In the current US political climate, obtaining a visa to enter the United States is more difficult than ever for citizens of South and Central America. Luckily, there are still many alternatives, particularly for Latin American entrepreneurs. The four visas mentioned below are among the best options for residents of those latitudes who are considering living and working in the United States.
E-2 visas: investment visas to direct and develop a commercial venture
For Latin American investors who wish to invest in a business in the United States, an E-2 investor visa may be the ideal option. With this type of visa, the investor and his dependents can enter the United States to direct and develop a commercial venture. There are strict requirements for this type of visa, from the amount of the investment to the type of business you plan to undertake.
To begin with, the investor must be a citizen of a country that has a trade agreement with the United States. Venezuela and Brazil do not have a commercial agreement with the United States; For this reason, the citizens of these two countries cannot obtain E-2 visas, but a large majority of their citizens have a dual nationality that allows them to have access to this visa. As most other South American countries do have E-2 treaties with the United States, they are considered eligible to obtain this type of visa.
E-2 visas have many advantages for Latin Americans: they are not subject to annual limits and are generally approved quickly. An E-2 visa allows you to work legally in the US UU in your own business, and stay in the country indefinitely as long as your business is still in operation. You can also bring your spouse and children, and children can study in the United States.
However, there is a significant disadvantage for Latin Americans: with this type of visa: it is not a direct path to a green card, so it is not possible to obtain US citizenship. Similarly, E-2 visas require a substantial investment that allows the investor to develop his business in its entirety.
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EB-1 visas: for foreigners with extraordinary abilities
EB-1 visas are a type of employment visa that is only available to applicants who have demonstrated “extraordinary ability” in science, arts, education, business or sports. To qualify for this type of visa, a person must be able to demonstrate through evidence that they possess such exceptional ability.
This is demonstrated by specific documentation, such as awards of great recognition both internationally and nationally, that his work is considered original, that he has worked for organizations of distinguished reputation or that he has contributed significantly in the area in which it is developed, among others. criteria that must meet.
For Latin Americans, the main benefit of this type of visa is that, if approved, it will take them directly to a permanent residence or green card. In addition, it does not require the sponsorship of an employer; A person can apply for an EB-1 visa on its own.
However, EB-1 visas are only granted to applicants who actually have extraordinary abilities, and therefore it can be difficult to submit an application in this category. However, hiring an expert lawyer in the matter can increase the probability of obtaining a favorable result.
EB-5 visas: “golden ticket” visas for substantial investments
EB-5 visas are often known as “golden ticket” visas, and rightly so: in exchange for a fairly substantial investment of $ 500,000.00 or $ 1,000,000.00, this type of visa can put Latin American investors on the road to citizenship. To obtain an EB-5 visa, an entrepreneur must invest $ 500,000.00 in a designated regional center or $ 1,000,000.00 anywhere in the United States. This investment must also create at least 10 jobs for American workers.
The EB-5 visa program has numerous advantages for Latin American entrepreneurs. The most notable is that it allows a direct path to US citizenship. UU both for the investor and for his family nucleus. In addition, EB-5 visas do not require the applicant to prove that they have extraordinary capacity in business or to maintain a business in their country of origin. There are no visa limits based on countries of origin for Latin American countries, so investors need not worry that requests from other compatriots reduce the possibility of obtaining an EB-5 visa. However, it does require a large investment, and the funds must be placed at risk before the visa is granted.
Visas L-1: transfer visas within companies
The L-1 visas are an employment-based visa that allows a foreign company to transfer certain employees to the United States if certain requirements are met. The foreign company must have a relationship with an entity in the United States, and the employee must have worked continuously with the foreign employer for at least 1 year of the last 3 years as an executive, manager, or employee with specialized knowledge. The employee must intend to enter the US UU in that position and must be qualified to perform the position of executive, manager or employee with specialized knowledge.
For Latin American entrepreneurs, the L-1 visas have significant advantages. An executive or manager with an L-1A visa can stay in the United States for up to 7 years, while employees with specialized knowledge with L-1B visas can do so for up to 5 years. These visas allow the employee to bring with them dependents. In addition, L-1A visa employers can apply to convert visas to green cards. However, unlike other types of visas, they require employers to sponsor the visa and have established strict standards for their approval.
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