Investor visas are designed to make it easier for foreign nationals to invest in the economy of the United States. The purpose of this type of visa is to remove obstacles from such investments while protecting U.S. interests. 

In order to qualify as an immigrant investor, also known as an immigrant entrepreneur, a foreign national must invest, without borrowing, the following minimum U.S. currency dollar amounts in a commercial enterprise qualified by the U.S. government: either $1,000,000, or $500,000 in a high-unemployment or rural area. The thinking behind requiring less investment in a targeted employment region is that such areas are in greater need of industrial development so investments there should be incentivized.

A qualifying investment only grants the investor visa status if he or she manages to create 10 full-time jobs within 2 years for U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, or other immigrants authorized to work in the U.S. These newly created jobs cannot include the investor or the investor’s immediate family (spouse or children). 

Types of Investor Visas

There are four basic types of investor visas.These include:

  • C5 Employment creation outside a targeted area
  • T5 Employment creation in a targeted rural/high unemployment area
  • R5 Investor Pilot Program in a non-targeted area
  • I5  Investor Pilot Program in a targeted area

Steps Involved in the Process

To be considered for an investor visa, applicants must file the necessary petition and forms, obtain required civil documents, undergo medical exams, and pay the appropriate fees. It is always desirable to have a qualified immigration and nationality attorney at your side to make certain that all steps are taken using proper methods in order to hasten the process and minimize the possibility of your petition being rejected. Acceptable civil documents include passports, a birth and marriage certificate (with translations if necessary), evidence of pertinent vaccinations and identifiable official photographs.
Bringing Your Family Along 

Once your petition is approved, your spouse and minor unmarried children younger than 21 may also apply for immigrant visas with you. They will have to go through all of the same steps as you did in order to be eligible for their visas. It should be noted that same-sex spouses of U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents, along with their minor children, now have exactly the same immigration privileges as opposite-sex spouses and their children.

Possible Restrictions to Obtaining an Investor Visa 

During your immigrant visa interview, you must be able to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to support yourself (and, if applicable, your family) while in the U.S. and that you will not require public assistance. You and your family must also all pass medical examinations.
There are numerical limitations to the number of immigrant investor visas issued in individual categories. Though the visas are granted in the chronological order in which petitions have been filed, some categories may be oversubscribed, so some petitioners may have to wait for several years for their priority dates to be reached.

In attempting to obtain an investor visa, it is crucial to have cutting-edge business immigration attorneys assist you in moving the process along. You should be aware that there are activities that may make you ineligible for a visa, including drug trafficking, submitting fraudulent documents, and overstaying a previous visa. In some few limited cases, it may be possible to obtain a waiver of the ineligibility, a process with which a knowledgeable immigration and nationality lawyer can assist you.