+1-800-997-1228
Questions & Answers

How can I use a business created on a B-1/B-2 visa to get an EB-5 visa?

I own an active business in the United States, which I created on a B-1/B-2 visa. I run it from my home country. While I was researching the EB-5 program to get a visa to stay in the United States, I found out that I cannot work with my B-1/B-2 visa. Does this mean everything I''ve been doing is wrong and I have to shut down my business? Is it OK if I run my business from another country with my current visa? Can I still use the business to get an EB-5 visa?

Answers

  • Avatar

    Karen-Lee Pollak

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Based on the limited information, if you are not running the business from the United States and are not receiving a salary, you should be okay. Yes, you should be able to obtain an EB-5 visa through your U.S. business if you have invested the required amount.

  • Avatar

    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Certainly B visas are not meant for operating a business in the United States. If you need to turn this business into an EB-5 direct investment, it may be difficult because you are already in violation of law. However, your plan should be to reorganize the business to meet the requirements of incorporation in the state where you want to operate the business, then ensure that the emerging business and its plan will comply with the EB-5 requirements. Advisably, consult an EB-5 attorney before proceeding further in order to comply with law and avoid a continuous violations of law even if it is unwitting.

  • Avatar

    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Creation of a business in the United States is allowed under B-1 status; employment is not. If you otherwise qualify for EB-5 classification, the fact that you simply created the business in the United States while here as a visitor will not disqualify you for EB-5.

  • Avatar

    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The B-1 allows for some business activities, but you cannot work in the United States. If you structure the business properly and make the required investment, it may be possible to turn that business into an EB-5 business.

  • Avatar

    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    As long as you did not receive compensation while you were in the United States, you should be alright. I would need to know more specifics about the business and how you "run" it from overseas.

  • Avatar

    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    More information is necessary to determine how you manage a business from abroad. If you are an owner and have a manager appointed to run a business for you, then you should not have issues to use earnings or distributions from this business as a lawful source of EB-5 investment funds and as a platform for the EB-5 visa. Generally, if you have not engaged in unauthorized activities while on the B-1/B-2 visa in the United States, such as unauthorized employment (including self-employment in your business), then you have not violated the terms of your B-1/B-2 visa and the source of funds for EB-5 is clean. You should have an attorney knowledgeable in corporate law and immigration law to review your business documentation to determine its structure, and review the source of funds and other qualifications for the EB-5 visa. For a direct EB-5 investment through your own business, you are generally required to invest $500,000 if a business is in a Targeted Employment Area or rural area, or otherwise $1 million, and create at least 10 full-time permanent (at least 35 hours a week) jobs with your EB-5 investment. You must maintain jobs during the two years of conditional permanent residence (when your I-526 petition is approved and you enter the United States on an immigrant visa as a conditional permanent resident).

  • Avatar

    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    As long as you are not "working" in the United States, as far as the operation of the business you created in the United States is concerned, you are not violating your B-1/B-2 visa status. If the requirements for the EB-5 immigrant investor processing are met by your invested business in the United States, you should be able to use that to apply for the EB-5.

  • Avatar

    Raymond Lahoud

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can apply for the EB-5 visa. As for what you did on your B-1/B-2 visa, what matters is what you did when you were in the United States on the B-1/B-2 visa, not what you are doing while abroad.

  • Avatar

    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Assuming you have maintained your B-1/B-2 visa status, you will have a number of options, although if you wish to stay in the United States, it would be highly advisable to obtain an alternative nonimmigrant temporary visa status that would provide you with work authorization. There is nothing to prevent you from filing an EB-5 investor petition on Form I-526 while you are in the United States, assuming your investment in your business qualifies as a direct EB-5 investment. This would require you to have created at least 10 jobs and to have invested at least $1 million unless your enterprise is located in a Targeted Economic Area (TEA). If you cannot maintain your status and you need to leave, it is theoretically possible for you to maintain your business from another country since you are by definition required to have multiple employees in any event. You should obviously consult, preferably with an attorney board certified in immigration and nationality law with substantial experience in representing EB-5 investors.

  • Avatar

    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    While you can set up a business on a B-1 visa, you cannot run it on a B-1 visa. You need to consult with an immigration lawyer to see what other options you may have. If the money was earned while you abroad, that could be clean money. Yes, you can ruin the business from abroad because you not working in the United States without permission. You need to have an EB-5 lawyer check your source of funds.

  • Avatar

    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Possibly, as long as you have not been working without authorization in the United States you should be OK. I would need to analyze the facts.

Add your comment

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment.