Investor visas – dispelling the myths

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					(213) 250-9797 •                                                                         LA MIDWEEK ASIAN JOURNAL • FEBRUARY 10-12, 2010   B

COMMUNITY                                Journal
      SOLUTION                           Investor visas –
                                         dispelling the myths
                                         applying it broadly to all inves-        On the nonimmigrant side,
                                         tor visas. The EB-5 immigrant         there are two general invest-
                                         visa is the source of this myth.      ment visa categories known as
                                            The EB-5 is known as the           L-1 and E visa. The L-1 is for
                                         employment creation visa, or,         intercompany transferees who
 Atty. RobeRt Reeves & Joseph I. elIAs   the $1 million green card visa.       are being transferred in an ex-
                                         This immigrant visa is available      ecutive, management, or spe-
   WHEN discussing inves-                for investors whose investment        cialized knowledge capacity to
tor visas to the United States,          company can create 10 new jobs        the parent, subsidiary or affiliate
one must understand that they            in the United States within 2         company located in the US. The
fall into two general categories         years. There is a minimum fixed       E visa is similar to the L-1 but
known as immigrant or nonim-             investment amount of either $1        is limited to citizens of countries
migrant visas. Immigrant visas           million or $500,000 depending         that have a treaty of trade or
are commonly known as the                on the location of the invest-        commerce with the US such as
green card and allow investors           ment. Rural areas and targeted        the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan,
and their family to live perma-          employment areas (areas with          England, Korea, Germany, and
nently in the US. Nonimmigrant           unemployment rate twice that of       many other countries. There is
investor visas are generally for         the national average) qualify for     no threshold minimum amount
temporary admission into the             $500,000 investments. Within          required for these investor visas,
US to manage the investment.             the EB-5 category is a subset         but the startup costs must make
They also can include the right          of investments known as Pilot         business fiscal sense.
for the investors’ immediate             Projects. Pilot Projects are in-         The E visa category is broader
family members to reside in the          vestment companies that have          because it allows an individual
US. Some even grant the inves-           established to the satisfaction       to set up his own company in
tor’s spouse the right to work           of the Immigration Service that,      the US that will generate sub-
in the US. Both categories are           for each investor in the compa-       stantial revenues. It also can be
plagued with myths, misrepre-            ny, 10 new jobs will be created       renewed continuously without
sentations and inaccuracies that         directly or indirectly. Many of       limit. The L-1 visa in contrast is
tend to scare off investors. This        these qualify for the $500,000        limited to 7 years maximum for
article will address the most            investment and are involved in a      managers and executives and 5
common investor visa myths.              variety of industries such as real    years for specialized knowledge
   The first myth common to              estate development, manufac-          personnel. The E-2 investment
both categories is that these vi-        turing, dairy farms, ski resorts      must be able to show that the
sas are impossibly difficult to ob-      and even to major motion pic-         business can generate revenues
tain. This is untrue and literally       ture studio productions.              greater than that needed to sup-
thousands of investors per year             Pilot projects typically have      port the E-2 investor in the US.
are granted immigrant and non-           a dedicated management team           Examples of successful E-2 in-
immigrant visas to the United            responsible for the day-to-day        vestments include snack shops
States. A good common sense              operations of the investment.         and restaurants, gas stations,
approach with a well developed           The investor is usually involved      accounting firms, RV park, nail
business plan is a central ele-          in decision making as a lim-          salons, and major corporations.
ment to getting these visas ap-          ited partner or limited liability     They come in all shapes and
proved. The US government                shareholder. The pilot project        sizes as long as the investor
requires a clear explanation of          is therefore a very useful invest-    can show that the company will
the nature of the investment and         ment vehicle for investors who        generate substantial revenues.
the business goals that are ex-          need to devote the bulk of their      Both the L and the E visa allow
pected to be achieved supported          time to other endeavors such as       the spouse of the investor to ob-
by documentation of each asser-          running other businesses.             tain work authorization while in
tion. With careful review, plan-            If an investor wishes to main-     the US.
ning and thorough documenta-             tain greater control in the man-         For more information on in-
tion, foreign investors find the         agement of the company, he or         vestor visas, be sure to catch
US government is open to issu-           she may establish a new compa-        Episode 2 of “The Immigration
ing investment visas.                    ny or even buy into an existing       Experts” which will cover inves-
   This brings us to the next com-       company. This investor must           tor visas to the US. Investor vi-
mon myth that the investment             directly create 10 new full time      sas are not impossible to obtain
must be $1 million or more. This         jobs, and if the business is not in   and do not require $1 million in
myth stems from confusing one            a Targeted Employment or Ru-          investment funds. They come
of the requirements for one type         ral area, will need to invest $1      in many shapes and sizes and
of immigrant investor visa and           million.                                                    u PAGE B6

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