US Visas

B-1/B-2 Tourist Visa

Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. The visitor visa is a nonimmigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the United States temporarily for business (B-1) or for pleasure or medical treatment (B-2). Persons planning to travel to the U.S. for a different purpose, such as students, temporary workers, crewmen, journalists, etc, must apply for a different visa in the appropriate category. Travelers from certain eligible countries may also be able to visit the U.S. without a visa, through the Visa Waiver Pilot Program.

Applicants for visitor visas must show that they qualify under provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The presumption in the law is that every visitor visa applicant is an intending immigrant. Therefore, applicants for visitor visas must overcome this presumption by demonstrating that:

The purpose of their trip is to enter the U.S. for business pleasure, or medical treatment; they plan to remain for a specific, limited period; and they have a residence outside the U.S. as well as other binding ties which will insure their return abroad at the end of the visit.

Applicants for visitor visas should generally apply at the American Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over their place of permanent residence. Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of permanent residence.

Applicants must demonstrate that they are properly classifiable as visitors under U.S. law by:

Evidence which shows the purpose of the trip, intent to depart the United States, and arrangements made to cover the costs of the trip may be provided. It is impossible to specify the exact form the documentation should take since applicants’ circumstances vary greatly.

Those applicants who do not have sufficient funds to support themselves while in the U.S. must present convincing evidence that an interested person will provide support.

Depending on individual circumstances, applicants may provide other documentation substantiating the trip’s purpose and specifying the nature of binding obligations, such as family ties or employment, which would compel their return abroad.

Applicants should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The USCIS has authority to deny admission. Also, the period for which the bearer of a visitor visa is authorized to remain in the United States is determined by the USCIS, not the Department of State Consular Officer.

E-2 Treaty Investor

The E-2 classification is authorized for a national of a country with which the United States has a commercial treaty, who is coming to the United States solely to direct and develop the operations of an enterprise in which he or she has invested, or is actively involved in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital (no hard rule but would probably need to be more than £50,000).

The investment involved must place lawfully acquired, owned, and controlled capital at commercial risk with a profit objective, and be subject to loss if the investment fails.

The investor is a national of a country with whom the U.S. has the requisite treaty or agreement (British, Irish, Pakistani etc;
The alien (or in the case of an employee of a treaty investor who seeks classification as an E-2, the owner of the treaty enterprise) will direct or develop the enterprise. The alien must demonstrate that he controls the enterprise by showing ownership of at least 50% of the enterprise, by possessing operational control through a managerial position or other corporate device or by other means;

The investor has invested in or is actively in the process of investing in the enterprise;
The investment is substantial, i.e. sufficient to ensure the investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise and big enough to support the likelihood that the investor will successfully direct and develop the enterprise;
The investment enterprise is not a marginal enterprise;
If the applicant is not the principal investor, he or she must be employed in an executive or supervisory capacity, or possess skills that are highly specialized and essential to the operations of the commercial enterprise. Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify.  That the applicant intends to depart the U.S. upon the expiration of E-2 status.

E-2 Visas are usually issued for 2 years but can be issued for 5, renewal is dependant upon business continuing to qualify.



L-1 Intracompany Transferees

The L-1 category applies to aliens who work for a company with a parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate in the U.S. These workers come to the U.S. as intracompany transferees who are coming temporarily to perform services either
in a managerial or executive capacity (L-1A) or
which entail specialized knowledge (L-1B)
for a parent, branch, subsidiary or affiliate of the same employer that employed the professional abroad. The employee must have been employed abroad for the corporation, firm, or other legal entity (or an affiliate or subsidiary thereof) on a full-time basis for at least one continuous year out of the last three-year period to qualify. There is currently no annual cap on L-1 visas.

Dependents
Dependents (i.e. spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age) of L-1 workers are entitled to L-2 status with the same restrictions as the principal. Dependents may be students in the U.S. while remaining in L-2 status, however, dependents may not be employed under the L-2 classification.

Evidence of the qualifying relationship between the U.S. and the foreign employer which address ownership and control, such as an annual report, copies of articles of incorporation, financial statements, or stock certificates;

If the alien is coming to the U.S. as a manager or executive (L-1A) to open or to be employed in a new office, also file the petition with evidence that:  Sufficient premises to house the new office have been secured;
The beneficiary has, or upon establishment will have, the qualifying relationship to the foreign employer and the qualifying position; and  The intended U.S. operation will be able to support the executive or managerial position within one year of the approval of the petition. This must be supported by information regarding: the proposed nature of the U.S. office (size and scope, organizational structure, and financial goals),  financial information about the foreign entity (the size of the U.S. investment and the financial ability to remunerate the beneficiary and to commence doing business in the U.S.), and
the organizational structure of the foreign entity.

If the alien is coming to the U.S. in a specialized knowledge capacity (L-1B) to open or to be employed in a new office, also file the petition with evidence that:
Sufficient premises to house the new office have been secured;
The business entity in the U.S is or will be a qualifying organization
The petitioner has the financial ability to compensate the alien beneficiary and to begin doing business in the U.S.

Your UK business must continue to operate in your absence.

L-1 visas are issued on new business for 1 year upon renewal your business should have grown substantially or renewal would not be granted. 

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