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Attorney Ili J. Subhan

Attorney Ili J. Subhan

Recipient of the Best Immigration Lawyer Award 2018-2020

Today you are going to learn about the 5 amazing entrepreneur visas USA for entrepreneurs, startups, and investors to start a business in the USA. Let's get started.



5 Amazing Entrepreneur Visas USA - Secret Bonus Option

Today you are going to learn about the 5 amazing entrepreneur visas USA for entrepreneurs, startups, and investors to start a business in the USA. Discover a secret bonus option at the end of this article. Now get ready to become an entrepreneur in the U.S. and live the American Dream! Let’s get started.

Entrepreneur Visas USA - Success Stories

Now immigrant entrepreneurs founded over 51% of the USA’s billion dollar startups.

And, all of these businesses started as a startup company.

Do you know which companies were founded by at least one immigrant founder?

Companies such as Google, Tesla Motors, LinkedIn, Facebook, Uber, Stripe, eBay, Kohl’s, Yahoo!, BIG LOTS!, Nordstrom’s, Capital One, Du Pont, TJX Companies, Inc., Goldman Sachs, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Comcast, AT&T, Apple, Cloudflare, and many others were all founded by at least one immigrant entrepreneur.

Immigrant entrepreneurs also start or own more than 60% of gas stations, 58% of dry cleaning services, 53% of grocery stores, 45% of nail salons, 38% of restaurants, and 32% of both jewelry and clothing stores in the USA.

Now whether big or small, these businesses all have two things in common:

  1. that they create jobs in the USA and 
  2. they help contribute to economic growth and development.

President Trump stated in January of 2019, that “we want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S….”

Entrepreneurs, startups, and investors have a pathway to start a business in the USA through the 5 amazing entrepreneur visa options that I am going to share with you. 

Learn more about your entrepreneur visas USA options, BOOK A CALL NOW


Option 1: B1 Business Visitor Visa

The first entrepreneur visa option is the B1 Business Visitor Visa.

On a B1 visa, you can enter the U.S. for up to 6 months at a time. This visa is a good opportunity for you to setup a new business or explore your idea more, negotiate contracts, discuss raising capital, find office space, engage in networking, attend a conference or accelerator program, etc.

On a B1 visa, you cannot receive compensation from a U.S. based source for services rendered in the U.S. You are permitted to receive an allowance or reimbursement for expenses incidental to your stay. For example, you may be able to use monies received from an accelerator program to reimburse your expenses.


Option 2: H-1B Temporary Specialty Occupation Visa

The second option for entrepreneurs is the H-1B visa. It requires that you have at least a bachelor’s degree in a specialized field.

Also, this visa is employer specific, meaning that you can only work for the sponsoring employer.

The way this entrepreneur visa works is that you would form a business entity in the U.S., typically a limited liability company also known as an LLC.

The LLC would then sponsor you to work for it in a specialty occupation position.

And, you must show an employer-employee relationship between the LLC and you, the employee.

This means that you as the owner and employee must show that the company has the ability to hire, fire, pay, supervise or otherwise control your employment.

To prove a valid employer-employee relationship, you have several options:

  1. You can maintain a separate and independent Board of Directors with the authority to control your employment.
  2. You may present evidence of preferred shareholders or preferred membership unit interests, investors, etc. and establish their right to control your employment.
  3. You can show that the LLC has a separate manager with the authority and control over your employment under the operating agreement.

The other thing to consider if applying for an H-1B visa as an entrepreneur is that you must have at least a bachelor’s degree or the foreign equivalent in a specific field of study and the specialty occupation that you are going to fill must require your degree.

Also, H-1B visas have a certain season in which they can be filed and the availability window is only open for a short period of time; generally, between January 1-March 31.

The H-1B visa can be granted for up to 3 years and can be renewed for an additional 3 years. 


Option 3: L-1 Executive, Manager, or Specialized Worker Visa

The third option for entrepreneurs is the L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa.

The L-1 visa permits a U.S. employer to transfer an executive, manager, or a specialized knowledge worker from a foreign branch, affiliate, subsidiary, or parent company to its office in the U.S.

The L-1 is divided into two categories:

  1. L-1A visa is for executives or managers and
  2. L-1B visa is for specialized knowledge workers.

As an entrepreneur, generally, the L-1A is the most applicable category.

You must have a business abroad that has been doing business for at least one year and you must have worked for the business in an executive or managerial capacity continuously for at least one year out of the past 3 years.

The visa works best for entrepreneurs who already have an existing business abroad and you want to run a whollyowned subsidiary or affiliate new business in the United States.

Under an L-1A, you can come to the U.S. to open a “new office”. This type of petition is called an L-1A new office petition and is granted for 1 year.

Before applying, you must incorporate or organize the U.S. business, secure office space, and have a detailed business plan with 5 years of financial projections showing that the intended U.S. office will support an executive or managerial position within 1 year of approval of the petition.

To show that the U.S. office will support an executive or manager within 1 year, you must show that you will hire employees, fulfill contract orders, and generate sufficient revenue.

The maximum time permitted under an L-1A is 7 years. An L-1A visa also has a pathway to a green card also known as legal permanent residency.

Option 4: E-2 Treaty Trader Investor Visa

The fourth entrepreneur visa option to immigrate to the USA is the E-2 Treaty Trader Investor Visa also known as the E-2 visa or investor visa. 

The E-2 visa, permits you to start or purchase an existing business in the U.s. and then work for that business.

To apply for an E-2 visa, you must meet at least 4 criteria:

  1. You must be from a country that has a treaty of cmmerce with the U.S.,
  2. You must invest a substantial amount of capital,
  3. You must have at least 50% ownership in the business, and
  4. You must generate more than a marginal income. This means that you must generate enough income to make a significant economic contribution within the U.S. economy and provide a suffiient living for you and your family.

Also, your investment must be at-risk, meaning that there is a possibility that you could partially or fully lose your investment.

The source of funds or your investment is an important part of the E-2 visa application.

The investment funds must be proven to belong to you and must be considered substantial when compared to the total startup costs and must be actively used by the business.

The three important parts of an E-2 visa application are:

  1. source of funds,
  2. the amount invested, and 
  3. how the capital will be used.

Working with a professional business plan writer is a good idea to ensure that the elements are well-researched and well-presented in a comprehensive business plan in order to give your application the best chance of approval.

An E-2 visa can be approved up to 5 years at a time and can be renewed indefinitely. Please note that once you enter the U.S., the maximum time on E-2 status is 2 years, but your visa may be good for 5 years. In this case, you will need to leave the country and return ever 2 years.

Learn more about the entrepreneur visas USA options for you, BOOK A CALL NOW


Option 5: O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa

The fifth entrepreneur visa is the O-1 visa.

The O-1 visa permits you to immigrate to the U.S. if you possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or if you have a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and you have been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.

Basically, an O-1 visa is for you, if you can demonstrate that you are a highly skilled, trained, experienced, or gifted individual in your particular field.

Generally, you should meet at least 3 out of 10 of the following criteria to qualify for an O-1 visa:

  1. You received a national or international award in your field,
  2. You are a member in an organization based on outstanding achievements,
  3. You published material in a professional or major publication,
  4. You have made scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in your field,
  5. You have authored scholarly articles in professional journals or major media,
  6. You are paid a high salary, commission, or wage based on your accomplishments,
  7. You judge the work of others in the same field,
  8. You have been employed in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation,
  9. Your work is being showcased,
  10. You have commercial successes.

For entrepreneurs, you may substitute similar evidence. For example, winning an accelerator program, receiving funding from well-known angel investors or venture capital firms, receiving press in well-known publications, etc.

Similar to the H-1B visa, an employer-employee relationship must be shown.

An O-1 visa can be granted for up to 3 years and can be renewed indefinite

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Secret Bonus Option: Global EIR Program

Now, here is a bonus option.

You can apply for the Global Entrepreneur in Residence Program at select universities.

Under the Global EIR Program, a university sponsors you as an H-1B employee.

Because universities are not subject to the 85,000 visa cap on H-1B visas for bachelor’s and master’s degrees, universities can hire H-1 employees all year round with no cap.

You would commit to teach classes and meet with students. In addition, you are allowed to continue work on your startup with the resources of the university at your disposal. 

If you can get accepted in the Global EIR program, this is a great option.

Because there are limited opportunities for the Global EIR program you will also want to have a backup plan that includes one of the other entrepreneur visas USA options.