From Startup to Citizenship - A Step by Step Guide
Rob Turner

The American dream of owning a business isn’t limited to the country’s citizens. No citizenship or residency is needed to open a U.S. startup. However, there are regulations and procedures that non-citizens must adhere to in order to realize their dream.

If you intend to reside and work in the US, you are probably looking into all the intricate rules that will make this a reality. The amount of documentation that is necessary might seem complicated and perplexing, but you can make it through the process.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for using a startup to gain citizenship in the U.S.

Get a Business Green Card

In essence, a green card is a permanent resident card that enables foreign nationals to reside and work in the United States. The permanent resident card that is issued is known as a "green card" since it has a green title.

A Green Card or Visa is necessary to live and work in the U.S. (or to earn income from your startup while living there). The specific Visa you require will depend on your circumstances. Here are some examples:

EB-5 Visa Classification

The EB-5 visa program enables foreign nationals who are prepared to make significant financial investments into a new business to live in the USA, so they can work on that startup.

The high investment required for this green card is the reason it is less common. To be eligible, you must invest at least $1 million, according to the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services).

The minimum will, however, be lowered to $500,000 if you are launching your firm in a remote location or a region with a high unemployment rate. You will also need to demonstrate that the new company will create 10 full-time jobs.

This can be out of reach for many overseas startups. However, if you have the money, it is still a fantastic option to leverage your business to obtain a green card. If you need help with applying for an EB-5 green card, the EB5 Affiliate Network is a national direct EB-5 project manager that can offer wholesome guidance.

E-2 Visa

Applying for an E-2 Visa is a popular path that many non-citizens eventually take when setting up a business in the US. You (along with a spouse and kids who sign up for the E-2 Visa) are permitted to live and work in the US while your business is operating and profitable. This Visa will end its residency permissions as soon as your business ceases to operate.

The performance of your company ultimately determines whether you will be granted this visa in terms of the type of business you possess. It is crucial that your firm achieves success since it will determine if you may remain in the US under the Visa’s conditions.

The E-2 Visa is granted with the presumption that you will put a significant amount of money into the firm and that it will be successful over the long term and generate enough revenue to support you and your family entirely. A carefully organized company strategy that provides evidence of profitability is also necessary. There are no restrictions on extending this 2-year (maximum) Visa; you only need to apply again and get approved.

However, keep in mind that this is only one example and that there are more possibilities. Since the E-2 Visas contingency depends on the company's performance, many people are hesitant to apply for one. The family would no longer be permitted to occupy the country if something were to happen to the business (i.e., if it collapses).

L1-A Visa

Another choice that is very advantageous for those who already have a business and want to relocate themselves (together with their family) or another executive in the company permanently to the United States is the L1-A Visa.

This needs prior business experience, so make sure that you have proof of your present company's accomplishments and can demonstrate the company's desire in relocating someone (on its behalf) to the US in order to start doing business and be profitable there.

Green Card Alternatives

If none of the aforementioned green card possibilities apply to you, all hope is not lost. You can attempt to obtain a green card and permanent residence in the US in other ways.

A family member, employment work, being a qualified refugee or asylum seeker, and more are among the ways to qualify for a green card. On the USCIS website, you may get the whole list of eligible categories.