Visa Options for Entrepreneurs and Recent Grads: H-1B Visa through Global Entrepreneur in Residence and J-1 Visa for International Student Entrepreneurs through University Exchange Programs

In the absence of an official “startup visa”, and in lieu of the International Entrepreneur Parole Rule, which has now been postponed until March 2018, organizations and programs exist that help entrepreneurs from around the world establish their businesses in the U.S.  These programs are generally geared towards assisting international students who have developed a technology or innovation with launching a start-up in the U.S. that creates high-paying jobs.

H-1B Visa through the Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program

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Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence (Global EIR) is an organization that helps international entrepreneurs gain access to visas to come to the U.S. to build their businesses and create local jobs by partnering with universities.  A university will sponsor a foreign-born entrepreneur for a H-1B visa (which is not subject to the H-1B visa lottery and quota) to work on campus to provide mentoring to students, review business proposals, or teach classes.  This is a tremendous benefit, as an H-1B applicant had a one in four chance of making it through the lottery in 2017 before the application could be reviewed by USCIS on its merits. While working for the university, the entrepreneur continues to build his or her business in the U.S.  After 6-18 months, this option could lead to an O-1 visa and Green Card.

The Global EIR currently has a presence in 13 colleges and universities across four states, including the following schools: University of Alaska, Anchorage; Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage; Babson College, Boston; University of Massachusetts, Boston; University of Colorado, Boulder; University of Missouri, St. Louis; and San Jose State University.

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The E-2 “Entrepreneur Investor” Visa Provides a Path for Small Business Owners to Live and Work in the US

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

Dolla billFor foreign investors wishing to obtain a visa to live and work legally in the United States, there are two options available through the E-2 and EB-5 investor visa programs.  The E-2 Visa requires less startup capital (around $100,000), and is the fastest way to obtain a visa, although it is not a path to Legal Permanent Residency (Green Card).  The EB-5 Visa requires an initial investment of USD $500,000 to $1 million, and comes with Legal Permanent Residency (Green Card), and ultimately, US citizenship.  This article will discuss the details of the E-2 “Entrepreneur Investor Visa.”                     Continue reading

Don’t Have a Million Dollars to Invest? The E-2 Visa Provides an Affordable Investment-Based Option to Obtain a U.S. Visa

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Anthony Mance, Esq.

Image For foreign investors wishing to come to the United States, there are several options, depending on the amount of the investment and the investor’s desired amount of involvement in a U.S. business. The most well-known option, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program (aka “Million Dollar Visa”), allows foreign investors to obtain Permanent Resident status in the United States by investing between $500,000 and $1 million in a U.S. enterprise.

While this program provides a relatively straightforward route to immigration, the high monetary requirements and corresponding investment risk make it inaccessible to many foreign entrepreneurs. Fortunately, for citizens of a select group of countries, there is an alternative that is both more affordable and less complex. Continue reading