The United States of America (USA) is still the land of opportunity for many people in the world. It inhabits one of the most diverse populations in the world. People come from all over the world to get a chance to live in the USA. The employment opportunities in the USA are one of the highest in the world for the ones who want to work here.
The level of freedom enjoyed by people in the USA makes it one of the most open and tolerant societies in the world. The right to freedom of speech in the USA is also very high as compared to other countries where any opinion clashing with the authorities is shunned and vilified. In comparison, freedom of speech is highly valued as one of the key rights that should be provided to all the individuals in the USA.
This, along with other ideals, makes the USA a great country to immigrate and make it your new home. But, of course, nothing in the world is free, especially access to such a great life. So, the question arises; how much money is required for an investor visa in the USA? The answer to this is not very simple but we will try to elaborate on it here.
The first thing to know is that there are multiple routes to getting immigration in the USA but today we will discuss only those concerning investors. The following are some ways in which you can try to get on the path of immigration.
E-2 Work Visa
Some experts tout this as the fastest way to enter the USA for work purposes. For this type of visa, you basically need to invest in a company that already exists or establish a new business and hire yourself as an employee of that business. This arrangement is possible if your country has an investment treaty with the USA which might make you eligible to apply for an E-2 work visa.
This arrangement allows you to be the sponsor as well as the employee who is an immigrant. In other words, you are sponsoring yourself through a company that you own in the USA. But how much money is required for an investor visa in the USA if you are applying for an E-2 work visa? Well, the amount varies but generally $100,000-$200,000 is enough, depending on the nature of your investment. The higher the amount, the higher the chances of successfully getting the E-2 work visa.
You might be wondering how this amount varies. So basically, if you are acquiring an established business then you are only permitted to finance a certain proportion of the investment from outside while the rest has to be invested by you from your own money.
In case you purchase a business for a relatively small amount like $200,000, you might only be allowed to finance 25%-30% of that purchase price from loans or external sources. The rest has to come from your own money. But if this number is significantly higher like $1,000,000 then you are allowed to finance up to 50% of the purchase price. So the investment amount isn’t necessarily fixed but depends on the transaction you are executing.
However, this is only in the case when you are investing in an existing business. Things vary considerably when you invest in a new business that you own. Unlike the previous case where you only had to deposit the investment amount in an account, here you will have to invest a lot of money in setting up premises, furniture, and depositing money in an account for working capital. The bigger issue is that you will have to incur these costs before applying for the E-2 work visa. So in case, the application is rejected, this is a very risky proposition. Hence setting up your own business to get an E-2 work visa might actually be a very time-consuming and a lengthy process in comparison to if you invest in an existing business.
EB-1 Extraordinary Immigrants
This visa is for people who can claim to have extraordinary talent or command in their field. Think of extraordinary individuals who are the best at what they do and can claim to be called the best in the world. For example, you are a genius in your field, like molecular science, bio-ethics, Physics or Mathematics. These types of people can apply for the EB-1 Extraordinary Immigrant visa.
But academic geniuses are not the only people that this category aims to cater to. You can be extraordinary in any field like music, business, cooking, sports, acting, and so on. If you are acclaimed to have extraordinary talent then you will be eligible to apply for this visa. Movie stars and celebrities are another group that can avail this visa.
An advantage of this type of visa is that you don’t need an employer to sponsor you. This is a great relief for people who are always worried about finding sponsors so that they can stay in the country legally. Also, it’s a win-win situation for the USA because it allows it to retain extraordinary talent that is adding value to the economy of the country.
The availability of this type of visa also means that you don’t have to incur a huge cost for the visa. Since you don’t need a sponsor, you don’t need to invest any large amount of money to apply for this visa.
The only drawback of this visa is that it requires you to establish that you actually have extraordinary talent. Now, of course, everyone is obviously not an extraordinaire. There are only a few people in this category by definition. So, if you are not the best in your field, then you cannot apply for a visa under this category.
Corporate Transfer Employee
This is another way to obtain a visa to work in the USA. Under this method, employees who have been transferred by their company or affiliated company to work in the USA are eligible to apply for a green card.
This is usually applicable to managers who are in an executive or managerial position or have extremely specialized knowledge of something. This makes their company send them to the USA because local individuals would not be able to execute the role as successfully as they can. Think of engineers who have developed a product and only they have the expertise to train others to build this product.
However, there are a few criteria that the person has to meet in order to apply for this visa. Firstly, they must have worked in this company for at least one year in the last three years. So, if they have only recently joined the company then they are not eligible to apply for this type of visa. But if they have recently rejoined the company and they have worked for one or more than one year in the last three years then they are eligible according to the rules.
Secondly, the role they have been assigned to fulfill in the USA must be similar to the role they were executing back in their home country. If the role is completely different to what they were performing back home then they might not be eligible for a USA visa under this category.
A drawback of this type of visa is that it takes almost 18 months to process the visa application. This could be a long wait for someone who is seeking certainty about their future.
But how much money is required for an investor visa in the USA for this type of visa? Well, this visa may not cost the applicant anything as their company would be sponsoring them. So this might be a very cost-effective way for someone to immigrate to the USA.
It’s safe to say that this type of visa is the most expensive route to enter the USA. But this has its advantages as we will discuss ahead. First, you should know that there are various ways of attaining this type of visa. We will discuss the details and cost of each of them below.
• Investment via Regional Centers
Regional centers are federally approved third-party intermediaries that help bridge the gap between developers who are in need of funding and investors who want to apply for an EB-5 Visa. This is a popular route to attaining the EB-5 Visa because the cost is comparatively lower when compared to other investment options.
Most people opt for this option because it requires one to invest only $500,000 or $900,000 after 21 November 2019. This increase of investment requirement from $500,000 to $900,000 can be attributed to the new changes to in the investor visa program which has adjusted these amounts for inflation from when they were initially set.
You have to invest the amount for at least 5 years in the regional center. After 18 months you will be given a conditional green card that will allow you and your family to enter the USA. You will be allowed to live, study, and work freely in the USA.
Another condition for being eligible for this program is that your money should be invested somewhere that is not risk-free. This means you cannot invest in bonds or just deposit your money in the bank. You have to invest in a business that has some risk threshold. When you invest in a regional center, the risk is pretty low and so is the return. You are not directly involved in the utilization of the funds and you are treated as a passive investor.
Another requirement for being eligible is that wherever you invest, it should create 10 full-time jobs for Americans for 2 years. Once these requirements are fulfilled, you can apply for permanent residence on the green cards.
Your money is returned to you after 5 years. The return you gained on this investment usually ranges around 1-2% because the risk was lower. But this is the safest way to obtain an E-5 visa.
- Direct Investment
Through this method, you can directly invest the money yourself and open your own business. Again, the question is, “How much money is required for an investor visa in the USA through this method?”
The amount threshold can go up in this option to $1 million or $1.8 million after November 21, 2019. This is not a passive investment as you will be in complete control of how the money is used.
The requirement of employing at least 10 full-time workers for two years applies here as well except now you are directly responsible to make it happen. You will be given a green card 18 months after applying for the visa and fulfilling the conditions.
The amount you invest in this way can vary significantly. Certain areas have been classified as Target Employment Areas (TEA). They usually include rural areas or areas that have a higher unemployment rate than average. These target areas have 1.5 times more unemployment than the national average. The government wants to prioritize the creation of jobs here. Therefore, by classifying them as target areas, they hope to encourage investment in these neighborhoods.
The incentive given by the government to invest in these areas is that the amount that is required to invest is halved. You have to invest only $500,000 or $900,000 after November 21, 2019, even in your own business to be eligible to apply for an E-5 Visa. By this legislation, the government hopes to attract investors who are seeking immigration to the USA to invest in these areas. They hope to create more jobs to reduce the unemployment rates that are quite high.
The cost to obtain an investor visa can vary significantly, depending on the path you chose. Obviously, each path has its advantages and disadvantages but it’s up to you which option to chose. Your choice will depend on your economic and personal situation so make sure you evaluate which option is most feasible and practical for you and your family before opting for it.