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What is an investor visa?

There are a lot of different ways for immigrants to obtain a visa to reside in the United States and one of the more popular ones is called an investor visa. Immigrants who apply for investor visas or E5 visas, are commonly referred to as immigrant investors or immigrant entrepreneurs.

Immigration laws in the United States provide a pathway for immigrant investors to enter the country to create new businesses that will help spur capital investment and job growth. E5 investors are given approximately 7.1 percent of employment-related visas each year.

The E5 visa is not suitable for all immigration candidates due to the large amount of capital that is required for investing in a new capital venture. In order for an immigrant investor to qualify for the E5 visa, he or she must invest $1,000,000 without borrowing the money. Alternatively, he or she can invest $500,000 in a rural or low-employment area of the United States, also without borrowing. Those investments have to create at least 10 new jobs for legal U.S. workers within two years of the visa being issued.

The entrepreneur's visa track is an extremely viable strategy for immigrants who have extra capital to invest and are willing and excited about the chance to create and invest in a new business venture in the United States. That said, it is not for everyone, since only a rare few individuals will have the necessary capital and the entrepreneurial gumption to create and manage a new business investment like this. For those who this strategy is not a fit, there are other employment-based visa options, which could be fruitful to explore.

Source: U.S. Department of State, "Immigrant Investor Visas," accessed June 24, 2015

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