Millions of people have suffered financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses have been forced to shut down, either by stay-at-home orders or sudden loss of revenue. In the last recession, immigrant employment, talent, and investment were critical to the economy’s recovery, and these resources are equally necessary today.
Despite previous policies and messages that have communicated otherwise, the Trump administration signaled the need for job-creating, foreign direct investment. In the President’s recent executive order, immigrant investors and nonimmigrant investors and workers are excluded from the 60-day immigration ban. While many people are temporarily prohibited from obtaining immigrant visas (either family-based or employment-based), foreign investors can still immigrate to the U.S. Now and as we move forward with the economic recovery, there are opportunities for foreign nationals to make investments that create jobs and infuse the U.S. economy with needed capital.
The following is a brief overview of the opportunities you may have as an immigrant or nonimmigrant investor.
Opportunities for Immigrant Investors
To qualify, you must invest a certain amount of capital (e.g. cash, equipment, inventory, etc.) in a bona fide U.S. commercial enterprise. This investment must create at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying employees. These employees can be citizens, lawful permanent residents, or any other workers with proper authorization and legal status.
The required investment amounts recently increased, so you will need to invest either $1,800,000 in a high employment area or $900,000 in a targeted employment area (TEA). A TEA is either a rural area or an area with a high rate of unemployment (i.e. 150% of the national average).
To apply, you will begin with Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor.
Opportunities for Nonimmigrant Investors
If you are looking for temporary status as a foreign investor, you can benefit from the E-2 nonimmigrant visa. This visa will grant you an initial stay of no more than 5 years, but you can extend it in increments of up to 5 years each. You can extend it as many times as you would like, but the investment must continue to at risk and profitable as well as certain other qualifications.
The qualifications include as follows:
- Your country of origin must have a treaty of commerce and navigation with the U.S.
- You have invested (or are actively investing) a “substantial amount of capital” in a U.S. enterprise
- You are entering the U.S. specifically to direct this investment process (i.e. owning 50% of the enterprise or operational control)
Note, however, that the premium processing program that could have expedited your application process is temporarily suspended due to COVID-19.
Learn More from Our Seasoned Legal Team
Even during the pandemic, you may have access to substantial opportunities in the U.S. as a foreign investor. You and others in your position can create millions of new jobs, and The Gaston Law Firm, P.A. is here to assist you. If your goal is to develop and fund a commercial enterprise, we can help you obtain the legal status you need to do so.