Not only is the U.S. the world’s largest economy, but the country also has substantial benefits for business owners and entrepreneurs. For example, prospective business owners can carefully select the state that has the best infrastructure, location, tax laws, and consumer base to fit their unique needs. That way, the business has time to find its footing in the optimal startup environment. But no matter which state you pick, you will still have access to the full U.S. market– which is massive.
The United States only has a population of around 330 million (outpaced by China and India), but America is the world’s largest consumer economy. The U.S. ranks number one in household spending and accounts for about ⅓ of global household consumption. In fact, American households consume three times as much as those in any other country in the world!
And, through the free trade agreements the US maintains with 20 other countries, your company can access millions of international consumers! Moreover, the legal and regulatory systems of the U.S. are both transparent and business-friendly, making expansion fairly easy.
It’s no surprise that for the tenth year in a row, the U.S. ranked #1 on the Kearney Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Index.
But did you know, you don’t have to be an American citizen or live in the United States to start a business there? That’s right. You can start your own American company from nearly anywhere in the world, and Visa Business Plans is here to help you do it!
And if you want to operate your company in the U.S., the U.S. government offers business visas that allow foreign nationals to operate an American organization. Here are some of the most common U.S. business immigration programs that Visa Business Plans’ clients use as their ticket to the land of opportunity. Make sure to contact an immigration attorney to learn more about these programs.
E-1 Visa Program
The E-1 visa program is designed for international trade, but it’s got some fairly strict requirements. First, applicants must be from nations enlisted in the U.S. Treaty agreement. Check this list to see if you are a national of a country that qualifies. However, you can also receive an E-1 visa as an employee if the trading business entity is at least 50% owned by a national or nationals of a treaty country. And the majority of trade conducted by said business will be between that particular treaty country and the U.S.
Furthermore, the E-1 petition must prove that the trade is substantial and will increase as a result of granting the visa. Now, keep in mind that trade doesn’t necessarily means products. Services can be traded as well!
This visa is fairly straightforward and comes with great perks. For example, a spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years old) can also come to the U.S. with an E-1 visa holder. Additionally, the spouse of an E-1 visa holder is authorized to work in the U.S., and their children can attend American schools and universities without having to apply for a separate visa.
E-2 Visa Program
This one is a favorite among foreign business investors.
The E-2 visa does require an investment, but it’s judged on a relative basis. There is no set dollar amount required from foreign investors, only proof that the investment amount is substantial and irrevocably committed to the founding of the beneficiary’s business. Proving the applicant stands to lose a significant amount if denied is an essential part of an E-2 visa petition, which is why we always recommend working with an immigration attorney to ensure this is done properly.
There is one more hurdle for prospective E-2 petitioners: just like the E-1 visa, you must be a citizen of a country enlisted to the U.S. Treaty Agreement. But the E-2 also grants the same benefits for the visa holders spouse and children!
L-1 Visa Program
The L-1 visa program is intended for a specific niche: business managers, executives, and those with specialized knowledge. This is the program that companies use when sending an executive or manager to the U.S. to work for a branch, subsidiary, or an affiliate office.
There are key benefits to the L-1 visa program. As an immigrant visa, the L-1 program allows foreign nationals to apply for permanent residence. This isn’t possible on either an E-1 or E-2 visa.
An L-1 applicant can also bring their spouse and unmarried children along with them, with all the same benefits of the E-1 and E-2 visas. But the L-1 visa petition is a bit more complex and has more stringent requirements, so please make sure to contact a qualified immigration attorney.
EB-5 Visa Program
This visa program has high barriers to entry, with a minimum investment amount of US$1,050,000 (or US$800,000 in a Targeted Employment Area). If that weren’t a high enough ask, EB-5 applicants must also prove they can create or preserve at least 10 full-time, permanent jobs, and engage in the management of the new U.S. enterprise.
But the EB-5 also offers amazing benefits. For one thing, unlike the E-1 or E-2 visa programs, which require renewals and have stay limitations, the EB-5 offers permanent residency to applicants and their families.
Each U.S. business immigration program has its own complexities that require knowledge and experience to correctly navigate. But just as important as having an immigration lawyer is having a strong business plan that meets every United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) requirement. That’s where Visa Business Plans can offer our expertise.
We’ve crafted thousands of winning business plans for foreign investors using the E-1, E-2, L-1, and EB-5 visa programs, and we can help you do the same. Contact us today to get started!
Visa Business Plans is led by Marco Scanu, a certified coach from the University of Miami with a globally-based practice coaching Fortune 1000 company executives, entrepreneurs, as well as professionals in four different continents. Mr. Scanu advises clients on turnaround strategies and crisis management.
Mr. Scanu received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Cum Laude) from the University of Florida and an MBA in Management from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Mr. Scanu was also a Visiting Scholar at Michigan State University under the prestigious H. Humphrey Fellowship (Fulbright program) with a focus on Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, and high-growth enterprises.
At present, Mr. Scanu is the managing partner and CEO at Visa Business Plans, a Miami-based boutique consulting firm providing attorneys and investors with business planning services in the areas of U.S. and Canadian immigration, SBA loans, and others.