Immigrating to the USA? Here Are the Fastest Visas for Business Investors


If you’re considering immigrating to the United States, you probably have more questions than answers. Some who have already immigrated swear that the most difficult part of the process was deciding on the best about the best way to go about the whole process. There are many paths to immigration, but those who intend to take advantage of business opportunities are able to apply for the fastest visas.

These visas are:

  • L1 Visa

  • E2 Visa

Each of these visas requires a company investment. Let’s take a look at a broad overview of how each visa works and could be beneficial to you. Let’s take a look.

The L-1 Visa

The L-1 visa allows immigrants under two scenarios. Both help existing businesses expand their footprint.

First, it allows an American-based business to transfer a manager or an executive from a foreign office to the US. You are required to have management experience in your industry

Second, it allows a foreign-based business that doesn’t currently have an office in the USA to send over a manager or executive to launch a US-based location.

The company launching the American office must also be able to prove that the investment is sound. You’ll be asked to demonstrate the following:

  • The business is a viable, well-funded business.

  • You have leased or purchased a physical business address.

  • The funding was not gained through illegal activities.

One significant difference between the L-1 and E-2 visas is whether your home country participates in an investment treaty with the United States. Under the L-1 visa, your country is not required to be a treaty country.

Also, let’s be clear that the L-1 visa is not a renewable visa. It is intended to allow the company executive to establish the business. The initial term is for one year, with incremental renewals up to seven years. However, it typically lasts, on average, for three years.

During that time, you must remain in the United States and actively be engaged in day-to-day business operations.

With the L-1 visa, you can apply for a green card, so there is a path to permanent residency in the US.

The E-2 Visa

The E-2 visa enables a foreign national to come to the United States for the purpose of investing a significant amount of funding into an American-based business.

In order to apply for this visa, you must prove the financial viability through

  • Verification of substantial funds. This includes start-up funding, operating capital and funds to pay employees.

  • Proof that funding was not obtained through illegal activities.

The nation from which you are immigrating must participate in an investment treaty with the United States.

You can travel in and out of the US, but you must maintain direct involvement in continued business development. You are not required to have management experience.

The E-2 visa offers a five-year term, but it’s usually issued in 2-year increments. While there is no path to a green card with this visa, it is indefinitely renewable as long as you continue to meet these criteria. However, you must remain committed to departing the United States after you complete your work.

Other Questions About the Fastest Visas for Business Investors

Must I speak English?

Both the L-1 and the E-2 visas require you to demonstrate reasonable proficiency with the English language.

What about your family?

You might be wondering about your family’s immigration status. Under both the L-1 and the E-2 visas, your spouse and dependent children can immigrate to the United States with you. In both cases, your children must be under 21 years old.

How long will it take to get my visa approved?

Both the L-1 visa and E-2 visas are considered among the fastest visas to get approved. In both cases, you will complete your applications. From the time you submit your application, the approval process is generally under four months. However, it could go faster.

Once you submit your application, it the US Consulate thoroughly reviews is. If all is in good order, they will schedule you to come to them for an interview. If you’re approved, you then wait for the visa to be issued.

Each consulate has different processing times. For example. The US Consulate in Toronto, Canada processes applications in a little as three weeks while the US Consulate in Rome, Italy takes about three months.  So, your processing time will be impacted by these variations.

Either way, this is much faster than other visa applications, in general.

Which nations are investment treaty countries?

Below is the U.S. State Department’s most current list of nations that hold investment treaties with the United States. Please note that we included some known inclusion/exclusions. Your immigration attorney will best be able to assist you with further clarification of those exceptions.

  • Albania

  • Argentina

  • Armenia

  • Australia

  • Austria

  • Azerbaijan

  • Bahrain

  • Bangladesh

  • Belgium

  • Bolivia

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Brunei

  • Bulgaria

  • Cameroon

  • Canada

  • Chile

  • China (Taiwan)

  • Colombia

  • Congo

  • Costa Rica

  • Croatia

  • Czech Republic

  • Denmark (doesn’t apply to Greenland)

  • Ecuador

  • Egypt

  • Estonia

  • Ethiopia

  • Finland

  • France (includes French territories Martinique, Reunion, Guadeloupe, French Guiana)

  • Georgia

  • Germany

  • Greece

  • Grenada

  • Honduras

  • Iran

  • Ireland

  • Israel

  • Italy

  • Jamaica

  • Japan (includes the Bonin Islands and Ryukyu Islands)

  • Jordan

  • Kazakhstan

  • Kosovo

  • Kyrgyzstan

  • Latvia

  • Liberia

  • Lithuania

  • Luxembourg

  • Macedonia

  • Mexico

  • Moldova

  • Mongolia

  • Montenegro

  • Morocco

  • Netherlands (applies to Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles)

  • Norway

  • Oman

  • Pakistan

  • Panama

  • Paraguay

  • Philippines

  • Poland

  • Romania

  • Senegal

  • Serbia

  • Singapore

  • Slovenia

  • Spain (applies to all territories held by Spain)

  • Sri Lanka

  • Suriname

  • Sweden

  • Switzerland

  • Thailand

  • Togo

  • Trinidad & Tobago

  • Tunisia

  • Turkey

  • Ukraine

  • United Kingdom (applies only to British Isles, Channel Islands, and Gibraltar)

  • Yugoslavia

To summarize, if your country is on this list, you could potentially qualify for the E-2 visa. However, if it’s not on the list, the L-1 visa would be your best option for a fast immigration process.

The Bottom Line

If you want to invest your dollars in America, the L-1 and E-2 visas both offer you the fastest visas for business investors.

Keep in mind that the US visa process is complicated. Therefore, you must work with your attorney at every stage to ensure that your visa meets all criteria for immigration and to enhance the likelihood of your eventual approval.

We are not immigration attorneys, but we can help you find business opportunities. If you’re interested in learning about American investment opportunities, let us guide you

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