How Can I Start a Business in the U.S. as a Non-U.S. Citizen?

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America is considered to be “the land of opportunity” which is why many travel to live and work in the U.S. in hopes of finding opportunities that will better their way of life for them and their family. Some choose to find work with an employer while others want to start their own business. If you are a foreign national who is interested in establishing your own business, investing in a U.S. business, or transferring your already established business here, there are a few ways you can do this.

  1. L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager. This visa enables a U.S. employer to transfer one of their executives or managers from an affiliated foreign office to one of its offices in the U.S. It also enables a foreign company who has yet to establish an affiliated office in the U.S. to send an executive or manager to the U.S. with the purpose of establishing one [Source: USCIS]. The employer would be required to fill out Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and pay the corresponding fees.

Perhaps you don’t want to send a worker over to the U.S., rather, you would like to invest significant amounts of your money into new or existing U.S. companies. This can be accomplished by obtaining an E-2 visa.

  1. E-2 Nonimmigrant Classification. An individual looking to invest from a treaty country, which is a country with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation, may be admitted into the U.S. to invest in a U.S. business. Certain employees of an employer may also be eligible for this classification as well.

To view a list of the countries with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation, click here.

Now, let’s say you haven’t yet made any exact decisions as to where you want your business to be located, however, you do want to explore your options in the U.S. In this case, the B-1 visa might be the right visa to apply for.

  1. B-1 Temporary Business Visitor. If you are looking to consult with business associates, settle an estate, participate in short-term training, or even negotiate a contract, you can apply for the B-1 visa so you can take a temporary trip to the U.S. as you develop key details of your business.

It is always a good idea to discuss these options with a qualified Atlanta immigration attorney before making any moves just to be sure you are going about the process in the right way and that no unexpected surprises hinder you from beginning this new business venture.

Kuck|Baxter Immigration located in Atlanta, GA  with a global reach, can assist with various types of immigration matters and getting in contact with one of our reputable immigration and visa attorneys is easy. Simply call us at 404-816-8611 and we will get you scheduled for a phone, skype, or in-person consultation where we can discuss exactly what you are trying to get accomplished and how our knowledgeable lawyers can help you.

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Charles Kuck

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