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Author Topic: How to Immigrate from EU  (Read 16533 times)

teemuv

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How to Immigrate from EU
« on: January 05, 2010, 01:22:23 pm »

I think this topic will fit for us who live inside the EU and who would like to immigrate. I live in Finland and would like to immigrate so this topic shall be a place where I gather information as I find it. I gladly hear what others think of this or if someone has fresh new ideas how to get people moved.

About me
I don't work for an international company that could sponsor me to get me a working permit. I'm an ordinary "Joe" working in the IT field with over seven years of experience in that field. I do not have high education background nor am I not a genius.

What's the goal?
Get permit from the all mighty Federal Government to work, move to New Hampshire, buy a house (or an apartment), live free and prosper by having a job. After some time obtain citizenship via naturalization.

What's the problem?
Visiting United States is easy. If anything you have to get a Visa. Working in United States seems to be extremely hard. I'm able to get into the States anytime I want to but I'm not permitted to do any work at all without a working permit.

The options
  • Diversity Immigrant Lottery (Green Card Lottery)
  • H-1B Visa with US company sponsorship
  • E-2 Investment visa (requires capital investment)

Diversity Immigrant Lottery
Diversity Immigrant Lottery, also known as Green Card Lottery, is the easiest method for me. It's fairly simple. It's open yearly via electronic form that asks like a dozen simple questions and asks a good quality photo of yourself. It takes about 6 months for the lottery machine to pick up the winners. Winners are notified via snail mail with further instructions. This should also be the cheapest option of them all. The big downside is that the amount of applicants is simply put huge! We're talking over 10 million applicants each year while only 50 000 are picked as winners of a Green Card. I would not hold breath for this.

Winners will have to go through some interview process and pay some fees.

Update (July 2010): I managed to actually win in the lottery. Few months more before I know for sure if I actually get the permits.

H-1B Visa with US company sponsorship
H-1B is not an immigrant visa per se but with this you can actually work in the States and apply for a permanent resident status (Green Card) while happily working. Now this is truly an option but keep in mind you have to get company on board sponsoring your visa, which costs money: $500 for anti-fraud fee and $1500 ($750 for employers with less than 25 full-time employees) for an education and training fee. That's $1 250 minimum. Ok I'm prepared to pay that my self it that's what it takes.

But the first thing is to get someone to sponsor you in the first place. On Free Talk Live they (might have been Ian) said that for some reason NH companies hire people who are local, live nearby or those who visit the company HQ's. Visiting isn't totally out of question, but it'd be nice to know where to ask for sponsorship.

E-2 Investment Visa
E-2 visa is what I would call investment visa. Simply it means investing capital into a business in the US. It is not an immigrant visa, so you can work and live in the US but you will not become a US citizen via naturalization. Requirement for the business ownership is that you own 50% of it. The amount to invest has to be "substantial" but no definite amount is set and various sources say it to be around $100,000. Some sources claim it to be as low as $25,000 but I find that to be a bit too low to be true.

You can petition to become immigrant by filing CIS Form I-526 (Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur). Currently the processing fee for this is $1,435.

Requirements
  • Invest around $100,000 to business
  • Own 50% of that business
  • It has to be a real business

Work to be done
This list will be updated once I've completed the task.

  • Research possibilities for H-1B sponsorships
  • Post some job applications and see what happens
  • Ask from local embassy for more instructions
« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 02:56:49 am by teemuv »
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Soduka

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Re: How to Immigrate from EU
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2010, 03:47:36 pm »

I believe the proper phrase would be "Emigrate from EU".

 ;D
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JasonPSorens

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Re: How to Immigrate from EU
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2010, 05:06:18 pm »

I believe the proper phrase would be "Emigrate from EU".

 ;D

Hm, I don't think so, because actually "immigrate" here is in reference to the act of entering the U.S., not the act of leaving the E.U., for which there are no particular requirements. ;)
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rossby

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Re: How to Immigrate from EU
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2010, 06:05:49 pm »

What's the problem?
Visiting United States is easy. If anything you have to get a Visa. Working in United States seems to be extremely hard. I'm able to get into the States anytime I want to but I'm not permitted to do any work at all without a working permit.

Generally speaking in the U.S., "work" means to work for another person as an employee. If you own or operate your own business (or purchase a pre-existing business) you will find many of the problems associated with obtaining a "work permit" magically disappear. Of course, those routes often require you to expend not insignificant resources and to have an entrepreneurial mindset.
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teemuv

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Re: How to Immigrate from EU
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2010, 01:45:09 am »

Generally speaking in the U.S., "work" means to work for another person as an employee. If you own or operate your own business (or purchase a pre-existing business) you will find many of the problems associated with obtaining a "work permit" magically disappear. Of course, those routes often require you to expend not insignificant resources and to have an entrepreneurial mindset.
This would be the E-2 Visa. I've seen you talk about obtaining green card via investment of $100,000 to $150,000 somewhere here in the FSP forums. The reason why I didn't consider this as an option was because Wikipedia, the mother of all trustworthy facts, stated the minimum acceptable investment limit to be $200,000. But now after taking a second look someone on the discussion page of that Wikipedia page says that $35,000 - $100,000 has been acceptable limit. Here they say that even $25,000 would be enough, here they say the absolute minimum is $40,000 and here they say the minimum is $50,000. I would guesstimate for the proper figure to be around $75,000 to $100,000. The term used is "substantial" but I guess that is flexible and depends on the status of US economics.

So if I have the proper amount of money I could either invest that to an existing business or start up one of my own. Now apparently investing into an existing business I would have to own 50% of it in order to qualify.
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rossby

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Re: How to Immigrate from EU
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2010, 03:01:28 am »

This would be the E-2 Visa.

There are others. You just have to think creatively.

I've seen you talk about obtaining green card via investment of $100,000 to $150,000 somewhere here in the FSP forums.

Did I really say that much? There's no set figure.
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teemuv

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Re: How to Immigrate from EU
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2010, 03:33:00 am »

This would be the E-2 Visa.

There are others. You just have to think creatively.
I'm trying to keep open mind :) For example I would happily invest into a business if that would bring me work permit (and with time immigration possibilities), employ me and finally after some time repay my investment. This is an option that I'm currently exploring. Do you have other ideas that I could check?

I've seen you talk about obtaining green card via investment of $100,000 to $150,000 somewhere here in the FSP forums.

Did I really say that much? There's no set figure.
I found the thread. But as you now said, and in that thread, dollars are not the only thing that counts.
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rossby

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Re: How to Immigrate from EU
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2010, 04:00:36 am »

For example I would happily invest into a business if that would bring me work permit (and with time immigration possibilities), employ me and finally after some time repay my investment.

The general idea for purchasing a business is that you'll be working in it.

I found the thread. But as you now said, and in that thread, dollars are not the only thing that counts.

Oh, yeah. I just don't hear about those often. Perhaps not because they wouldn't be approved, but businesses are exactly cheap. I've heard as low as 45,000. I don't think there's a firm number.
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greap

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Re: How to Immigrate from EU
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2010, 11:55:06 am »

This would be the E-2 Visa. I've seen you talk about obtaining green card via investment of $100,000 to $150,000 somewhere here in the FSP forums. The reason why I didn't consider this as an option was because Wikipedia, the mother of all trustworthy facts, stated the minimum acceptable investment limit to be $200,000. But now after taking a second look someone on the discussion page of that Wikipedia page says that $35,000 - $100,000 has been acceptable limit. Here they say that even $25,000 would be enough, here they say the absolute minimum is $40,000 and here they say the minimum is $50,000. I would guesstimate for the proper figure to be around $75,000 to $100,000. The term used is "substantial" but I guess that is flexible and depends on the status of US economics.

So if I have the proper amount of money I could either invest that to an existing business or start up one of my own. Now apparently investing into an existing business I would have to own 50% of it in order to qualify.

I looked in to this option a few years ago and my immigration attorney advised that any investment under $200,000 would very likely not to be granted. Also you need to invest a total of at least $500,000 and create at least 5 jobs to convert to permanent resident.
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rossby

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Re: How to Immigrate from EU
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2010, 01:25:11 pm »

I looked in to this option a few years ago and my immigration attorney advised that any investment under $200,000 would very likely not to be granted. Also you need to invest a total of at least $500,000 and create at least 5 jobs to convert to permanent resident.

First, there's really no set number on the amount of the investment. They will probably never publish a number. Second, the numbers you cite apply to someone applying for an EB-5. Owning and operating a business is not (quite) the same thing as investing under EB-5 (the latter, you can be a passive investor). For the owner-operator, once here there are other paths to permanent residence.
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teemuv

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Re: How to Immigrate from EU
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2010, 01:55:06 pm »

First, there's really no set number on the amount of the investment. They will probably never publish a number. Second, the numbers you cite apply to someone applying for an EB-5. Owning and operating a business is not (quite) the same thing as investing under EB-5 (the latter, you can be a passive investor). For the owner-operator, once here there are other paths to permanent residence.
Yes $200,000 and $500,000 sounded familiar to EB-5.

D. B. Ross, do you happen to have knowledge related to owning shared business with someone from the US and still obtaining E-2? Like owning 50/50 of the business in question?
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Dreepa

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Re: How to Immigrate from EU
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2010, 01:58:49 pm »

This would be the E-2 Visa. I've seen you talk about obtaining green card via investment of $100,000 to $150,000 somewhere here in the FSP forums. The reason why I didn't consider this as an option was because Wikipedia, the mother of all trustworthy facts, stated the minimum acceptable investment limit to be $200,000. But now after taking a second look someone on the discussion page of that Wikipedia page says that $35,000 - $100,000 has been acceptable limit. Here they say that even $25,000 would be enough, here they say the absolute minimum is $40,000 and here they say the minimum is $50,000. I would guesstimate for the proper figure to be around $75,000 to $100,000. The term used is "substantial" but I guess that is flexible and depends on the status of US economics.

So if I have the proper amount of money I could either invest that to an existing business or start up one of my own. Now apparently investing into an existing business I would have to own 50% of it in order to qualify.

I looked in to this option a few years ago and my immigration attorney advised that any investment under $200,000 would very likely not to be granted. Also you need to invest a total of at least $500,000 and create at least 5 jobs to convert to permanent resident.

I know 5 people who will fill the 5 jobs you create if they just have to be 'jobs'....
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rossby

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Re: How to Immigrate from EU
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2010, 02:32:00 pm »

D. B. Ross, do you happen to have knowledge related to owning shared business with someone from the US and still obtaining E-2? Like owning 50/50 of the business in question?

IIRC, co-owning a business is allowed but the minimum interest in the venture by the non-immigrant, non-permanent resident must be 50% or more. So, that's a lower bound. I have not worked on a case of shared ownership like that. I would say, off the cuff, they're probably less common "in the wild" because most applicants who are coming to the U.S. already have some connections with people here. Often there is a more convenient visa path to achieve their specific goal (e.g. visa through a family, easier to get a labor certification, job offer, etc.) While co-owning any venture is fraught with its own peril... ;)
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greap

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Re: How to Immigrate from EU
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2010, 01:55:59 am »

First, there's really no set number on the amount of the investment. They will probably never publish a number. Second, the numbers you cite apply to someone applying for an EB-5. Owning and operating a business is not (quite) the same thing as investing under EB-5 (the latter, you can be a passive investor). For the owner-operator, once here there are other paths to permanent residence.

Sorry should have been more explicit. The E2 is non-immigrant and doesnt directly convert to permament resident (and so citizenship). It is also up to the consulate you apply at how much substantial actualy means, coming from a 3rd world country a small investment might well be accepted but coming from a western country which already has substantial trade with the US the bar is set much higher. The easiest path to get from E-2 to citizenship is to reinvest profits until you reach the EB-5 threshhold and then change status.
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rossby

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Re: How to Immigrate from EU
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2010, 02:03:05 am »

First, there's really no set number on the amount of the investment. They will probably never publish a number. Second, the numbers you cite apply to someone applying for an EB-5. Owning and operating a business is not (quite) the same thing as investing under EB-5 (the latter, you can be a passive investor). For the owner-operator, once here there are other paths to permanent residence.

The E2 is non-immigrant and doesnt directly convert to permament resident (and so citizenship).

Right, I think I've said that. While E-2 is a non-immigrant visa and dual intent does not apply (not exactly), it's not uncommon for a person in an E-2 status to qualify for change of status later. Just because you're in on an E-2 now doesn't mean you wouldn't qualify for some other status later (which requires procedural hurdles, but that's a given whenever you work with a federal agency).
« Last Edit: January 13, 2010, 02:11:21 am by B.D. Ross »
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