US immigration options for Canadian investors

British Columbia residents who want to invest in a business south of the border likely have questions about how to make it happen. One way is to purchase an existing business, and the other is to start one from scratch. Both require investments of time and money. Based on U.S. immigration laws, both options have pros and cons.

If the goal is to start a new business and be part of the day-to-day operations, it will require an E-2 treaty investor visa for Canadians, which will have to be renewed at five-year intervals. A substantial investment is required and must be made before applying for the visa. Operations may only commence after the E-2 visa is obtained, which will become invalid if the business is terminated. The E-2 visa has no bearing in the process to obtain permanent residency.

Canadians who intend to reside in the United States without being involved in the operation of a business can apply for an EB-5 green card, which requires a $900,000.00 minimum investment. It provides immediate conditional residency of the investor and his or her family in the United States without an expiration date. The investor will not need to be involved in the running of a business, and there will be no restrictions on living, working, travelling and studying in the United States.

A British Columbia lawyer with experience in dealing with U.S. immigration laws can provide answers to all applicable questions. Legal counsel can explain the different options and the pros and cons of each. This will allow for the opportunity to make informed decisions and proceed with the process that best suits the goals and circumstances of the client and his or her family. 

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