US Companies can sponsor foreign workers to work for them on full time bases. This requires the employer, the company, to file what’s called the labor certification application with the department of labor. This is a prerequisite to filing the I-140 petition. The department of labor wants to make sure that there are no US local workers who can fill this position. The process of obtaining the labor certification approval takes between 4-7 months, assuming no US workers applied whose experience matches the required duties for the position.  In so many cases, the department of labor approves the case based on proving by the employer that there were no available US workers to fill the position and that the position was detailed in nature that no one in the requested employment area was available to fill the position.

The process requires form the employer to obtain a “prevailing wage “from the department of labor which sets the salary to be paid by the employer for the prospective employee. Later on, the employer must place two newspaper advertisement in a major newspaper covering the area where the employment will take place. There is some additional advertising requirement that the employer must complete, based on the nature of the position. For an example, a company looking to hire a professional requires placing additional ads in different media.

Once the labor certification gets approved, the employer can file what’s called the I-140, immigrant petition for alien worker on behalf of the foreign worker. It is possible that the employer files for I-485, or what’s called the green card petition along with the I-140 petition if the priority date is current which usually happens for advanced degree positions and based on the country of birth of the prospective worker.(some countries cannot file simultaneously such as India, China and Mexico because of the long waiting list for workers applying from these countries).  This process takes a year in most cases and the foreign worker can immediately start working for his new employer. If the employee was overseas, the petition is sent to the American Embassy covering the place where the worker resides.

The green card is given to the worker and his immediate family members, spouse and children less than 21 years of age. Later on, the worker can apply for his US citizenship in 5 years from the date s/he receives the green card, the permanent resident card. finally, the immigration filing fees are usually less than $2000, for the I-140 and the green card.

E- 1 and E-2 Treaty visas This type of visa is available for certain countries that have a treaty agreement with the US. Generally speaking, the E-2 investor visa is for foreign investors who plan to invest some capital, such as $120,000 in opening a new business or buying or sharing an exciting business.

The visa petition is usually adjudicated or reviewed by the consulate where the foreign investor resides. If the investor is already in the US he/she can apply for change of status from inside the US.

The investment can be any legal business for profit, such as opening a diner, grocery store, gas station, car dealership, etc. the investor must show to the immigration that the investment will sustain a living for him and his immediate family.

In other words, the business must generate enough money starting from the minute the investor enters the US (the business doesn’t need to make profit at the beginning). This can be proved by presenting a good rational and reasonable business plan projecting the future financial goals of the investment.

It becomes easier if the investor is investing in an existing business that is already showing positive income, employees on the payroll, etc. For opening new investments, it gets harder to prove the financial future projections without showing a solid business plan. Also, the investor must show that he already committed himself financially into this investment such as wiring the money to the US business account or by opening an escrow account. In other words, there has to be an unequivocal commitment from the foreign investor that the money will be ready on the same day the investor arrives to the US.

The visa is usually given in a two year increment which can be renewed indefinitely as long as the business is in operation, hiring employees, paying taxes, etc. This visa is provided to the foreign investor and his immediate family members such as the spouse and children less than 21 years of age.

The immigration would like to see that the foreign investor has already purchased or leased a premises and made substantial steps toward opening the business upon arrival to the US. This requires some capital to be invested into the business such as purchasing furniture, etc.

Also, the immigration would like to see that you are in the process of hiring local workers which can be presented in your business plan financial forecast. To check countries eligible for the E-2 visa go to http://travel.state.gov/visa/fees/fees_3726.html The investor must show that he/she is the owner of the US business or at least 50%.

Moreover, the investor must prove his ability to run the business by having enough education experience or both. In addition, the immigration looks at the value and cost of the investment, in which the lower the value or cost of the investment or enterprise is the higher the investment must be.

This is required to show that the investment is substantial, this should be applied proportionally. E-1 visa or what’s called the treaty trader visa, applies to investors who are planning to establish an international business, mainly between the US and the foreign county which has the treaty agreement with the US) The rules are similar other then proving the viability of the business internationally.