As a foreign entrepreneur or investor, you do not have many options to temporarily come to the US to establish a new business. While there are business immigration options, nonimmigrant visa categories for foreign investors remain few. Many foreign start-up founders even opt for the H-1B Visa to temporarily come to the US to establish their business.
However, the H-1B Visa eligibility requirements require the applicant to have an arms-length relationship with the employer, meaning that having an ownership stake in the business that is employing you will make you ineligible for this visa category. This presents a problem for international business owners.
Is There a Visa Category Specially Designed for International Entrepreneurs?
For immigration purposes, there are visa categories including the EB-5 Investor Visa that allows foreign entrepreneurs and investors to immigrate to the US by making a substantial investment in a new or existing business. However, there is no nonimmigrant visa category specially designed for foreign entrepreneurs. There have been many attempts to amend the immigration law to introduce a nonimmigrant visa category for start-up founders and foreign entrepreneurs by Congress.
Although there is an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa for foreign nationals who want to make a substantial investment in the US, this visa is not available to everyone. The E-2 Visa category is only for applicants who are nationals of a country that has a trade agreement with the US. Also, if the applicant does not have 50% ownership of the business at all times, the E-2 Visa status will automatically become void.