Review of US Visa for businessmen by Sanwar Ali

There are a number of US visa schemes available to start a business in the US. While it is difficult and complicated to obtain many of these visas, the costs in many cases may be lower than you might expect.

E2 Visa for Treaty Investors

The investment necessary to qualify for E2 visa Treaty Investor status varies and there is no set minimum. For consultancy businesses, for example software businesses, this could be tens of thousands of dollars or less in some cases. However, for smaller investments to register the business as an E2 business can be more difficult.

Like many other US visa schemes it can be a difficult and complicated process obtaining a visa. The good news is that there is no quota and you can continue to extend your visa indefinitely.

L1 Visa to start a new office

If a business wishes to expand in the US the L1A intra-company transfer visa may be an option. It has become more difficult under Trump. However, for a business which will continue to have offices outside the US this may be a good option. There is no investment requirement as such.

After the office has been operational in the US for at least one year it may be possible for the L1A visa manager or executive to apply for an EB-1C Green Card. The manager or executive can also be the owner of the business. If you would like a Green Card this may be the quickest and cheapest route.

EB5 Investor visa Green Card

The EB5 investor scheme is the most expensive option and requires an investment of at least $500,000 in a targetted employment area and the creation of ten new jobs in future. In other areas the investment requirement is at least £1 million. Many people opt for a Regional Center Scheme which are schemes that are provided by other organisations. If you wish to open your own business then you need to come under the direct investment route instead.

Comparison of E2 Visa, L1 Visa and EB5 Immigrant Visa

US Visa


Spouse Wife Rights

Children Work Rights

Green Card

E2 Visa

Can continue to be extended indefinitely.

Yes. With work authorisation.


Need to come under other scheme.

L1A Visa

Up to seven years with extensions. One year initially for new office.

Yes. With work authorisation.


In practice easier to gain a Green Card.

EB5 Visa

21 months and then apply for full Green Card



Yes. can help with US employment-based visas

If you would like to apply for a US work visa – including L1 visas, E1 and E2 visas, and H-1B visas - can help. is a specialist visa consultancy with over thirty years of experience dealing with visa applications. We can help with a wide range of visa applications to your country of choice. Contact us for further details.