Business Immigration Overview

Business interests matter a great deal to immigrants coming to the United States. According to a study from the Pew Research Center, around 29 million immigrants were working or looking for work in the U.S. in 2017. That accounts for 17% of the entire American workforce. However, business –– and by extension business immigration –– is a wide and diverse field. This means that there are a number of different visas associated with work, employment, investment, and business in general. Given that fact, it can be difficult for professionals and companies alike to determine which visa(s) most closely aligns to their needs. Here, we’ll take a look at different business immigration visas and explain their function and requirements:

Types of Business Immigration Visas

Within the larger umbrella of business immigration visas, there are several different sub-categories. These include visas related to:

  • Investment.
  • Employment.
  • Specialty occupations.
  • Geographic considerations.

Investment-Based Visas

Foreign professionals can obtain a visa in some instances if they’re involved in an investment within the U.S. In order to gain an investment visa, a prospective immigrant must meet certain criteria, which may relate to investment amount, level of control over in an investment, or the countries involved in the investment. 


  • E-1 “Treaty Trader” Visa –– for immigrants who control an investment in the U.S. and whose parent country has a trade treaty with the U.S.
  • E-2 Treaty-Investor Work Visa –– for immigrants who oversee investment in the U.S. and whose parent country has a trade treaty with the U.S. 
  • EB5 Visa “Investment Green Card” –– requires immigrants to create a number of jobs in the U.S. and invest a predetermined amount. 

Employment-Based Immigration Visas

As opposed to investment visas, employment-based visas are tied to a specific profession or field. Prospective immigrants wishing to obtain an employment-based visa must prove their qualifications for the position and must enter the U.S. to continue work in their field. 


  • EB-1 Visa –– for immigrants with extraordinary ability. No job offer required.
  • EB-2 Visa –– for immigrants with advanced degrees or exceptional ability. Sponsorship from employer required.
  • EB-3 Visa ––for skilled workers. Sponsorship from employer required.

Other Employment-Based Visas

In addition to the EB visas, there are several other visas dedicated to business and employment in the U.S.


  • H-1B Visa –– specialty occupation visa for foreign workers who possess specialized knowledge in a given field.
  • O1 Visa –– for immigrants with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. 
  • P Visa –– for foreign entertainers and athletes who cannot meet the standard for extraordinary ability in the O category.
  • R1 Visa –– for immigrants working in religious positions.
  • L-1 Visa –– for immigrants transferred from a management position outside of the U.S. to work in a similar position, for a related company, in the U.S.
  • J-1 Visa - This visa is for individuals who have been approved to participate in exchange visitor programs that are work and study-based.

Business Visas Based on Geography

Certain business visas are reserved for immigrants from designated countries or areas. 


  • E-3 Visa –– for immigrants from the Commonwealth of Australia who are involved in a specialty occupation.
  • TN Visa –– work visa for immigrants from either Canada or Mexico. 

Best Practices for Companies Hiring an Immigrant

While there are a number of benefits associated with hiring an immigrant employee, companies should understand various facets of business immigration. First, business immigration can take a long time –– so companies looking to hire foreign workers should start their hiring process early. Second, businesses should identify their need, their preferred candidate(s), and the visa program they plan to use. Third, companies may need to obtain a certification from the Department of Labor. Only then can a business petition USCIS for a visa. 

It’s also worth noting that in addition to sponsoring or petitioning for a foreign worker, employers may also be required to meet the “prevailing wage” for their position –– as is the case with the H-1B visa. The prevailing wage is the “usual” hourly wage (along with overtime and benefits) paid to employees in the field. The Department of Labor sets the prevailing wage for business immigrants.

How to Qualify for a Business Immigration Visa

As we’ve outlined above, there are a myriad of different business immigration visa options for foreign workers. It’s even possible that some foreign professionals could be able to qualify for multiple visas. That’s why it’s important for immigrants to understand the differences between business visas. For instance, the distinctions between an EB-1 visa and an EB-2 visa may seem slight, but the application processes for each are quite different. It’s also crucial for immigrants to provide accurate documentation and to cooperate with their prospective employers in the U.S.

Hire a Dallas Business Immigration Lawyer

Our managing business immigration attorney Karen-Lee Pollak and experienced immigration support team will work with you to determine the best possible employment preference category for you.

Our firm provides full-service professional legal advice and representation to help you find an immigration solution to your visa needs. Please contact us to discuss your immigration options or call our firm today at (214) 307-5510.

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