Learn more about the different types of US visas available to foreign nationals seeking global mobility.
US Visa Types
Citizens of foreign countries who wish to travel to, reside in or work in the United States must obtain one of several types of visas. Available US visas include the highly sought after E2 visa for Treaty Investors, the L1 non-immigrant visa which allows overseas companies to transfer employees, the H1B visa allowing foreign nationals to work in the US for a temporary period of time, and the EB 5 visa (commonly known as as a “green card”) which provides lawful permanent residence for eligible immigrant investors.
Browse each of the US visa types below to learn more about how to qualify for access to the United States.
The US E2 visa is a highly sought after nonimmigrant visa that allows qualified foreign investors, their spouse, and qualifying children to reside in the United States for up to five years with the possibility to renew the visa for the purpose of developing or directing an investment enterprise in the US. To become eligible for the E-2 visa one must be a national of a treaty country to the United States. There are currently 80 treaty countries eligible to participate in the E2 visa program.
Grenada has quickly become a popular E2 treaty country due to quick E2 visa processing times of less than two months, and a much more affordable minimum investment compared to other treaty countries and visa types.
The United States offers two types of L1 visas for temporary workers: the L-1A visa for intracompany foreign transferees who work in executive or managerial positions outside of the US, and the L-1B visa for intracompany foreign transferees who work in positions that require highly specialized knowledge or skills.
An L1 visa can be requested by a company who seeks to transfer a qualified employee to the United States. The L1-A and L1-B visas are temporary worker visas, and do not grant permanent residency in the US.
The L1 visa has been temporarily halted by the US government, citing concerns of the risks presented to the US labor market due to the coronavirus pandemic. The E-2 visa remains available to foreign investors, and is a popular option for investors seeking global mobility and the option to reside in the US.
H1-B Visas are nonimmigrant visas that are typically filed by companies who want to bring foreign individuals to the US to work in specialized occupations. To qualify for an H1B visa a foreign national must meet strict education or experience and skill requirements. H1-B visas may also be granted to someone who will perform cooperative work for the U.S. Department of Defense, or to individuals with international acclaim, such as fashion models.
The H1B visa has been temporarily halted by the US government, citing concerns of the risks presented to the US labor market due to the coronavirus pandemic. The E-2 visa remains available to foreign investors, and is a popular option for investors seeking global mobility and the option to reside in the US.
Created by the United States Congress in 1990, the EB-5 visa program is intended to vitalize the U.S. economy through commercial capital investment or job creation by foreign investors. Under the EB-5 program foreign investors, their spouse, and unmarried children under the age of 21 are eligible to apply for permanent residence in the United States.
The EB 5 visa is a less popular option due to the high investment required to obtain the visa. At present, the minimum investment threshold is $1.8M. The E-2 visa is a much more affordable and accessible option for investors seeking global mobility and the option to reside in the US.
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The US E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant classification that permits treaty investors to invest a substantial amount of capital in an approved enterprise in the US. In turn, treaty investors, their spouse, and unmarried children under the age of 21 are permitted to travel to and reside in the United States for up to two years.
To qualify for an E-2 visa a treaty investor must:
- Be a national of a country with which the US maintains a treaty of navigation and commerce.
- Invest a substantial amount of capital in an approved and legitimate enterprise in the US.
- Are seeking to enter the US for the sole purpose of developing or overseeing the development of the approved investment enterprise. To meet this criteria, the treaty investor must prove a minimum of 50% ownership of the enterprise.
The United States maintains E-2 commerce and navigational treaties with 80 countries. The capital investment and criteria required to obtain citizenship in a qualifying treaty country varies.
Grenada is a popular country with E-2 treaty access to the United States because of its lower-than-average cost of citizenship.