Some investors may be wary of the long waiting period of EB-5 projects. Indeed, there is little way to expedite it. However, that does not mean you cannot enter the U.S. before you finally get your Green Card. So long as you can obtain a proper valid visa, you may enter and stay in the U.S. while you are waiting for your Green Card. In fact, there are several ways you can enjoy living in the U.S. before obtaining an EB-5 Green Card.
One way to enter the U.S. earlier is to apply for an F-1 Visa to study in the U.S. The United States is famous for its high-quality education and world-class institutes and universities. Why not study for a degree while you are waiting for your investment to generate benefits?
If you have a valid, unexpired F-1 Visa, you may be able to come to the U.S. to study before you get your Green Card through EB-5 investment. It may be that you will not only end up being a U.S. permanent resident but also gain an advanced degree.
One caveat is that you should obtain an F-1 Visa before you apply for the EB-5 Investment Immigration Visa. If you apply for an EB-5 Visa first, you are not likely to be approved for an F-1 Visa later.
You may study and live in the U.S. with a valid F-1 Visa as long as your course of study continues. Your spouse and dependent children under the age of 21 may also live with you in the U.S. with F-2 Dependent Visas.
Even if your F-1 Visa should expire while you are in the U.S., you may remain in the U.S. as long as you have valid, unexpired Form I-20 from your school. You may stay in the U.S. as long as you continue to study in your initial program or study in another program at the same or a different university. If you have left the U.S. after studying on an F-1 Visa and are seeking a re-entry, you will need to renew your F-1 Visa.
Some people do not realize that they can work under an F-1 Visa. An F-1 Visa student may be authorized to work in certain circumstances with proper documents.
During your first academic year, you may be work on campus and in specified training programs. After your first year, you have the opportunity to work off-campus through programs created especially for international students. Please contact a qualified Immigration Attorney for assistance in developing a plan that is appropriate for you.
If you are not interested in pursuing an academic program, an L-1 Visa may better suit your situation. The L-1 Visas are for intracompany transfer of employees to the U.S. If you have been working on your career, your employer may be able to transfer you to an office in the U.S. through the L-1 Visa program.
There are 2 types of L-1 Visas:
- L-1A for executives or managers, and
- L-1B for employees with specialized knowledge.
To qualify, you must you have worked for at least one continuous year for a foreign company outside of the U.S. which has a qualifying relationship with a U.S. company. A qualified relationship includes a parent company, branch, subsidiary, or an affiliate. Your skill sets and your position with the company will determine whether L-1A or L-1B Visa is best for you. Please discuss this with your Immigration Attorney for expert advice.
As an L-1 Visa holder, your spouse may also be able to enter, reside, and work in the U.S. Your dependent children will be allowed to attend school in the U.S.
A disadvantage of the L-1 Visas is that they have only a one- or three-year initial period of stay and a limited number of renewals. L-1A Visas are renewable for up to seven years. L-1B Visas are renewable for up to five years. This length may or may not be enough for you to get your Green Card.
The E-2 Visa is another popular option for business persons. Like the L-1 Visas, your spouse and dependent children may also stay and work or study in the U.S. with you. Unlike the L-1 Visas, there is no existing foreign company requirement and no limit on visa renewals. Theoretically, you may stay in the U.S. indefinitely under an E-2 Visa.
E-2 Visas are available only to citizens of nations that have entered into specific trade treaties with the U.S. However, citizens of non-treaty countries may obtain citizenship in a treaty country and then file the application. Experienced Immigration Attorneys are able to help clients navigate this course of action rather easily.
You may also marry a citizen of a treaty country and ask your spouse to apply for an E-2 Visa. If your spouse’s visa is approved, you can come and work in the U.S. as an E-2 dependent.
Special Insider Tip: Invest in your own business.
EB-5 projects are not limited to becoming an investor in U.S. businesses. Investors may open their own new business inside the U.S., as long as the investment meets the requirements of the EB-5 Visa program. This option is particularly beneficial for investors who wish to have some control over the risks associated with their investment.
EB-5 investment path is full of challenges and, in many cases, there are no better solutions. However, expert Immigration Attorneys can help investors avoid unexpected problems and unnecessary losses.
Disclaimer: The article contains general information and does not include legal advice on a particular case.
Eddie Zou, Paralegal, ACS Law Offices, Inc.