Certain international entrepreneurs who wish to live in the United States have the possibility of doing so by obtaining an investor visa. In general, there are two types of investment visas you may request, depending on the planned business activities and the amount the investment.

Visa E

The E visa is a treaty-based, nonimmigrant, temporary visa that allows you to live in the United States to run a business. This business can be a company focused on international trade (E-1 visa) or a company in which the visa applicant has made a substantial investment (E-2 visa). That is, the E-1 visa seeks to promote international trade and the E-2 visa promotes foreign investments in the United States.

The E visa requires that the applicant be a citizen of a country that has entered into a treaty of commerce with United States, such as the NAFTA agreement among Mexico, the U.S. and Canada.

The trade conducted must be substantial. That is, it is of considerable volume and continuity. In addition, the exchange of products or services between the treaty country and the U.S. should represent more than fifty percent of the company's operations. Finally, it is required that the title of the products exchanged passes from one person to another in international sales.

The E-2 Treaty Investor visa also requires the investor to be a national of a treaty country. The law does not establish a minimum amount of investment, but requires that it be substantial. A substantial investment is one that ensures the success of the company's operations. In these cases, the percentage of investment in a company with low initial costs should be higher than that of a company with high investment costs. In addition, the investment cannot be passive. This means the investment must be commercial in nature and not a low-transaction passive business, such as holding a savings account in the U.S. The investor must establish a business with a real operation and not speculative. Likewise, the investment cannot be marginal. This requires that the sales of the company must provide more than just sufficient income to support the investor and his family. In addition, the investment must have a positive economic impact in the location where the business is established.

The holder of an E visa may renew it for as long as it continues to comply with the visa requirements. In addition, treaty investors and traders may bring employees under the same visa classification to hold executive or high specialization positions.

Given that the spouse and children (single and under the age of 21) of the main applicant may also obtain dependent E visa status, the E visa has the great advantage of allowing the spouse of the E visa holder to work in any job in the United States. 

Visa EB-5

One way to migrate to the United States permanently is to make an investment under the E-B5 program. The minimum investment required is one million dollars, or half a million dollars in a rural or high unemployment area of ​​the United States. Unlike Visa E, which is a temporary and non-migrant visa, the E-B5 Visa allows you, after a two-year probationary period, to obtain the Permanent Residency of the United States. In general, a permanent resident has the same rights as an American citizen; Except to vote and access certain jobs in the American government.


It is possible to carry out the required investment in a newly created company, in an existing company (but which is experiencing economic problems) or in a Regional Center; The latter is a company previously authorized by the immigration authorities to receive the investment. If the investor wants to establish his own company, he must personally direct the operations of the company. In addition to the investment, it must also generate 10 full-time jobs for US citizens or permanent residents. These last requirements, make the creation of a new company to make the investment, be unattractive.


In fact, almost ninety percent of investors choose to invest in a Regional Center. As in a self-investment, investment in the Regional Center should also generate ten full-time jobs for US citizens or permanent residents. However, because Regional Centers handle large projects, it may be easier for the Regional Center to demonstrate the generation of such jobs. Another advantage of making the investment in the Regional Center is that the investor is not obliged to participate in the management of the company and is free to live in any state of the United States, regardless of where the Regional Center is located. The investor is only required to maintain his investment in the Regional Center during the two-year trial period.