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

GlobalEIR-logo-black-and-blue-1

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.

Continue reading

The Grady Firm Speaks USC Gould Law School LLM Students

DSC02599

Jennifer Grady and Andrea Graef

On April 11, 2017, business and immigration attorneys, Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Andrea Graef, JD, LLM, spoke to a group of foreign lawyers who are earning a Masters in Law (LLM degree) from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law in downtown Los Angeles, California.

As a licensed attorney from Mexico and a alumna of the program, Ms. Graef spoke to the students about her experience transitioning from student to attorney, and how proper planning is essential to obtaining a job and work visa upon graduation.  one of the more popular strategies for recent LLM graduates is to use the one year available of Optional Practical Training (OPT), and apply for an H-1B visa during that time to take advantage of the cap-gap extension.

Ms. Grady explained the various visa options in detail, including the Specialty Occupation H-1B visa, J-1 Trainee visa, and TN visa for professionals from Mexico and Canada, and the E-2 Investor Visa for new and existing US businesses and L-1A option for executives, managers, and entrepreneurs opening an office of an existing foreign business in the United States. Continue reading

Can’t Afford a Green Card Just Yet? How to Obtain Permanent Residency by Transitioning From the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa to EB-5

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

American Visa (XL)The E-2 treaty investor visa can be a great way for a foreign entrepreneur to open a business and live and work in the United States legally. What’s more, it is relatively affordable in that it only requires a “substantial” capital investment in a bona fide U.S. enterprise (usually in the amount of $100,000 to $250,000). The investor must be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise. This is established by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position or other corporate device.

The E-2 visa allows the status holder from a treaty country, and his or her family, to come to the United States to open and operate a personal business; the spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 are able to attend school and work as dependents of the visa. Unfortunately, however, the E-2 treaty investor status does not offer a direct path to Permanent Residence. This means that unless the status holder, or the status holder’s immediate family, has a separate path to Permanent Residence, the visa holder and family will not be able to obtain Permanent Residence status, regardless of how long they maintain their E-2 status. This is further complicated by the fact that the E-2 status is temporary and must be regularly renewed with no guarantee of success.

Furthermore, because the E-2 visa is only available to member of treaty countries, it is not available to everyone. For example, citizens of mainland China, India, Russia, and Brazil are ineligible for the E-2 visa. Continue reading

What’s the Difference Between the E-2 and EB-5 Investor Visas?

handshakeFor foreign investors wishing to obtain a visa to live, work, and attend university in the United States with in-state tuition rates, there are two options available through the E-2 and EB-5 investor visa programs.

The E-2 Visa requires less startup capital (around USD $100,000 to $250,000) and is the fastest way to obtain a visa, although it is not a path to Legal Permanent Residency (Green Card). The E-2 is a temporary visa based on a reciprocal commercial treaty between the United States and the individual’s country of nationality.  The visa is only available to treaty countries, for which citizens of China, India, Russia, and Brazil are not eligible.  Its processing times are generally 2 weeks to 90 days. Continue reading

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