Immigrant pathways allow you to work in the U.S. as an entrepreneur on a permanent basis because they offer lawful permanent residence, which can ultimately lead to U.S. citizenship.
Depending on the employment-based immigrant visa classification sought, acquiring lawful permanent residence via an immigrant pathway for entrepreneur employment involves at least two steps.
You must file an immigrant petition with USCIS. If you are in the U.S. and eligible, you may file an adjustment of status application with the USCIS without leaving the United States. You can also file an immigrant visa application with the U.S. Department of State outside the U.S. and go through consular processing.
An approved immigrant visa petition helps secure your priority date, which will then determine the order of immigration visa availability. A priority date typically means the date the immigrant visa petition was filed.
According to USCIS, you may only request a visa through a consulate or apply for an adjustment of status once an immigrant visa is immediately available.
However, if an immigrant visa is available when filing your immigrant petition, you may concurrently apply for an adjustment of status. You are also allowed to apply for employment authorization concurrently with your adjustment of status.
The availability of an immigrant visa depends on the employment-based visa classification sought and the immigrant’s country of charge ability. Check out the USCIS website for more information about Visa Availability and Priority Date
The EB-1A pathway is an immigrant entrepreneur entry pathway to work and live in the United States as a lawful permanent resident. It is most appropriate for individuals with extraordinary abilities in sciences, education, arts, athletics, or business as demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and achievements recognized in the relevant field of expertise.
Besides proving your extraordinary ability, you must show that you intend to continue working in your area of expertise and that your work will benefit the future of the United States.
The term “extraordinary ability,” as used in this context, means a level of expertise indicating that you are one of a small percentage of people who have risen to the very top of your field.
Since no job offer, employer or labor certification is required for this immigrant certification, you may self-petition as an extraordinary-ability individual
Below is a detailed guideline on the eligibility requirements that you must establish to acquire an EB-1A visa status:
The EB-1A is reserved for people recognized as the cream of their field and who are coming or choosing to remain in the U.S. to work in that field. To establish eligibility, you must demonstrate national or international acclaim and achievements recognized in your field of expertise. This is done by showing that:
Suppose you are yet to receive a major internationally recognized award. In that case, you can still qualify if you answer yes and submit supporting evidence for at least three of the following ten questions:
Answering yes to at least three of these questions proves that you possess extraordinary ability in your field of expertise. If the above criteria do not apply to your occupation, you may submit comparable evidence establishing your eligibility. However, it is worth noting that there is no comparable evidence for the one-time achievement of a major, internationally recognized award.
Once the USCIS is convinced that you meet these minimum threshold requirements, it will proceed to evaluate all your evidence in totality to determine:
Requirement 2: You must establish that you are coming or remaining in the U.S. to continue working in your area of extraordinary ability, and your entry will substantially benefit the U.S.
Some of the evidence you may rely on to meet this requirement includes, but is not limited to:
The EB-2 immigrant visa is one of the available pathways for entrepreneurs looking to live and work in the United States. This pathway is intended for:
This visa classification requires a job offer and a labor certification issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). You must first meet this requirement for your employer to move on to the next step of filling your immigrant visa petition with the USCIS and (if approved) before a beneficiary could be issued an immigrant visa through consular or adjustment processing.
DOL regulations prohibit the issuance of labor certifications for self-employment. However, if you seek an EB-2 visa status with a National Interest Waiver (NIW), you may self-petition and not be subject to the labor requirement. When requesting a
NIW, you must demonstrate that you are either an individual of exceptional ability or a member of the profession holding an advanced degree. More guidelines concerning the labor certification process are readily available on DOL’s website.
There are generally two broad requirements for this category of EB-2 visa applicants. These requirements are:
The term “advanced degree’ implies a professional or academic degree above a bachelor’s degree. Admissible evidence that you can use to demonstrate that you have an advanced degree may include the following:
For more information about how the USCIS determines eligibility for advanced degree professionals, check out the USCIS Policy Manual.
Some of the supporting evidence you may submit to establish that your advanced degree is related to your field included, but is not limited to:
There are generally two broad requirements for this category of EB-2 applicants. These requirements are:
To qualify for this classification, you must show exceptional ability in business sciences or arts. The initial evidence must include at least three of the six types of evidence listed below.
You must answer yes and adduce supporting evidence for at least three of the following questions:
If the above criteria do not apply to your occupation, you may submit comparable evidence to establish your eligibility.
Upon meeting the minimum threshold requirements, USCIS will evaluate all your submitted evidence in its totality to determine whether you have a degree of
expertise significantly higher than that normally encountered in business, sciences, or arts. Refer to the USCIS Policy Manual for detailed guidance on how USCIS determines your eligibility for exceptional ability classification.
To show prospective benefit, you must submit evidence of a record of achievements and explain how that indicates your future success. Qualifying or admissible evidence that you can submit to make this demonstration includes, but is not limited to:
The USCIS reserves the right, as a matter of discretion, to grant your request for a National Interest Waiver IF the following requirements are met:
The USCIS Policy Manual outlines detailed guidelines on how to evaluate eligibility for NIWs based on the requirements mentioned above. The policy also discusses the specific evidentiary considerations for entrepreneurs.
The USCIS is not oblivious to the fact that entrepreneurs do not always follow traditional career paths and that start-ups vary in structure. Therefore, in addition to the general guidance, the USCIS Policy Manual clarifies that as an entrepreneur petitioner, you are free to submit other forms of evidence to help establish the following:
The U.S. Congress created the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program intending to stimulate the U.S. economy through capital investment and job creation by foreign investors.
This category of immigrant entrepreneur visas targets individuals investing in their own businesses. USCIS’s page About the EB-5 Visa Classification explains how investors can pool their investments through the Regional Center Program.
To qualify for this visa pathway, you must invest at least $1.05 million in a new commercial enterprise established after November 29, 1990, unless the entity is operating in a targeted employment area, which is an area with a high
unemployment rate or in a rural area. For a targeted employment area, the minimum investment amount is $800,000.
You must also establish that your investment capital is lawfully obtained.
You must show that the new commercial entity will create full-time job positions for at least ten qualifying employees.
Immigrant entrepreneurs are admitted as lawful permanent residents but on a conditional basis. However, you must apply to remove the condition on your visa status 90 days before the second anniversary of obtaining conditional lawful permanent resident status.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) https://www.uscis.gov/working-in-the-united-states/entrepreneur-employment-pathways/immigrant-pathways-for-entrepreneur-employment-in-the-united-states