Trumps Immigration Reform: Your Business May Have an Unwanted Guest

Investor Visas are popular ways for foreigners to buy or start US business inside the United States while hiring US workers to support such business.   

The most investor visa most common are E-1 treaty visas. E-2 visa and EB5 visas.

E-1 Treaty Traders

An E-1 Treaty Traders Visa gives reciprocal benefits to nationals of other countries specifically for trading purposes.  If you are looking to get into the U.S. for trading purposes, the attorneys at Chiumento Law, PLLC can help.  The E-1 visa is only appropriate for nationals of a country that has a “treaty of commerce and navigation” with that country.  Listed below is a full set of requirements for (E-1) Treaty Traders

To qualify for an E-1 Treaty Traders visa you should meet the following criteria:

  • The requisite treaty exits
  • The individual and /or business possesses the nationality of the treaty country
  • The activities constitute trade
  • The trade is substantial
  • The trade is principally between the United States and the treaty county:  The applicant, if an employee, is destined to an executive/supervisory position or possesses skills essential to the firm’s operations in the United States and
  • The applicant intends to depart the United States when the E-1 status terminates.

E-2 Investor Visas

To qualify for an E-2 investor visa you must meet the following requirements:

  • Treaty of commerce of friendly nation status exists with the United States
  • Applicant possess the nationality of the treaty country
  • Applicant has invested or is actively in the process of investing
  • Investment focus is a real and operating commercial enterprise
  • Investment is substantial
  • Investment is more than a marginal one solely to earn a living
  • Applicant is in a position to develop and direct the enterprise

The EB-5 program

This program started in 1990, there are currently two ways for foreign investors to obtain such a visa:

  1. Direct investment in a new or existing commercial enterprise that creates jobs, or
  2. Investing capital through a “Regional Center”, a government-approved firm that actively manages investor funds and the immigration approval process

Investing capital through a Regional Center provides several major benefits to immigrants seeking U.S. residency through the EB-5 program. One of the most important advantages is the ability to count both direct and indirect jobs. Under the Direct Investment Program, only direct jobs are eligible to meet the job creation criteria. Direct job creation is a result of an investment which has created and sustained ten new actual identifiable jobs over a two-year period. Under the Regional Center program, however, investors can satisfy the job requirement by also showing the indirect job creation from pooled funds of all investors in the project. These jobs can be created collaterally or as a result of the capital invested in a commercial enterprise affiliated with a Regional Center. In other words, the investor does not need to show that he or she directly hired any employees and the burden of proving job creation is passed onto the Regional Center. Our team demonstrates the jobs created as a result of the project – both direct and indirect – through economic analyses performed by our world-class economists.

Other investor want more control over their investment opting to simply purchase existing business such a motel or Hotels that meet the minimum employee quota of 10 employees that are US citizens or Legal permanent residents.

Regardless of which option an investor chooses, the minimum investment amounts are the same. Each EB-5 Visa applicant must invest a minimum of $1,000,000 in a job-creating venture. If the business receiving capital is located in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) – defined as a rural area or a region with high unemployment – the minimum investment amount is reduced to $500,000. All of EB5 Capital’s investment opportunities are located in TEAs.

Whether you invest in an L-1, E-2 or EB-5, one needs to expect a visitor from the government on a regular basis.

So called “site visits” are going to become a norm under the Trump Administration. These site visits consist of checking the number of employees that work for the company as well as whether each company is meeting standards set forth by the industry. This practice is just beginning, but feedback from business owners seem to indicate that this is not a friendly encounter.

If the government has noticed your business for an inspection, please call Chiumento Law, PLLC, P.L for advice or even representation during this arduous process!


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