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How can both my friend and I obtain U.S. green cards?

We are at the final stage of collecting the documents and arranging the money for an EB-5 visa. I have $3 million and my friend has $2 million. We both want to open a restaurant in a TEA region and we will hire 10 U.S workers. Can I apply for EB-5 and sponsor my friend on L-1A, L-1B, H-1B, or any other visa category? Are there any other options for both of us?

Answers

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    Answered on

    You may both be able to file as EB-5 investors, but you should consult with an immigration attorney to review all your options.

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    Answered on

    You can apply for EB-5 and open the planned restaurant in the typical direct investment manner. However, make sure the business plan for this enterprise is properly done. As for your friend, you may not be able to sponsor him for an L-1 visa because it does not appear he has been working for you in any managerial capacity. Also, unless you have a job that requires a minimum of a Bachelor's degree, it may be virtually impossible to sponsor him for H-1B visa, as well. Before you proceed further, consult an EB-5 attorney to examine your options.

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    Answered on

    If you and your friend are both restaurant entrepreneurs, and one of your primary goals is getting your green cards, it may be worthwhile for each of you to open your own restaurant. For direct EB-5 projects, an established franchise restaurant would be worth considering because they usually have a predictable operational and employment model.

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    Answered on

    Under the current law, each of you and your friends can file an EB-5 I-526 petition if the restaurant can create 20 or more jobs. If the restaurant can only create 10 or more jobs, your friend may be eligible for a L visa or H-1B visa. The L visa and H-1B visa have their own legal requirements. You may find more information about both visas on www.uscis.gov.

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    Answered on

    Both of you could apply, except that each of you has to establish jobs for 10 U.S. workers for each direct EB-5 investment. Yes, your friend could possibly qualify, depending on how the matter is structured, for L-1 or H-1B status assuming there is an H-1B visa number available, given the limitation of H-1B numbers. Other options would be to have one of you qualify through an EB-5 regional center or place your project under a regional center whereby you could count indirect jobs.

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    Answered on

    Presently you can both apply for green cards via the regional center program, which requires about a $500,000 investment each. This may take about two years and it would be best for you both to arrive and start your restaurant having green cards. Alternatively, make an appointment with an immigration lawyer and look for other options, including particularly the E-2 investor visa if you have the passport of one of the 80 eligible countries. Often an investment of as little as $200,000 can qualify you for E-2 investor visas.

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    Answered on

    As both of you are investing over $2 million each, I would suggest that you each file the EB-5 case. The only issue would be if your business could create 20 jobs for the two of you instead of 10 jobs for one of you. As the new President signaled that he will be restricting both L and H visa categories, it will be more difficult to get those even if your friend was qualified in the first place. Please note that L visas are for people who has been working for a multi-national company overseas for at least one year out of the past three years and will be working for an affiliated business that that foreign company, which may or may not work in the scenario you described. H-1B is only for the specialty occupation that requires at least a bachelor''s degree or higher and it is usually difficult to get for a brand new company. With the new restrictions that President Trump contemplates, we expect this process may become more difficult than before.

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    Answered on

    Will your direct EB-5 project be able to create 20 or more jobs? If so, and you both invest the required amount (i.e. both invest $500,000) for a TEA, then both of you may qualify for an EB-5 visa based on investing in the same restaurant. Other visa options are limited based on various criteria, so more information would be needed from you. The H-1B visa is severely limited right now because there are not enough visas allocated each year to the number of eligible potential employees.

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    Answered on

    There are a few different structuring options available, one of them would be an EB-5 and an L-1. We need a lot more information regarding the future plans of the business, the past experience for you and your friend, etc.

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    Answered on

    There several options for you and your friend: 1) Both you and your friend can apply as the EB-5 immigrant investors in the business, but that will require both of you to invest a minimum of $500,000 each, and will have to create minimum of 10 full-time jobs each (so a total of 20 jobs). If that is not possible, 2) One of you can process for the EB-5 immigrant investor in the business, and the business can employ the other and indeed serve as the petitioner in hiring/sponsoring for a work-authorized visa (L-1, H-1) OR, 3) for a nonimmigrant investor visa (E-2) if applicable. The business can also sponsor/petition for permanent employment (green card).

  • Avatar
    Answered on

    If you are investing the money indicated into the restaurant, you could both apply under EB-5, but then you will need to create 20 new jobs within three years or so. Without analyzing where you and he have worked overseas and the ownership structure, it is impossible to opine on other options.

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    Answered on

    The action you should take today is to consult with a qualified investment immigration attorney. Do not delay as we do have major changes coming in EB-5. Online queries are fine, but they are not a substitute for one-on-one counsel with a qualified attorney.

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