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One immigrates with great difficulty. Our immigration laws are very restrictive.
There are 5 ways to come to the U.S. to live permanently. They are through family, through employment, through asylum, through investment, or through the lottery.
For family, it must be immediate family such as U.S. Citizen spouse or U.S. Citizen children over 21 in order to be able to come immediately. U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident parents or U.S. Citizen siblings, or Lawful Permanent Resident spouses can also help you, but the wait for that is about 4 to 12 years or so.
Through employment, you would have to generally prove that you would not be taking away a job from a U.S. worker and the less experience and education you have, the harder that is to do.
Through asylum, you must prove that you will be persecuted, tortured or killed if you stay in your country and that this will happen to you because of your nationality, race, religion, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group, not because you would run the same risk as anyone else in your country to fall victim to a crime or bad economic conditions.
Through investment, you are looking at generally $1,000,000.00 for a residency, or if you want a temporary visa, probably at least $100,000 or $200,000 investment to start.
And through the lottery, it would be very difficult to win one of the 50,000 visas available per year.
If you own a company in the UK and open a branch here that can also lead to a green card.
If you invest a substantial amount of money you can get an investor visa which can be renewed indefinitely as long as the business is viable and showing profit.
To qualify as a Treaty Trader (E-1):
The firm in the US must have the nationality of a treaty country.
The applicant must be a national of the treaty country.
The international trade must be "substantial"; there must be a sizable and continuing volume of trade.
The trade must be principally between the US and the treaty country, which is defined to mean that more than 50% of the firm's international trade involved must be between the US and the country of the applicant's nationality.
Trade means the international exchange of goods, money, services, or technology. Title of items must pass from one party to another.
The applicant must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possess highly specialized skills essential to the operation of the firm.
The term "trade" is defined to include commercial intercourse in goods and trade in services and technology. This includes banking, insurance, transportation, tourism, communications, data processing, advertising, accounting, design and engineering, management consulting, technology transfer, and other measurable services which can be traded.
To qualify as a Treaty Investor (E-2):
The investor (either a real or corporate person) must be a national of a treaty country.
The investment must be substantial. It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. The percentage of investment for a low-cost enterprise must be higher than the percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise.
The investment must be a real operating enterprise. Speculative or idle investment does not qualify.
The investment must not be marginal. It must generate significantly more income than needed to provide a living to the investor and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States.
The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. For the purpose of measuring the investment, loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not counted.
The investor must be coming to the US to develop and direct the enterprise. If applicants are not the principal investors, they must be employed as a supervisor, executive, or as the possessor of highly specialized skills.
. If the value of the business or the cost to start it over $3M, a minimum 30% investment is required.
You have to have at least 51% ownership. You will also need to showthat you have the necessary education and/or education to manage the investment. You will have to show what your role will be in the day to day management. You need to demonstrate your intent to leave the country when you are no longer invested in the business (this is done by a letter stating such). The e-2 investment visa is normally granted for 2 years and renewable every 2 years for as long as you are invested in the business. You cannot arbitrarily change business. Spouses can work on their visas and children can go to school
The Department of State has a very comprehensive website that gives a wealth of valuable information. http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1273.html
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