Business / Investor Visa
- USA EB5 Visa
- UK Startup Business Visa
- Australia Investor Visa
- Canada Investor Visa
USA EB5 Visa
USCIS administers the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Under a program first enacted as a pilot in 1992 and regularly reauthorized since then, investors may also qualify for EB-5 classification by investing through regional centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth. On Dec. 27, 2020, President Trump signed a law extending the Regional Center Program through June 30, 2021.
USCIS policy on EB-5 adjudications is in Volume 6, Part G of the USCIS Policy Manual.
All EB-5 investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise that was established:
- After Nov. 29, 1990; or
- On or before Nov. 29, 1990, that was:
- Purchased and the existing business is restructured or reorganized in such a way that a new commercial enterprise results; or
- Expanded through the investment, resulting in at least a 40% increase in the net worth or number of employees.
Commercial enterprise means any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business, including:
- A sole proprietorship;
- Partnership (whether limited or general);
- Holding company;
- Joint venture;
- Business trust; or
- Other entity, which may be publicly or privately owned.
This definition includes a commercial enterprise consisting of a holding company and its wholly owned subsidiaries, if each such subsidiary is engaged in a for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of a lawful business.
This definition does not include noncommercial activity, such as owning and operating a personal residence.
Job Creation Requirements
An EB-5 investor must invest the required amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise that will create full-time positions for at least 10 qualifying employees.
- For a new commercial enterprise not located within a regional center, the new commercial enterprise must directly create the full-time positions to be counted. This means that the new commercial enterprise (or its wholly owned subsidiaries) must itself be the employer of the qualifying employees.
- For a new commercial enterprise located within a regional center, the new commercial enterprise can directly or indirectly create the full-time positions.
- Direct jobs establish an employer-employee relationship between the new commercial enterprise and the persons it employs.
- Indirect jobs are held outside of the new commercial enterprise but are created as a result of the new commercial enterprise.
- In the case of a troubled business, the EB-5 investor may rely on job maintenance.
- The investor must show that the number of existing employees is, or will be, no less than the pre-investment level for a period of at least two years.
A troubled business is one that has been in existence for at least two years and has incurred a net loss during the 12- or 24-month period before the priority date on the immigrant investor’s Form I-526. The loss for this period must be at least 20% of the troubled business’ net worth before the loss. When determining whether the troubled business has been in existence for two years, USCIS will consider successors in interest to the troubled business when evaluating whether they have been in existence for the same period of time as the business they succeeded.
A qualifying employee is a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or other immigrant authorized to work in the United States, including a conditional resident, temporary resident, asylee, refugee, or a person residing in the United States under suspension of deportation. This definition does not include immigrant investors; their spouses, sons, or daughters; or any alien in any nonimmigrant status (such as an H-1B nonimmigrant) or who is not authorized to work in the United States.
Full-time employment means employment of a qualifying employee by the new commercial enterprise in a position that requires a minimum of 35 working hours per week. In the case of the regional center program, full-time employment also means employment of a qualifying employee in a position that has been created indirectly that requires a minimum of 35 working hours per week.
A job-sharing arrangement where two or more qualifying employees share a full-time position will count as full-time employment provided the hourly requirement per week is met. This definition does not include combinations of part-time positions even if, when combined, the positions meet the hourly requirement per week.
Jobs that are intermittent, temporary, seasonal, or transient do not qualify as permanent full-time jobs. However, jobs that are expected to last at least two years are generally not considered intermittent, temporary, seasonal, or transient.
Capital Investment Requirements
Capital means cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents, and indebtedness secured by assets owned by immigrant investors, if they are personally and primarily liable and the assets of the new commercial enterprise upon which the petition is based are not used to secure any of the indebtedness. All capital will be valued at fair-market value in U.S. dollars. Assets acquired, directly or indirectly, by unlawful means (such as criminal activities) will not be considered capital for the purposes of section 203(b)(5) of the Act.
Note: Immigrant investors must establish that they are the legal owner of the capital invested. Capital can include their promise to pay (a promissory note) under certain circumstances.
The minimum investment amounts by filing date and investment location are:
Petition Filing Date
Minimum Investment Amount – 8 CFR 204.6(f)(1).
Targeted Employment Area Investment Amount – 8 CFR 204.6(f)(2)
High-Employment Area Investment Amount – 8 CFR 204.6(f)(3)
On or After 11/21/2019
Future adjustments will be tied to inflation (per the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, or CPI-U) and occur every five years.
A TEA can be, at the time of investment, either:
- A rural area; or
- An area that has experienced high unemployment (defined as at least 150% of the national average unemployment rate).
A rural area is any area other than an area within a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) (as designated by the Office of Management and Budget) or within the outer boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more according to the most recent decennial census of the United States.
A high-unemployment area may be any of the following areas, if that area is where the new commercial enterprise is principally doing business and the area has experienced an average unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average unemployment rate:
- An MSA;
- A specific county in an MSA;
- A county in which a city or town with a population of 20,000 or more is located; or
- A city or town with a population of 20,000 or more outside of an MSA.
A high-unemployment area may also consist of the census tract or contiguous census tracts in which the new commercial enterprise is principally doing business, which may include any or all directly adjacent census tracts, if the weighted average unemployment for the specified area based on the labor force employment measure for each tract is 150% of the national unemployment average.
UK Startup Business Visa
Overview and Eligibility
The UK Start Up Visa is a new visa category that will replace the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa program. Because of the endorsement requirement this visa may be difficult to come under at the moment.
You’re eligible for this visa if:
- You are not an European Economic Area EEA or Switzerland citizen.
- You want to set up a business in the UK*. To set up a business in Britain you must be endorsed by an authorised body that is either a UK higher education institution or a business organisation with a history of supporting UK entrepreneurs.
The Start-up Visa category is reserved for early-stage, high potential entrepreneurs starting a business in Britain for the first time.
The earliest that you can apply for a UK Start-up Visa is three months before you travel. It can take a minimum of three weeks to receive a decision on your visa application.
*Unlike the UK Innovator Visa, you do not need to invest funds initially. However, you must not have previously set up a business in the UK.
The UK Start-up Visa will replace the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Programme, which closes to new applicants on 6 July, 2019. New applications for the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur Visa will be accepted up until 5 July, 2019.
UK immigration rules published on 7 March, 2019 describe the Start-up Visa as: “An expanded version of the Graduate Entrepreneur scheme.”
Start-Up Visa Requirements
UK immigration rules specify the following, minimum requirements to be eligible for the Start-up Visa:
- You must be at least 18 years old
- Your business or business idea must undergo an assessment by an approved body
- You must meet English language requirements
- You must provide evidence of personal savings to support yourself during your time in the UK
For more information about the requirements you need to meet to apply for a Start-up Visa, contact Workpermit.com
Your stay in the UK
You can stay in the UK for two years on a Start-up Visa and you can bring family members, including a spouse or partner and children under the age of 18. You will spend the majority of your time in the UK developing your business, but you can work outside your business to support yourself.
There is no option to extend your Start-up Visa after two years, but you can switch to the Innovator Visa to extend your stay in the UK and develop your business. The Innovator Visa is valid for three years, with the option to extend when it is due to expire.
After five years, you could be eligible to apply for indefinite leave to remain (UK settlement).
Applying for a UK Start Up Visa
You can only apply for the Start-up Visa, online**. In addition, you will need to have your fingerprints and a photograph taken at a UK visa application centre in the country from which you are applying. You must do this to get a biometric residence permit, which is needed as part of your Start-up Visa UK application.
Australia Investor Visa
With this visa you can
As a business visitor, you can:
- make general business or employment enquiries
- investigate, negotiate, enter into or review a business contract
- conduct activities as part of an official government visit
- take part in a conference, trade fair or seminar. The organisers can’t pay you to take part
- work for or provide services to a business or organisation based in Australia
- sell goods or services directly to the public
If you want to do short-term work in Australia that isn’t a business visitor activity, consider applying for a temporary work visa.
APEC Business Travel Card holders
You might not need to apply for a visa to travel to Australia if you hold an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card (ABTC). We consider you to have applied for a Visitor visa when you applied for the ABTC.
ABTC holders (other than New Zealanders) might be granted a Visitor (subclass 600) Business Visitor stream visa to visit Australia. If you hold an ABTC with ‘AUS’ printed on the back, you can enter Australia for short-stay business visitor or tourism activities for as long as the ABTC is valid. The ABTC is valid for 5 years from the date we issue it.
If you apply for and are granted a separate visa, the visa associated with your ABTC will cease.
How long you can stay
This is a temporary visa. We might grant it for up to 12 months. You can enter Australia at any time while your visa is valid and stay for up to 3 months.
The length of your visa is determined case-by-case depending on:
- how long you want to stay
- why you want to visit Australia
You may not be granted the length of stay you want.
We grant the visa with either:
- single entry. If you leave Australia you will have to apply for another visa to come back
- multiple entry. You can leave and re-enter Australia on this visa while it is valid. You can stay in Australia for a limited time each time you enter Australia on this visa. Your visa grant letter will tell you how long you can stay
You can’t stay in Australia longer by extending this visa. You must apply for another visa.
You can only apply for a new visa if your visa does not have a condition that prevents further stay, such as condition 8503. You might be able to request a waiver of the no further stay condition in limited circumstances.
If you want to have a further short stay or stay longer for a holiday you might be eligible for a Visitor visa (subclass 600) Tourist stream (apply in Australia).
If you want to stay longer for other reasons, you might be able to apply for a new visa that suits your circumstances.
You can’t include family members in your application. Family members travelling with you should apply for a 600 Visitor Tourist stream visa.
Find out what to do if your child is born after you apply.
The visa costs AUD145 for each applicant.
To work out what your visa will cost use the Visa Pricing Estimator. You might also have to pay other costs for health checks, police certificates and biometrics. The estimator doesn’t take into account the other costs.
You might be able to fast-track your visa application if you hold a passport from:
- the People’s Republic of China (but not Hong Kong or Macau)
- the United Arab Emirates
Fast-tracking your application costs AUD1,000 in addition to the visa application charge.
You must be outside Australia when you apply and when we decide your application.
- 75% of applications in 10 days
- 90% of applications in 11 months
Your application may take longer to process if:
- you don’t fill it in correctly
- you don’t include all the documents we need or we need more information from you
- it takes us time to verify your information
You must meet all visa conditions and obey Australian laws.
We recommend you take out health insurance to cover any unforeseen medical treatment you might need in Australia. You are personally liable for all your healthcare costs while you are in Australia. Insurance can help limit your financial liability.
See what we consider adequate health insurance.
Learn more about health insurance for overseas visitors.
Reciprocal healthcare agreements
Some countries have a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Australia. Find out more from Services Australia about reciprocal healthcare agreements.
If we grant your visa with multiple entries, you can travel outside Australia and return as many times as you want while the visa is valid.
If we grant you a single entry visa and you leave Australia, you can’t re-enter on the visa. You must apply for another visa to come back.
Check if you have multiple or single entry in Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) or your visa grant letter.
We will digitally link your visa to your passport. You will not get a label in your passport.
Canada Investor Visa
Canada offers the most established and widely-used investment-based immigration programs conferring permanent resident status.
The Canadian confederation system of government and the country’s social norms offer a “European alternative” to the more unabashed capitalism of the USA. Canada offers European-style social benefits with fairly high levels of taxation and an unparalleled quality of life. Under the Canadian model, business immigrants can enjoy the benefits of a national health care program, affordable first-class education and a national pension system that provides measurable annual income upon retirement.
Business immigration offering permanent admission to Canada comprise of the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP), Quebec Entrepreneur program, Quebec Self-Employed, several Provincial Nominee Entrepreneur programs, the Federal Immigrant Investor Venture Capital (IIVC) Pilot Program and the Federal Start-Up Visa program. While the various entrepreneur and self-employed programs are aimed at individuals with a mid-range personal net worth who intend to establish and operate a business in Canada, the investor programs are suited for high net worth individuals who wish to make a passive investment with no obligation to establish a business.
As well, wealthy business immigrants may buy or establish a new business in Canada and qualify for a temporary work visa, under federal ‘owner-operator’ policies. After a period of time, applicants may qualify for permanent residence under a suitable immigration program.