Updated: December 12, 2017
This series of short articles will describe three routes often taken by businesspeople and investors who seek to leverage a business, business experience, or funds available for investment, into an immigration status allowing long-term residence in the United States. Finally, we will discuss a fourth and less-used route, that of the alien of extraordinary ability in business.
First let us clarify some terms that will be used throughout these articles. A person who has been lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States, whether he or she has obtained that privilege by means of an immigrant visa or adjustment of status, is known as a ‘lawful permanent resident.’ The informal term is ‘green card holder.’ ‘Green card’ is a shorthand term for the US Government-issued document (a Form I-551) evidencing the privilege of permanent residence.
A person may live in the United States for many years on a variety of nonimmigrant visas and/or statuses without becoming a ‘lawful permanent resident’ as that term is used in immigration law. It is important to distinguish between those (nonimmigrant) visas that grant an alien the privilege of long-term residence in the United States and an ‘immigrant visa,’ that grants the privilege of permanent or indefinite residence once admitted on that visa. (Permanent residence can also be acquired through adjustment of status in the US.)
The four options that are the focus of this suite of articles will be of particular interest to persons in business, or persons who have funds available for investment. For a discussion of other generally-available immigrant options, please see our Immigrant Visas section.
- Multinational Executives and Managers – EB-1-3
- Treaty Traders (E-1) and Treaty Investors (E-2)
- Immigrant Investor: The ‘Million Dollar Green Card’
- Extraordinary Ability in Business
We hope that these articles will be of interest and assistance, but they cannot possibly cover all permutations of the law and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice tailored to the specifics of your situation. If you believe that legal advice would be helpful you should consult a qualified US immigration attorney.