US Business and Investment Visas

IMG advices and supports investors and entrepreneurs through the entire process to obtain permanent or temporary residency in the United States, based on investment and/or business-related activities.

There are three key visas that can be used or applied for such situations:

  • EB-5: visa granted to foreign citizens investing job-creating businesses in the USA, either directly/actively or through specially created EB-5 Projects, resulting in life-long permanent resident status (Green Card).
  • E-2: visa for entrepreneurs from about 80 countries that maintain bilateral commerce and navigation treaties with the United States, which allows for temporary residency for an indefinite period of time.
  • L-1: visa for managers and executives transferred to US companies, of their own or owned by third parties, which allows for temporary residency and later the possibility of permanent residency status (Green Card).

We develop viable Business Plans that do not just comply with the immigration requirements, but which enable the real continuity and sustainability of the business, ensuring the preservation of the investments and the immigration status.

IMG’s focus will always be on the quality and viability of the target business as the key objective, consequently resulting in the qualification and approvability of the visa petition, as well as the conditions for future successful renewal.

Exclusive focus on the visa as the main objective, having the business or investment as just a means to achieve it, will inevitably result in unsustainable situations, with significant loss of time and money.

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EB-5 Visa
E-2 Visa
L-1 Visa
EB-5 Visa

Created by the US government in 1990 to attract investment and especially to generate jobs, the EB-5 Visa and later the EB-5 Visa Program have become a huge success, with the growing participation of dozens of thousands of individuals and families from around the world. The USA makes available 10,000 EB-5 Visas per year, which have been completely taken every year since 2014.

Unlike most of the other visas granted by the United States, the EB-5 Visa is an immigration visa, which allows its holders and their families to directly obtain the permanent residency in the United States (Green Card).

The concept of investment in which the EB-5 Program is based comes from the US capitalist culture, in the sense of long-term commitment of resources (financial or not), with the intention of generating wealth. It does not have a speculative character and does not assume the immigrant "investor" is necessarily an entrepreneur, a business manager or even a professional investor.

The EB-5 Visa can be obtained by any person, regardless of his/her profession, education, experience, age, investment knowledge, fluency in English, etc. EB-5 Program participants are defined as "investors" because they meet the requirement to commit long-term resources with the intention of generating jobs and economic development. There is no need have prior investor or entrepreneur experience, and the vast majority of the Program participants do not.

Requirements:

  • The investor must invest in a new commercial enterprise, which means any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business including, but not limited to:
    • A sole proprietorship
    • Partnership (whether limited or general)
    • Holding company, and wholly owned subsidiaries
    • Joint venture
    • Corporation
    • Business trust, or
    • Other entity, which may be publicly or privately owned.

This definition does not include noncommercial activity such as owning and operating a personal residence.

  • The invested new commercial enterprise must create at least 10 qualify​ing​ full-time jobs, for at least 2 years, which will be counted:
    • Only considering direct employer-employee relationships, in case of direct/active qualifying investments.
    • Including indirect and induced jobs, in case of qualifying investments made through or under the sponsorship of a Regional Center.
  • The capital must remain invested until the above requirements are satisfied, demonstrated and formally accepted by the USCIS, which may take several years (about 5 years as of Nov/17).
  • The minimum investment as of Nov/17 is US$ 500,000, if made in a Targeted Employment Area, or US$ 1 million if otherwise.

The investor must demonstrate the lawful source and path of the funds prior to the investment.

Advantages and Benefits:

  • The EB-5 Visa leads directly and automatically to the life-long permanent residency in the USA (Green Card), with access to all public, social and fiscal programs, including housing and education.
  • The visa benefits the investor’s spouse and children under 21 years-old at the time of application
  • There are no requirements in terms of any specific education, prior experience, knowledge or even fluency in English.
  • There are no requirements or restrictions for work, study, retirement, etc.
  • The investor does not have to have the majority of the capital, direct control or management of the invested business.
  • In case of passive investments, the investor may live anywhere in the USA
  • The investment may be made in cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property and cash equivalents.
  • The source of the capital may include inheritance, donations, spouse’s resources and indebtedness secured by assets owned by the investor, provided that he/she is personally and primarily liable (example: a promissory note).

IMG Services

The IMGroup has a dedicated and specialized EB-5 division, EB5 GREEN CARD CAPITAL, which helps investors and developers to take full advantage of the EB-5 Program.

For investors, IMG provides advice and complete support through the entire process, from the understanding of the profile and expectations of potential EB-5 Visa candidates, to the careful selection of the best investment alternatives, to the preparation and filing of each application.

We support our clients from the initial investigation and learning about the EB-5 Program, through the end, when their permanent resident status is secured, in a long cycle that may last up to 5 years.

This process includes several steps and critical decision points, which IMG anticipates and facilitates for our clients:

  • Clarification about the EB-5 Program, processes and alternatives available to the investors.
  • Evaluation of the particular situation, needs and expectations of each case.
  • Definition of the individual investment strategy and priorities.
  • Research, analysis and indication of the investment alternatives.
  • Referral and coordination with lawyers and other specialized professional.
  • Support in the demonstration of lawful source and path of funds.
  • Support in the organization of the necessary documents and preparation of petitions.

For developers, IMG provides consulting services from the conception to the development and implementation of projects, for single or multi-investor structures, involving a large network of specialists and regional centers covering virtually the entire US territory.

IMG offers all the necessary support for companies, entrepreneurs and investors to develop and implement their business plans with access to the EB-5 capital, in compliance with all the rules and requirements of the EB-5 Program, particularly in regard to the effective creation of jobs

We aim for the highest level of security and peace of mind for the investors, without compromising the projects’ viability and profitability.

We seek to identify solutions for the particular needs and characteristics of each project, in order to maximize their differentials, attractiveness and value proposition for investors.

From the simple conception of a business idea, through the detailed analysis and structuring of the project, to the constitution of a specific Investment Fund to finance it, IMG can offer the necessary services to go through the whole process quickly and safely:

  • Project Design and Structuring.
  • Development of Business Plans.
  • Development and execution of Direct Projects.
  • Development and execution of Projects via Regional Center.
  • Development and implementation of new Regional Centers.

Structuring, implementation and administration of Investment Funds

E-2 Visa

The E-2 Visa allows citizens of countries with which the United States shares a bilateral treaty of commerce and navigation) to stay in the USA when there is an investment of ͞substantial͟ capital and active involvement in a pre-existing business, new business or a franchise in the United States.

The entrepreneur must possess at least 50% of the shares of a bona fide (lawful, legitimate, real) business established in the US.

The E-2 program issues a temporary visa of 5 years. There is no limit to how many times the E-2 visa can be renewed.

Requirements: 

  • The entrepreneur must be a citizen of a country with which the United States maintains a bilateral treaty of commerce and navigation.
  • The entrepreneur must have invested, or be actively involved in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide company in the United States.
  • The entrepreneur must be seeking entry to the United States solely to develop and manage the company being invested. This can be established by showing a minimum of 50% ownership of the company or possession of operational control through a managerial position or via another arrangement.

Advantages and Benefits:

  • There is no definition of minimum investment, although obviously it will depend on the needs of the target business, and the expected outcome, which should be enough over time to sustain the entrepreneur and his/her family.
  • No need for previous experience in management, in the target business, in entrepreneurship, or pre-existence of a business of any nature in the country of origin.
  • The entrepreneur’s spouse can work under an E2 dependent visa, for any employer or independently.
  • Children under 21 can attend the school of choice. Thereafter, they must have their own permanent or temporary residency status, like the international student visa (F-1).
  • Free travel in and out of the USA.
  • Indefinite permanence, in two-year increments, for as long as the business concern is sustained, which may evolve and change over time.
  • The processing time is relatively fast, between 3 and 4 months, and allows for premium processing of 15 days, for a fee
  • The application is submitted locally at the consulate of the country of origin. No USCIS petition required.

IMG services

IMG advices E-2 Visa candidates in all aspects and stages of the process, in compliance with the requirements:

  • Assessment of the candidate’s possibilities and alternatives
  • Definition of the business and immigration strategies.
  • Search, diligence and support in the acquisition of an existing business (franchised or not)
  • Conception and development of a new business (franchised or not)
  • Business planning
  • Business implementation
  • Engagement and coordination of immigration lawyer
  • Preparation and submission of petition

IMG’s focus will always be on the quality and viability of the target business or investment as the key objective, consequently resulting in the qualification and approvability of the visa petition, as well as the conditions for successful renewal.

Exclusive focus on the visa as the main objective, having the business as just a means to achieve it, will inevitably result in unsustainable situations, with significant loss of time and money.

L-1 Visa

The L-1 Visa is a non-immigrant work visa that allows the relocation of certain employees or partners of a foreign company to a subsidiary, branch-office or affiliate company in the United States, for a period of up to seven years.

The employee or partner must have worked for the foreign company for at least one continuous year within the previous three years prior to admission in the US. The professional must have worked in an executive or managerial capacity (L-1A), or must prove to have specialized knowledge (L-1B).

It is up to the company based in the USA to file the petition with the USCIS (US Citizenship & Immigration Services) for an L-1 Visa to transfer a professional from its overseas subsidiary, branch-office or from an affiliate company. The visa will generally be approved for an initial period of 3 years, if the US petitioning company has been in business for more than one year, or otherwise for a period of only 1 year, in case of startups.

The L-1 Visa can be used by companies of any size and nature, but requires that the role performed by the transferred professional be relevant and compatible with the business dimensions and requirements. It is an important resource for large multinationals transferring executives and managers between their operations, as well as for smaller companies willing to expand their business and relocating key people to the United States.

The definition of Affiliate or Affiliation in the context of the L-1 Visa makes it a very flexible alternative for many cases. There are several possibilities for establishing a qualifying relationship between the US and the foreign entities:

  • Direct capital ties, as in the case of subsidiaries or branch-offices.
  • Trade of goods or services between them.
  • Common shareholding structures (same partners and percentages).

Requirements:

  • The US petitioning company must have a qualified relationship with the foreign company.
  • The petitioner must currently be, or will be, conducting business in the United States and at least one other country. It is not a requirement for the business to operate in international trade.
  • The L-1 beneficiary (the transferred professional) must have worked in an executive or managerial capacity without direct supervision from others.
  • The L-1 beneficiary must be assigned and perform an executive or managerial position in the US company, that is higher than first level operational supervision, and compensated accordingly.
  • In case of installation of a new business, company or office in the United States, there has to be a coherent business plan demonstrating that there will be enough investment, activity, jobs and relevance to justify the relocation of the professional.
  • Proof that the foreign company will not suffer from the absence of the executive or manager.

Advantages and benefits:

  • The L-1 visa is considered a dual purpose visa, which grants a direct path to the permanent residency (Green Card) under certain conditions.
  • The processing time is relatively fast, between 2 to 3 months, and allows for premium processing of 15 days, for a fee.
  • No specific education requirement.
  • The spouse and children can work under an L-2 dependent visa, for any employer or independently.
  • Children under 21 can attend the school of choice. Thereafter, they must have their own permanent or temporary residency status, like the international student visa (F-1).
  • L-1 blanket petitions allow employers to file a single petition for multiple employees. For larger companies that need to get many employees over to the US with short notice, the blanket petition is an invaluable resource.
  • No need for long, complex and expensive Labor Condition Application (LCA), as opposed to several other work visas.
  • Free travel in and out of the USA.
  • There is no definition of minimum investment in the case of a new business, company or office in the U.S., although obviously it will depend on the needs of the target business, which should be enough to support the relocated professional and the rest of the staff.

IMG services

IMG advices and supports L-1 Visa candidates and employers in all aspects and stages of the process, in compliance with the visa requirements:

  • Assessment of the candidate’s and the employer’s alternatives.
  • Definition of the business and the immigration strategies.
  • Search, diligence and acquisition of an existing business (franchised or not).
  • Conception and development of a new business (franchised or not).
  • Business planning.
  • Business implementation.
  • Engagement and coordination of immigration lawyer.
  • Preparation and submission of petition.

IMG’s focus will always be on the quality and viability of the target business as the key objective, consequently resulting in the qualification and approvability of the visa petition, as well as the conditions for successful renewal.

Exclusive focus on the visa as the main objective, having the business as just a means to achieve it, will inevitably result in unsustainable situations, with significant loss of time and money.

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