DC ENTREPRENEUR VISA ATTORNEY
Visas for Entrepreneurs, Startups, Business Owners & Investors
We are dedicated to assisting you with the startup and entrepreneur work visa applications.
Schedule your consultation with our Washington, DC entrepreneur visa attorney today.
Visa Options Available to Entrepreneurs and Startups
In the United States, foreign entrepreneurs have been a prominent force behind fueling US economic growth and job creation. An entrepreneur is someone who assumes a significant amount of financial risk to turn an innovative idea into a profit-making business.
There are multiple temporary and permanent options available to promising international entrepreneurs. Each option has different criteria and requirements, and it is important to determine which option is appropriate for you. Contact our DC entrepreneur visa attorney to evaluate your qualifications.
There are various types of temporary US work visas available to foreign workers. Each is issued for a specific employment activity and for a limited time. Temporary work visas are considered non-immigrant visas and therefore do not automatically lead to a green card. On the other hand, if you are interested in immigrating to the US through your employment, then see our section on Employment based Green Cards below.
With a few exceptions, a temporary US work visa requires a job offer by a US employer who will have to file an I-129 petition with the US Citizenship and Immigration Cervices (USCIS). To apply for a US work visa, you will require an approved petition. Further, some temporary work visas require Labor Certificate from the Department of Labor.
Because you have an option of applying for a work visa abroad or changing your status to a specific US work visa status in the US, it is important to talk to a work visa attorney to ensure you are familiar with all of the applicable rules and requirements.
Multiple employment based green cards available to individuals whose long term goal is to immigrate to the United States through their employment. Employment based green cards are divided into multiple categories and subcategories. For example, an EB1 first preference is divided into EB1A, EB1B, and EB1C employment based green cards.
Generally, a US employer must make an employment offer to a foreign worker and file a petition with the USCIS on behalf of the worker.
There are two exception to this rule: The EB1 extraordinary ability and the EB2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) workers can petition for themselves because there is no requirement of a job offer or a Labor Certificate for these two categories. If you would like to learn more about the EB1 extraordinary ability green card or NIW requirements, please contact our US work visa attorney for a consultation.
Once the USCIS finds that the immigrant falls within one of the preference groups, the worker can then apply for a permanent resident status (green card). The employment based green card application can be made at a US Consulate abroad through a process called “consular processing.” If the foreign worker is already in the US and is eligible, then the worker can apply for a green card through “adjustment of status.” If you are not sure what process applies to you or how to proceed further, our US work visa lawyer can help you to determine your options.
US Work Visa Options for Startups, Entrepreneurs, and Business Owners
Startups, entrepreneurs, and business owners have various temporary and permanent US work visa options available to them.
While there is no specific class of business visas under the US immigration laws that allow foreign business owners and startups to establish and grow a business in the US, there are certain types of visas available to them. Before making any decisions, you should consider consulting with a US work visa lawyer who can provide legal guidance specific to your needs.
US Work Visa Options Available to Entrepreneurs and Startups include:
- International Entrepreneur Rule: this US work visa specific for entrepreneurs has finally taken effect. Entrepreneurs that meet the program requirements are free to apply
- E1 and E2 visas for investors and traders (*must be a citizen of a treaty country)
- H1B visa for professionals in specialty occupations. By creating an independent board of directors, your company can sponsor you for a visa
- L1 visa for foreign workers and company owners wishing to transfer to a new or existing US business
- O1 visa for extraordinary ability individuals in business and startup world. Similar to an H1B US work visa, your company can sponsor you for a visa
- EB1A extraordinary ability green card
- EB1C multinational executive green card
- National Interest Waiver (NIW) green card
- EB-5 investor green card for international entrepreneurs who are seeking to obtain permanent residence in the US based on their investment
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Your education, skills, achievements, employment goals, and type of occupation that you want to perform in the US will determine which entrepreneur work visa or employment based green card you might be eligible for.
Which Entrepreneur & Startup Visa is Right for You?
Almost any foreign national can apply for a US work visa. Depending on your short or long term goals, there are different options available to individuals seeking temporary or permanent employment in the United States. If you would like our DC entrepreneur work visa attorney to assess which visa might be appropriate for you based on your qualifications and business goals, please contact us today to schedule a consultation.
DC entrepreneur visa attorney assists with temporary work visas that encompass certain business owners, entrepreneurs, investors, and startups:
- E-1 treaty trader visa
- E-2 treaty investor visa
- H-1B specialty occupation visa, including for business owners
- L-1A intracompany transferee visa for executives or manager, including business owners
- O-1A for individuals with extraordinary abilities and achievements
Green card options for entrepreneurs seeking to obtain permanent residence in the US include:
- EB-1A extraordinary ability green card,
- EB-1C multinational executive green card,
- National Interest Waiver, more commonly referred to as NIW
A DC entrepreneur visa attorney can help you determine which employment-based immigrant visa or a temporary work visa is the best option for your immigration goals. Further, our DC entrepreneur visa attorney will assist you with collecting all necessary information and documents, we will prepare all necessary USCIS forms and submit the application to the appropriate agencies. Call our office to schedule your case evaluation with the Washington, DC entrepreneur visa attorney and get your case started today.
Why an Entrepreneur & Startup Work Visa Necessary?
Unless you are a US citizen or permanent resident, in most cases, you are required to apply for a US work visa to be authorized for employment in the US. Our DC entrepreneur visa attorney offers assistance with a variety of temporary and permanent entrepreneur and startup visa options.
The basic requirements of the E-2 Visa are:
- The applicant must be of a treaty country.
- The investment must be substantial based on the market value of the existing business or the market assessment of the capital needed to establish and launch the business.
- The enterprise must be real and operating.
- The investment must be at risk and the investor must have a controlling interest of at least 50%.
- The enterprise must be more than marginal.
Substantiality of the investment can be demonstrated by showing that the amount invested is substantial in proportion to the total value of the enterprise, or the amount invested is the normal amount necessary to establish a viable enterprise for the new business.
Certain startup companies may require less money to start a viable enterprise. For example, a tech startup may only need $100,000 to open an office, buy necessary office equipment, and have enough working capital to hire necessary personnel.
Proof of a real and operating business can include licenses and permits, incorporation documents, customer invoices, bank statements, bills, and marketing materials. For startups with a smaller investment capital evidence of employees or contractors would be an important factor is a successful E-2 visa application. Also, a strong business plan that demonstrates employment growth will be persuasive. Contact a DC entrepreneur visa attorney in Washington, DC today to discuss your case and get your E-2 visa for entrepreneurial investors process started!
H-1B visa is another temporary option for entrepreneurs and startup companies. Generally, H-1B employment must be in a “specialty occupation” that requires skills and knowledge of a person holding a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. Another H-1B requirement is an employer-employee relationship between the company and the foreign professional where the company must act as a sponsoring petitioner of the employee’s H-1B petition. So how do majority or sole owners of US startup companies overcome this requirement? Majority or sole owners of US startup companies can demonstrate a qualifying employer-employee relationship by establishing a separate board of directors that will represent company’s controlling interest over H-1B entrepreneur’s employment. An employment agreement along with periodic performance reviews conducted by the board can further strengthen the employer-employee evidence.
Another important consideration of H-1B visa is a salary requirement. Many entrepreneurs sometimes want to forgo their salary while developing the company. However, H-1B status requires a payment of a minimum salary to the H-1B employee along with the documentation of continued pay by the company.
While H-1B visa allows dual intent, meaning that you can apply for adjustment of status to permanent residence and not be restricted in your travels while you are in the valid H-1B status, the biggest downside of H-1B visa is the annual numerical limit of 65,000 visas and 20,000 additional visas for graduates of the US Master’s or higher degrees. In the last few years, the cap is reached within days. Because usually a lot more professional apply for the H-1B visas, the applicants are selected in a lottery. The H-1B visas are approved for up to 3 years, with the extension for a maximum of 6 years.
L-1 Intracompany Transferee visa allows managers, executives, and specialized knowledge employees who work for a company outside of the US to come to the US to work for an affiliated entity. It can either be an established US business or a brand new venture. Even though there has to be an employer/employee relationship, a majority or substantial stockholder can qualify for the L-1 visa. A corporation may employ and petition for its owners, even a sole owner or sole proprietor.
Contrary to popular belief, L-1 visa is not limited to executives from large multi-million dollar international companies. L-1 category can also be used by small and medium-sized business owners, executives and managers who want to come to US to start a company. The L-1 category does not require a minimum investment or a specific number of hired US employees. In fact, L-1 visa category gives one year to a foreign national to open a new office and start US business operations. At the end of the first year, the L-1 visa holder will need to demonstrate that the US business is operating and moving forward with its business strategy.
Some of the L-1 requirements: L-1 visa is valid for up to 3 years and can be extended up to the maximum of 7 years for managers and executives, and 5 years for persons with specialized knowledge. You may work only for a US company that acted as the L-1 visa sponsor. The US company must be a parent, branch, or a subsidiary, an affiliate, or a joint venture partner of the foreign company. The employee must have been employed by the foreign company for at least one year in the last 3 years. Also, the foreign company must stay in operation while you are present in the US on the L-1 visa.
O-1 visa presents numerous benefits to entrepreneurs and startup companies compared to other employment visas. While O-1 visa has high standards, entrepreneurs with significant achievements, documented experience or excellent academic credentials should consider O-1 visa as a viable option. Our DC entrepreneur visa attorney can review your resume to help you determine whether you are currently eligible for an O-1 visa or what you can do to become eligible in the next few years.
O-1 visa requires an employer-employee relationship and no self-employment is allowed. However, for entrepreneurs who own the company, this requirement can be overcome by creating a separation between the entrepreneur and the company through a board of directors or an agent.
O-1 Extraordinary ability entrepreneurs can increase their chances of obtaining an O-1 visa by writing articles that get published, give speeches and presentations, judge the work of others, among other things. If you would like to learn about the O-1 visa process or discuss your qualifications, contact our DC entrepreneur visa attorney to get your case started today.
The EB-1A extraordinary ability green card allows foreign nationals who are recognized at the top of their respective fields to obtain US permanent residency. This first preference category breaks into 3 subcategories as follows: individuals of extraordinary ability in business (as well as the sciences, arts, education, and athletics); multinational managers or executives; and outstanding professor and researchers.
EB-1C Green Cards for Multinational Managers or Executives
You must have been employed outside the United States in the 3 years preceding the petition for at least 1 year by a firm or corporation and you must be seeking to enter the United States to continue service to that firm or organization. Your employment must have been outside the United States in a managerial or executive capacity and with the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the employer. Your petitioning employer must be a U.S. employer. Your employer must have been doing business for at least 1 year, as an affiliate, a subsidiary, or as the same corporation or other legal entity that employed you abroad.
International entrepreneurs and investors may qualify for permanent residence in the US in the EB-2 category if they can show that the creation and operation of their business will produce significant benefits and is deemed to be in the national interest. The work can be in the national interest even if the business itself is limited to a particular geographic area. The visa allows to consider “potential prospective impact” of the entrepreneur’s intended work and gives great consideration to the individual’s qualifications and what he/she seeks to accomplish.
Why Should You Consider Hiring Our DC Entrepreneur Visa Attorney?
Our DC entrepreneur visa attorney can help you determine what type of entrepreneur or startup visa your may qualify for. Further, our DC entrepreneur visa attorney will assist you with collecting all necessary information and documents, will prepare all necessary forms and submit the application to the appropriate agencies.
Furthermore, our Washington, DC entrepreneur visa attorney is dedicated to assisting professionals, entrepreneurs, startups, and company owners with their visa needs from all 50 states and worldwide.
Our knowledgeable and dedicated DC entrepreneur visa attorney offers a wide variety of employment visa services. We understand that application process can be stressful and complicated. Our job is to provide you with guidance and representation during this complicated process.
Call or email our office to schedule your case evaluation with the startup visa lawyer in Washington DC and get your business visa application process started today.
“We are a nation of immigrants. We are the children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the ones who wanted a better life, the driven ones, the ones who woke up at night hearing that voice telling them that life in that place called America could be better.”
HOW CAN WE HELP?
The Law Offices of Victoria V Kuzmina provide US Immigration services to clients in 50 states and worldwide. If you need help or have questions about an immigration matter, please contact us by phone or email to set up a consultation with our Washington, DC entrepreneur visa attorney.