the strongest economy in the world inspires people to come here, build a business, and prosper.

Along with the strong pull of the American Dream, a longstanding democracy and relatively agile tax laws make this country desirable for entrepreneurs. Starting a business in the U.S. is easier than in many other places in the world.

Although starting your own business is challenging, it also comes with numerous perks. You are your own boss, which means you spend time building a business you are invested and interested in, not just a job for the sake of a salary.

There’s no question you have to be prepared to deal with various challenges coming along the way. We all saw the impact of the global pandemic after all! But, flipped on its head, that challenge could mean new possibilities, like building an entirely online startup given that we are all needing to work within a more digital economy.

Coming up with a good business idea can be hard, no question. When I speak with prospective clients, I often advise them to think of what you are knowledgeable and passionate about – that can give you a hint of where to begin. After you develop your business idea, you can take a look around, and see whether there is a demand for the kind of service or product you want to provide.

Given the global economy, you might look toward a digital marketing firm, a graphic design agency, a copywriting or content delivery business, or even as the world opens back up again, a sustainable tourism firm. 

Ok, but what are the options to set up a business in the United States? How does American immigration law treat entrepreneurs? 

There’s a simple answer to that – you don’t have to be an American citizen or even reside in the U.S. to be able to start your own company here. Several visa programs apply, and some of them lead to permanent residency. We’ll take a closer look at some business immigration programs that can help you implement and develop your business ideas in the U.S.

Е-2 Visa 

This visa program doesn’t require as much investment as some other U.S. business visas. The key is, you have to be a citizen of a country enlisted in the U.S. Treaty Agreement. There are approximately 80 Treaty Members. According to the E-2 visa requirements you need to invest $100, 000 in your U.S. business. This visa program allows your family to move to the States with you. The E-2 visa is usually granted for 5 years. 

You can learn more about the E-2 visa specifics on a living example. In this case study video, you will find the life story of a Canadian-born software engineer and a father of 4 – Michael, who used to work as an IT specialist in Canada and now is a successful businessman in Miami. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, he figured it was time to make things happen. He took a U-turn in his life and purchased a cafe in Florida. Michael then applied for an E-2 visa and moved to the U.S. with his family. 

L-1 Visa

The L-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa for Multinational Managers, Executives or people with specialized knowledge. It also allows a foreign company to expand to the U.S. The company can send an executive or a manager to the United States to establish an affiliated office. This business immigration program has certain criteria that need to be satisfied.

As an applicant you can bring your spouse and your unmarried children under 21 years to the U.S. An L-1 visa can be extended for up to seven years. 

ЕВ-5 Visa

This is the U.S. immigrant investor program and the investment amount is large: more than $1 million in your own business. Another requirement is  to create 10 permanent full-time jobs for American workers. The main benefit this visa program gives you, apart from a Green Card, is that not only you but also your immediate family (your spouse and your children under 21) can move to the U.S. with you.

As you can see, there are several options for business owners and senior executives to build their futures in the U.S. American immigration law is complex, to put it mildly, but a good immigration attorney can talk through your options and set you up for success.


AILA members interested in learning more about business immigration options may find the following useful:

Foreign National Entrepreneurs: Creative Approaches to Developing an Immigration Strategy

Immigration Options for Investors and Entrepreneurs, 4th ed.

Nonimmigrant Options for Entrepreneurs

Green Card Options for Entrepreneurs

About the Author:

Firm ShamayevLaw, P.A.
Location Aventura, Florida USA
Law School Saint Thomas School of Law
Chapters South Florida
Join Date 5/8/17
Languages Russian
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