Everything You Need to Know About Business Visas

Important Update: On July 23rd, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued sweeping new changes to the EB-5 Program. These changes included an increase in the minimum investment amount.

We recommend reading our newest post for a full discussion of the changes.

Most visitors to the United States are destined for theme parks, bit cities, or to visit family. Such visits usually only require a simple only application be filed before flying to the U.S. for the visitor to receive their visa.

However, for those who wish to travel to the U.S. to do business, they are required to obtain a business visa first.

There are several types of business visas available, and it is important to understand which one you might qualify for, so you can expedite the process by only applying for the right visa.

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa is one of the most illustrious visas for entry into the U.S. The purpose of the EB-5 Program is to encourage foreign investors to inject capital into a particular area of the U.S., in order to stimulate the economy.

Applicants must be able to invest $1 million into a commercial project that creates or preserves 10 full-time jobs for American workers. These jobs must be permanent and cannot be temporary positions.

We have several resources regarding the EB-5 Program, including our EB-5 articles series and our EB-5 Resource Center. You can also find more information at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.

H-2B Visa for Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers

The H-2B visa is for those individuals who want to work in the U.S. on a temporary basis in a non-agricultural position. This visa is ideal for hospitality workers who want to work in a hotel, them park, or cruise ship for a season. Some of the other jobs available to H-2B visa holders include ski resorts, golf courses, security, restaurants, retail stores, ticket sales, and construction workers.

In order to apply for this visa, you must have a job offer from a U.S. employer for a temporary or seasonal job. You must also meet the minimum qualifications for the job and the visa. Your employers will then file for the visa with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The maximum length for these visas is one year. However, the visa may be extended to three years in exceptional circumstances.

For more information see our articles on the H-2B visa and the USCIS website.

L-1A Visa for Executives or Mangers

The L-1A visa is a non-immigrant visa for foreign executives and managers who wish to transfer to a sister office in the U.S. for their company.

In order for your employer to qualify for this visa, they must have a relationship with a foreign company, whether through a branch, subsidiary, or parent company. It must also be doing business in the U.S. as an employer.

As an employee, you must have been working for the employer abroad for at least a year. You must also be a manager or executive at one of the company’s international branches.

For more information see our articles on the L-1A visa and the USCIS website.

E-1 and E-2 Visas for Treaty Traders and Investors

There are two different types of E visas: the E-1 visa for treaty traders and the E-2 visa for treaty investors. People who come to the U.S. on an E visa must be citizens of countries that are involved in treaties of navigation or commerce with the U.S. The kind of visa that you apply for will depend on the country you come from.

To apply for one of these visas, you must be traveling to the U.S. in order to participate in trade or other qualifying activities between the U.S. and your home country. Otherwise, you must be actively involved in the development of operations of an enterprise that you are a major investor in.

For more information see our articles on E visas and the USCIS website here and here.

Which visa is for you?

As you can see, the business visas offered by the United States vary in nature. Before you begin applying for any visa to enter the U.S., make sure you do plenty of research to ensure you meet the qualifications and have all the documents you need to complete a successful application.

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Disclaimer: Nothing in relation to the enclosed information should be construed and or considered as legal advice for any individual, entity, case, or situation. The following information is prepared for advertisement use only. The information is intended ONLY to be general and should not be relied upon for any specific situation. For legal advice on your specific situation, we encourage you to consult an attorney experienced in the area of Immigration Law.