Many immigrant families in California understand that visa regulations for the United States do not typically work to the direct benefit of entrepreneurs. However, there are several paths that entrepreneurs may use to enter America.
United States immigration law includes treaties with some countries that allow its citizens to enter the country for three months without a visa. Foreign entrepreneurs who live in a country that does not benefit from a visa waiver program will need to obtain one to reside in the United States.
The B-1 visa allows immigrants to enter America to attend events, meetings, contract signings and other business-related activities. The length of time an entrepreneur can remain in America on a B-1 visa varies, but these visas are usually good for no longer than six months.
Several visas allow immigrants to remain in America for work purposes. Entrepreneurs can benefit from these visas also. The H1-B is a visa program designed for immigrants who possess bachelor’s degrees. There are 65,000 of these visas available annually. An additional 20,000 H1-B visas are set aside for immigrants who earned master’s degrees from an American university. An employer must apply for the employee; an applicant cannot be self-employed. This fact makes it necessary for the entrepreneur to work with a partner to gain access to the country under the H1-B visa program.
The L-1 visa is for the benefit of employees transferred from a foreign company to a U.S. subsidiary. Applicants must be employees of the company for one full year before becoming eligible for this visa program. This visa allows a spouse to accompany the applicant and is valid for one year.
An O-1 visa is often difficult for entrepreneurs to secure. The visa program allows exceptional people in fields like the arts, science, sports and business to reside in the United States. The difficulty lies in proving the possession of exceptional ability. Prizes, awards, invitations to exclusive societies and recognition from the media are some ways to demonstrate exceptional ability.
Immigration law can be complicated and is in a constant state of change. Immigrants who need questions answered regarding their immigration status or the immigration process as a whole may benefit from a consultation with an immigration attorney.