Moving to the United States offers exciting opportunities for business owners and their families. The country’s robust economy, diverse market, and welcoming environment make it an attractive destination. However, understanding the visa options available is crucial for a smooth transition. Here are some of the top visa choices for business owners and their families planning to move to the US.


**1. E-2 Treaty Investor Visa**


The E-2 visa is an excellent option for entrepreneurs from countries that have a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. This visa allows investors to enter and work in the US based on a substantial investment in a US business.


– **Investment Requirement:** There is no fixed minimum, but the investment must be substantial enough to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise.

– **Duration:** Typically granted for two years, with unlimited extensions as long as the business is operational.

– **Family:** Spouses and unmarried children under 21 can accompany the visa holder. Spouses can apply for work authorization, and children can attend school.


**2. L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa**


The L-1 visa is ideal for business owners who want to transfer an executive, manager, or employee with specialized knowledge from a foreign office to an existing or new office in the US.


– **Eligibility:** The employee must have worked for the foreign office for at least one year in the three years preceding the transfer.

– **Duration:** L-1A visas for executives and managers are valid for up to seven years, while L-1B visas for employees with specialized knowledge are valid for up to five years.

– **Family:** Spouses and children under 21 can accompany the visa holder and can apply for work and school authorizations, respectively.


**3. EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program**


The EB-5 visa is perfect for those seeking permanent residency in the US through investment. This program requires a significant financial commitment but offers the benefit of a green card for the investor and their immediate family.


– **Investment Requirement:** Typically $1.8 million, or $900,000 if investing in a targeted employment area (high unemployment or rural area).

– **Job Creation:** The investment must create at least 10 full-time jobs for US workers.

– **Family:** Spouses and unmarried children under 21 are eligible for green cards and can live, work, and study in the US.


**4. E-1 Treaty Trader Visa**


The E-1 visa is for nationals of countries with which the US maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation. It is designed for business owners engaged in substantial trade between the US and their home country.


– **Trade Requirement:** More than 50% of the international trade involved must be between the US and the treaty country.

– **Duration:** Typically granted for two years, with extensions available as long as the trade continues.

– **Family:** Spouses and unmarried children under 21 can accompany the visa holder, with spouses eligible for work authorization and children for schooling.


**5. H-1B Visa for Specialty Occupations**


While commonly associated with skilled workers, the H-1B visa can also be an option for business owners who meet the eligibility criteria.


– **Eligibility:** Requires a job offer in a specialty occupation that requires a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specific field.

– **Duration:** Initially valid for three years, extendable up to six years.

– **Family:** Spouses and children under 21 can accompany the visa holder and apply for school authorization, with spouses eligible for work authorization under the H-4 dependent visa category.


**Consulting an International Immigration Lawyer**


Given the complexities of US immigration law, consulting an international immigration lawyer is highly advisable. These professionals can help navigate the application process, ensure compliance with all requirements, and increase the chances of a successful visa application. An experienced lawyer can also provide personalized advice tailored to your unique circumstances, helping you choose the best visa option and guiding you through every step of the process.


**Final Thoughts**


Moving to the US as a business owner offers unparalleled opportunities for growth and success. With the right visa, you can establish your business, enjoy the vibrant American market, and provide your family with new opportunities. By exploring these visa options and seeking professional legal assistance, you can make your move to the US a smooth and successful journey.