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Foreign Entrepreneurs: How to Obtain US Visas


Are you a foreign entrepreneur thinking of
living here in the US? In this video we’re going to share with you
some options coming up. Hi, this is Kai with the Kai Wong team helping
you better understand everything you need know about New York City real estate. Today, I have the pleasure of introducing
you to Steve Maggi. He’s the attorney from SMA Law Firm and immigration
attorney here in New York City. How are you doing today? Doing Great, Kai. Thanks for having me. Thanks for being here, Steve. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Well, I’m an immigrant just like you. I came here when I was five and I decided
to dedicate my professional life to helping other immigrants maneuver through this complex
immigration system. Started this from 15 years ago. We do all things immigration and our chief
focuses working with entrepreneurs and foreign companies that want to launch here in the
US. Got it. Well, thank you so much for taking the time
to be here today. It’s a pleasure. What we get asked a lot is there’s a lot of
successful business people in foreign countries that are looking to immigrate here. A lot of them, they’re not aware of what options
they have available to them. They’ve only heard about options like EB. For an entrepreneur from a foreign country,
are there other options available to them? Absolutely. Like I said, the crux of our practice is working
with foreign entrepreneurs. There are essentially two main paths. One is the E-2 visa based on treaties with
the US, and the other one is the L-1 that’s called the Intra Company Transfer Visa. Tell us a little bit about each one of them. The E-2 is based on bilateral treaties that
are signed between the US and the other member countries. Right now there are 80 E-2 treaties in effect. First one was signed right after the war of
1812 with UK in 1815 and the most recent ones that go into effect on May 1st just a few
weeks ago was the one with Israel. Essentially that allows people from those
countries who are holding passports from those countries to set up a US company and apply
for up to a five year visa to run a US company, which creates jobs. Okay, great. What about the L-1 you were mentioning? The L-1 is essentially, we use it as a default
many times. For people who don’t come from those E-2 countries. That’s significant because you’re talking
about the majority of the world’s population that does not qualify because none of the
bricks countries have a treaty. That’s Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China,
and South Africa. None of the nationals holding only those passports
in qualify. The work around here is essentially to set
up a foreign company and after one year, if it’s going successfully, you can launch a
US subsidiary and then transferred to the US to run US operations. Okay. Besides setting up of a foreign company, is
there any difference in terms of the timeframe it takes for applying through the E-2 versus
the L-1 or cost or anything else that differentiates them? Yeah, absolutely. There’s a lot of advantages. Like I said, our default essentially when
we can is to apply for E-2 and there’s specific reasons for that. One is that their applications are filed with
the US embassies and consulates, which are easier to get approved because they don’t
come under the mandate of our administration. They work independently. Their mandate is really to increase business
between the country that they’re in in the United States. The politics are different, so the chances
of success are much higher. For a lot of countries you have a five year
visa right from the start so you can grow your company organically. The costs are also less because all you’re
paying for is essentially a visa interview fee. The process is quicker and more efficient. It’s also less expensive. L-1 is used for defaults where E-2 is not
possible. For example, if you have a Dutch company that
sets up an operation here, but they want to sponsor someone that’s not Dutch, they don’t
qualify for E-2. The nationality has to match the majority
owner of the US company. Then they can send essentially any national
from any of their branches from another country that have origins in another country to the
US under L-1 so sometimes you have companies that are using both. Steve, what happens with people with dual
citizenship? For example, if they’re citizens to a country,
that falls in the E-2 category and also L-1 category? What happens at that point? Okay, so if they fall into an E-2, essentially
they can use any of their passports to qualify. You have Chinese nationals who don’t have
E-2 treaties, but that obtain citizenship from Grenada, which is something that’s been
happening pretty extensively the past few years. Since Grenada has a treaty, those Chinese
nationals are treated as nationals of Grenada for the purposes of their petitions and can
you get five-year visas so they don’t have to wait with all the backlogs that they have
with other potential visa categories. L-1 has no nationality requirements, you could
literally, if you have a multinational company in Sri Lanka or in San Marino or in the smallest
islands, smallest country on the planet, as long as you have a legitimate functioning
business and you’re expanding and have the resources to expand to the US, you could use
the L-1 to transfer employees to the US. Quick question with that. With that example with the Chinese foreign
national that has dual citizenship in Grenada, do they have to have a business operating
in Grenada at that time or in in China? No, because one of the, that’s a great question. One of the differentiators between E-2 and
L-1 is there’s no requirement for E-2 to have a foreign business. That’s why it’s also called the Startup Visa. You can literally just have a concept or capital. You can even invest in an existing franchise
as long as you’ve set up a US entity and you fund it properly, then you can apply for E-2
as long as you have a passport from an E-2 country. For the potential viewer that’s looking at
the video, how can they find out if their country falls under the E-2 or L-1? Do they need to speak to an immigration attorney
to reconfirm that? Well, like I said, for L-1 there’s no nationality
requirements, but you have to have an existing foreign entity that has existed for at least
one year. The individual has to have worked for that
company as a manager or executive for at least one year. Then it has to be properly funded in order
to create the US and to do the US entity has to be created in both cases in order to be
able to sponsor the visa petition. Got It. Thank you so much for sharing that information. Is there anything else that you would like
to share with the viewers? Yeah. I think it’s important to know that this is
a country that still supports entrepreneurs and that no matter what country you’re from,
you can live your dream of setting up a US company and launching your startup here. It’s just a question of which path you take
and how much time and money you have to invest. You’re saying the US is still open for business? Absolutely. Okay, perfect. Well, thank you so much for sharing your information. I really appreciate it. Thank you, Kai. Thank you so much for watching. If you’re new here, consider subscribing. On this channel, we share with you buying
and selling tips, market updates, and neighborhood guides. If there’s any questions that you have or
comments with regards to this video or something you want us to cover in future video, please
leave it in the comments below and we’ll see you in the next video. Talk to you soon. Bye. Bye.

Yvette Parker

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