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How can I get an EB-5 visa if I have a B1/B2 visa?

I am having B1/B2 multiple entry visa valid for 10 years. Have been visiting US several times a year for engineering equipments business for the past 20+ years. Have now identified & would like to establish a business in US with own available funds of 2 Million Dollars through the EB-5 program. What are the best options to establish a business in US with my current visa status (B1/B2) that would eventually lead to an EB-5 visa in shortest possible time? With current status of B1/B2 can I register a company, open a business bank account, buy a warehouse office, employ staff, start buying/selling materials & carry out business on day to day basis?

Answers

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    Roberto Ortiz

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    As a B-1/B-2, you are allowed to register a company, buy a warehouse, and employ staff. However, you cannot work the business. An option for you might be, depending if you are from a treaty country, is to do an E-2 visa so you can start the business operations and then apply for the EB-5. I would be more than happy to discuss this further with you. Please do not hesitate to contact me.

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    B-1/B-2 status does not allow you to actively carry out daily operations of a business. One option may be to explore an H-1B visa to obtain a work authorization but with self-employment option, an independent Board should be created. H-1B visas are also subject to annual quotas and run out relatively quickly. It is unlikely you will be able to extend your B-1/B-2 status in the U.S. when you file I-526 petition because B-1/B-2 status requires non-immigrant intent and I-526 petition carries immigrant intent. It will likely be necessary for you to depart the U.S. before your current status expires and await adjudication of your I-526 petition abroad, and then consular process to return to the U.S. as a conditional permanent resident. Please consult an immigration attorney.

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    Mahsa Aliaskari

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If you need to be in the U.S. and productively engaged in running your business, you should first look at temporary visa options that will provide you with employment authorization. At the same time you can look into and move forward with the EB-5 process for obtaining legal permanent resident status if that is the best option and strategy. I would be happy to discuss potential options.

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    Reza Rahbaran

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You are free to register the company and open a business bank account, buy a warehouse and employ staff. You cannot carry out day to day business. You should hire a manager to run the operation then leave the U.S. and file your EB-5 petition. If you need to return to the U.S. before the adjudication of your EB-5 visa, you could apply for an H1 as long as you have an independent board.

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    Joseph Best

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Good question and it is a bit complicated. You can be engaged in business in the U.S. with a B visa but if you do anything that violates the non-immigrant intent of that visa you could be deemed inadmissible which could complicate your EB-5 process down the line. So you must tread lightly and be extremely cautious about what you actually do while in B status. You cannot be employed in the U.S. with a B visa. If you start a company and then work in it - you would be employed and that would not be legal. So you cannot do that. But you can take all sorts of steps to get the entity up and running so that it can be the target of your invested capital at the right time. This is complicated and you would be extremely foolish to attempt doing any of this without the help of a good lawyer. At every turn there are issues that could delay and complicate the process. Also the situation is extremely fact specific, so again, general internet advice is not a good source of information specific to your situation. The good thing is that by starting your own company in some ways it will be less complicated than the transactional processes required to either invest in someone else''s company or purchase an existing business. Good luck and be careful!

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    Brian Johnson

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It is possible to obtain an EB-5 visa while holding a valid B1/B-2 visa. Investors may file an I-526 either while physically present within the United States or from abroad. A B-1/ B-2 visa holder must have a clear intent to continue foreign residence and actually have a foreign residence. With a B-1 visa, visitors may engage in commercial transactions that do not involve gainful employment. Furthermore, under a B-1 visa, the visitor''s principal place of business and profits must predominantly be in a foreign country. A B-1 visa holder may not come to the U.S. to solicit business. He may, however, solicit sales, negotiate contracts, consult with U.S. business associates in the domestic office of a foreign-based office, and take preliminary steps to set up an investment in the U.S.

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    Lei Jiang

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Generally speaking, with B1/B2, you can register a company, open a business bank account, etc., but you cannot work in U.S. You can apply for EB5, but if you are rejected, it might cause problems later when you apply for B1 again.

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    Marisa Casablanca

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    An individual can change status to permanent residence during the pendency of a B visa status. However, the B visa is only given for 6 months. It is extremely doubtful that the B status would give you enough time to proceed with an EB-5 visa process. You may however, incorporate a company and perform some duties during the B visa status. I would suggest that you change your status to another status, such as E2 or H1B, or L1 during your stay while you pursue the EB-5 visa status. We are available if you need further assistance.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    A B-1 visa status is for temporary business purposes. If you are going to open a U.S. company, employ staff, conduct business, etc., it starts to look like a permanent, not temporary situation. Those activities do not violate per se your B-1 status, but they might be construed as indicating an intention to immigrate, to work, to permanently reside in the United States, which means you are no longer a visitor but an intending immigrant. Once you get your investment up and going, you may petition for classification as an alien entrepreneur (EB-5 investor). Upon petition approval, you may have the option to adjust your status from non-immigrant to immigrant in the United States (if you are in a lawful non-immigrant status in the U.S.) or you can go through the immigrant visa process at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country.

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    Jan H Brown

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can perform all of the tasks you have listed while you are in B1/B2 status, except for managing the daily operations of the business, since you do not have work authorization. Please contact me if you would like my assistance in obtaining your permanent residence.

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    Rachel Lew

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Based on your description of your planned business, you are going to apply through the traditional standard EB-5 petition route rather than through a regional center. This process can take more than one year while your B1/B2 status expires. Because B1/B2 carries non-immigrant intent and EB-5 petition carries immigrant intent, you cannot file an extension of B1/B2 stay within the US after you have filed your EB-5 petition. You have to return to your country to await for the outcome of your EB-5 petition. You can still set up businesses in the U.S. with a B1/B2 status in the U.S. However, it is very risky if your EB-5 petition is denied and it will be difficult for you to apply for B1/B2 non-immigrant visas to enter into the U.S. in the future, because it conflicts with your prior intent of immigration. At that time, no one can manage your U.S. businesses.

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    Charles H Kuck

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Actually forming a business is not complicated but must be done not only with considerations toward immigration EB-5 issues but perhaps more importantly, toward tax issues. Do you have your business plan complete?

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    Tammy Fox-Isicoff

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Through the E-2 visa if you have nationality from a treaty country.

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    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Filing an EB-5 Petition would not negate your ability to travel and do business under the B-1/B-2 visa. Timing wise however, once you''ve been approved for the EB-5 Petition, then you can apply for adjustment of status in the U.S. and also simultaneously apply for a work permit and Advance Parole which would allow you to work and travel during the adjustment processing period. Which means, at that point, you no longer will need to use the B-1/B-2 visa to travel.

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    Shahzad Q Qadri

    RC Creator
    Answered on

    If you are willing to invest $2 million and establish an office in the U.S., the direct EB5 program may be ideal. However, please note that if you apply for an EB5 adjustment while in the U.S. you will not be able to leave the country until the application has been adjudicated; that is taking close to 6 months at this point.

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    Karen Weinstock

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You should really discuss your questions with an attorney who can help you file the EB-5 petitions. There are many things you need to be aware of and we cannot list them all in a short response.

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    Bill Travis Klein

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can move forward on setting up your business, making contracts and business accounts, equipment and space rental as long as you are not receiving any income from your activities here on a B-1/B-2 Visa, but your planning on travel and timing is key. Once you petition for an EB-5, you may have difficulty using your B-1/B-2 Visa to come and go into the U.S. This is a serious venture that should be discussed in detail with an Immigration Attorney before moving forward. A consultation with an Immigration Attorney will be a big help in planning the best time and way to set up your business enterprise.

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