- The EB-1A Extraordinary Ability can be applied for by people who are leaders in the field of business, education, science, arts or athletics.
- Established entrepreneurs, as well as entrepreneurs new to their field, may be eligible for the EB-1C Multinational Manager/Executive program.
- The EB-2 National Interest Waiver program can be applied for by people who can prove that their work in the USA will have a significant impact on the economy.
The EB 5 visa program is the best-known program for entrepreneurs but there is more than one way for entrepreneurs to migrate to the USA. These alternatives do not involve risky investments and usually have no Green Card quota backlogs. Read on to find out more.
Many of America’s most successful companies were established by immigrants. Thus it’s fair to say that while some people migrate here in search of better job prospects, others migrate to America to set up entrepreneurial ventures.
For entrepreneurs dreaming of migrating to the USA, the EB -5 visa program is the most popular route. However, this visa has its own pros and cons. What few people realize is that this is not the only route for investors looking to migrate to the USA. There are three other routes you may take when migrating to the USA as an investor. But first, let’s take a look at the EB5 visa program.
The EB5 Visa Program
This program allows investors, their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 years to apply for a Green Card in America. To be eligible for this visa program the investor must fulfil two main criteria:
- An investment of $ 500,000 must be made in a company located in a targeted employment area or $ 1,000,000 in a company located anywhere else in America
- The company must provide full-time employment for at least 10 American citizens
Investments in the EB5 visa program can be made directly or through a regional centre. In case of investments made through the latter route, the jobs can be created directly or indirectly.
This program gives the applicant and his dependents a Green card that is valid for two years. Before this Green Card validity expires the applicant must prove that enough jobs have been created to meet the program requirements. His status may then be adjusted to a permanent Green Card holder. In some cases, the immigrant visa quota backlog can lead to a delay of several years in adjusting status from temporary Green card to permanent green card.
Alternatives to the EB 5 Visa program
Alternative ways for entrepreneurs to apply for permanent residency in the USA include the EB-1A Extraordinary Ability visa program the EB-2 National Interest Waiver program, and EB-1C Multinational Manager/Executive visa program.
These visa programs are quite underutilized and hence can help avoid delays resulted from quota backlogs. These visa programs do not need a financial investment to be made and provide immediate permanent residency status.
1. EB-1A Extraordinary Ability
This visa program has no quote backlog and hence is ideal for entrepreneurs from countries like India and China. In addition, an EB-1A petition is also eligible for premium processing. This means that the applicant will receive a decision from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on their petition within 15 days of filing it.
The applicant and his dependents can file for permanent residency immediately after their petition is approved.
To be eligible for this visa the applicant must be able to prove that he is a leader in the field of business, education, science, arts or athletics. This can be demonstrated by an internationally recognized award or by meeting three of the below criteria:
- Receipt of an award of slightly lesser national or international recognition
- Membership of a prestigious organization of association in their field
- Significant contribution or original work in their field
- High salary
- Display of work in a show or exhibition
- Published achievements in major trade publications
- Media success based on box office receipts, entertainment sales etc. in the case of performing arts
- Counted worthy of assessing the works of others
With this documentation, the applicant may file a self-petition on the I-140 form and submit the I-145 application. The applicant does not need to have a permanent job offer in the USA. As soon as the I-140 is approved, the applicant can adjust status as a permanent Green card holder. Through the normal route, this can take up to 6 months.
In case the applicant is outside the USA, an interview will have to be scheduled with the US consulate and the DS-260 form will have to be filled out. Each EB-1A case is different may be processed at different speeds.
2. EB-1C Multinational Manager/Executive
This visa program is also usually exempt from quota backlogs. It is a good option for entrepreneurs who are new to their field and entrepreneurs who want to develop an existing foreign business venture or buy an existing commercial establishment in the USA.
To be eligible for this program, the applicant must have been employed abroad for at least 1 year as a manager or executive and must be moving to the USA in the capacity of a manager or executive for the same employer or an affiliate of the employer.
It is possible for an individual to move to the USA on an L-1A work visa, set up a new office and a year later apply for permanent residency through the EB-1C program. If an existing US-based company is being bought over by the applicant, the applicant can apply for an EB-1C visa straight away.
To apply for this visa program the applicant must have an offer for permanent, full-time employment. In the case of entrepreneurs, this offer may be made by the applicant’s company. The I-140 petition usually takes 6 months to be processed. Premium processing is not available. Once the I-140 is processed, it can take a further 6 months to process the I-485.
3. EB-2 National Interest Waiver
Like the EB-1A visa, there is usually no quota backlog in this visa program. It is often recommended for entrepreneurs who want to set up establishments that will have a significant economic impact on the USA. To be eligible for this visa, the applicant must be able to prove that their presence in the USA will benefit the country. For this, they must meet at least three of the below criteria:
- They must have a degree, diploma or certificate related to their area of exceptional ability
- Proof of a minimum of 10 years work experience
- License to practice in the USA
- Evidence of having commanded a salary for services that demonstrate exceptional ability
- Membership of a prestigious organization of association in their field
- Recognition of contributions to the industry and achievements by peers, professional organizations or government entities
It usually takes the USCIS 3 to 9 months to process an EB-2 NIW petition. Once the petition is approved, the applicant may file for an adjustment in residency status.
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