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For those looking to immigrate to the US, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the choices and various routes by which you can obtain entry. Many visa programs cover different circumstances, and choosing the correct option is paramount, as it has a direct impact on the likelihood of a successful application. In this article, our lawyers have compiled different options available to high-level managers and executives, entrepreneurs, and investors. 

U.S. visa options

With visa and citizenship by investment programs, you can obtain residency and citizenship in the US via a financial contribution. This will allow you and your family to immigrate to the US, and in some cases apply for a green card, which will then allow for a citizenship application in the future.

There are other options for businesses wishing to bring staff into the country that do not necessarily lead to permanent status, but allow them to work in the US for defined periods of time. Other mitigating factors for certain applications involve your current country of residence’s trade agreement with the US, your capital, business intentions, and your current country of residence or citizenship. 

US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

The U.S. EB-5 immigrant investor visa is the country’s most popular investment immigration program. Your investment will need to employ ten US workers and will be passively placed into projects or developments. Investor funds are deemed ‘at risk’, as the government wants these to be true investments with a chance of reward and risk of loss. However, if all goes well with the project, investors can expect a return on their funds. This EB-5 visa program provides us EB-5 green cards for you and your family and the option to apply for citizenship after 5 years of holding the green card, should you fulfill the residency requirements of 2.5 out of 5 years of physical residency in the US. 

There are two types of EB-5 investment:  , the ‘regional center investment and the ‘direct investment’ program. Under the regional center program, your capital needs to be invested in a project that is associated with a regional center (an administrative body approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services – USCIS). This option allows the investor to play a passive role. In contrast, the direct investment option requires the investor to take a more active role in the business. Both options require a minimum investment amount of USD $800,000 if located in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) and the creation of 10 full-time jobs for US citizens.

E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

The E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa for investors and entrepreneurs and is available to citizens of countries that have a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. It allows investors to enter and work in the U.S. based on a substantial investment in a U.S. business. The investment must be in an active, operating enterprise, and there is no specific minimum investment requirement. The E-2 visa is one of the quickest routes into the US, although it does not offer a direct path to permanent residency or a green card. Granted for up to five years, the E-2 has varying levels of requirements for investment, determined by the industry in which you invest and the business plan submitted to USCIS. These visas are commonplace for individuals who genuinely want to start and operate a business in the US. An investor can choose to gain entry first through the E-2 program, whilst waiting for their EB-5 to be processed.

L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa

The L-1 visa is a US temporary work visa that is available to executives, managers, and specialized knowledge employees of multinational companies for a period of up to seven years. If a foreign company has a qualifying relationship with a U.S. company (e.g., parent, subsidiary, or affiliate), employees can be transferred to the U.S. branch on an L-1 visa. The L-1 is also extended to business owners who wish to open branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates of their company abroad in the US (as long as the foreign company meets certain criteria). These visas are used by companies wishing to establish an office in the US. The requirements are that the applicant has worked in a management position for at least one in the last three years, outside of the US for the same company. With the L-1 visa, there is no quota. Successful applicants will be granted a three-year stay, with the option to extend to seven. After seven years, the L-1 visa holder must have another plan or option to stay in the US. Often, the L-1 visa is succeeded by the plan to do an EB-1C and get a green card, an additional application sponsored by the employer.

EB-1C Multinational Manager or Executive Visa

The EB-1C visa is an employment-based immigrant visa category that allows multinational executives or managers to transfer to a U.S. branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of their foreign company. While it is not an investment-based visa, it may apply to individuals who have a managerial or executive role in a foreign company and are looking to expand operations to the United States. This category usually has strict criteria which the parent company must fulfill and is therefore mostly used by multinational companies, rather than independent business owners.


It’s important to note that each immigration visa program has specific eligibility requirements, application processes, and limitations. I would always recommend consulting with an immigration attorney to determine the most suitable investment-based visa option based on individual circumstances and goals.

Immigration Consultancy in Dubai

Immigration Consultancy in Dubai

If you would like to participate in the new EB-5 Program with a set of new and improved protection regulations for investors, please feel free to get in touch with me. As the leading Immigration consultant in the UAE, we currently have projects available in all categories to suit each and every individual investor. Our vast legal and EB-5 network allows us to provide not only expert service but also exclusive projects, including those where we have successfully received approvals on expedited processing requests for many clients. 

We are happy to sit down with you and put a plan in place for your unique U.S. EB-5 journey, and have a 100% track record of approvals, as well as over 13 years of experience in the EB-5 industry. If you’re interested in the EB-5 Immigration program or would like to have a more general chat around the new EB-5 regulations, please get in touch with me at

by Preeya Malik

by Preeya Malik

MD, Step Global

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