Employment & Investors


Trying to obtain a work visa or green card through work?

While there are many options for working in the United States, immigration laws are complex.  Furthermore, policies are constantly changing, sometimes closing doors and other times opening them for immigrant workers.  That is why it is important to consult with an immigration attorney who is knowledgeable of current laws and regulations.  At Compass Immigration P.A., our goal is to give you clear and honest advice of your chances for obtaining a U.S. work visa or employment-based green card.

Employment-based immigration can be for temporary visas and non-temporary visa.  It is important to understand that many employment visas do not lead to permanent resident status (a green card).  Depending on the type of employment opportunity and your qualifications, you may be eligible for different employment immigration options.

The process is more complicated than many might expect.  In order to come to the United States and work, you must be sponsored by a qualified employer or you must invest in or open your own business.

Temporary Worker Visas

Temporary worker visas through sponsored employment immigration do not grant permanent residence (like a “green card”), but they can be a path to it.  Some work visas allow your employer to eventually sponsor you for permanent residence while others just allow you to remain in the United States legally for a set amount of time.  With a temporary work visa, you can also open your own business and be your own boss while having your company serve as your sponsor for employment immigration.  Temporary work visas offer real opportunities to take part in the American Dream.

Permanent Worker Visa

Permanent worker visas allow you to live and work in the United States permanently, and your employer can apply for permanent residence status on your behalf.  A wide range of individuals working in the United States may be eligible for permanent residency sponsorship through employment immigration.  These individuals include those hired by U.S. employers or those already working in their home country and who are relocating to the United States for their company.  Some examples of these documents include H-1B and L visas.

Interested in starting your own business? Or even investing in a US business?

Investing in the United States is a great way to live here.  Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need half a million dollars to start your own business or get a visa.  Of course, there are serious monetary requirements to the EB-5 visa, which requires five hundred thousand to a million dollars depending on what region they’re in. However, an E-2 visa is much more accessible for investors or people interested in owning smaller businesses.


The E-2 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country (see the list below) to be admitted to the United States when investing in or creating a US business.

In order to apply for an E-2 visa, you must be coming to the United States to:

  • develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which you have invested a substantial amount of capital.

An enterprise refers to a real, active and operating commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit.  A treaty investor or employee may only work in the activity for which he or she was approved at the time the classification was granted.  An E-2 employee, however, may also work for the treaty organization’s parent company or one of its subsidiaries as long as the:

  • Relationship between the organizations is established
  • Subsidiary employment requires executive, supervisory, or essential skills
  • Terms and conditions of employment have not otherwise changed.

Contrary to an E-5 Visa, you don’t need half a million dollars to start your own business. We have assisted foreign nationals and entrepreneurs in setting up small-business investments for as little as $15,000 using the E-2 visa.

Additionally, certain family members of the investor and of the employee’s (spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21) may be eligible for an employment visa.


Perhaps you import or produce goods in your home country and want to sell them in the United States?  The E-1 visa allows citizens of countries that have treaties with the U.S. (see the list below) to be admitted to the U.S. to participate in international trade.

The individual must engage in substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, in qualifying activities, principally between the United States and the treaty country.  This means, the individual’s principal trade (more than 50%) must be between the U.S. and the country that qualified the individual for the visa.

Qualifying trades include technology, transportation, goods, services, tourism, news-gathering, international banking, and insurance.  To be considered substantial, the trade must be continuous for the duration of the visa, although there is no minimum amount or monetary value required.

Those who are granted an E-1 visa may petition for their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to be admitted to the U.S. as well.

List of Treaty Countries for E-2 or E-1 Visas

CountryClassificationEffective Date
AlbaniaE-2January 4, 1998
ArgentinaE-1October 20, 1994
ArgentinaE-2October 20, 1994
ArmeniaE-2March 29, 1996
AustraliaE-1December 16, 1991
AustraliaE-2December 27, 1991
AustriaE-1May 27, 1931
AustriaE-2May 27, 1931
AzerbaijanE-2August 2, 2001
BahrainE-2May 30, 2001
BangladeshE-2July 25, 1989
BelgiumE-1October 3, 1963
BelgiumE-2October 3, 1963
BoliviaE-1November 09, 1862
BoliviaE-2June 6, 2001
Bosnia and Herzegovina 11E-1November 15, 1882
Bosnia and Herzegovina 11E-2November 15, 1882
BruneiE-1July 11, 1853
BulgariaE-2June 2, 1994
CameroonE-2April 6, 1989
CanadaE-1January 1, 1993
CanadaE-2January 1, 1993
ChileE-1January 1, 2004
ChileE-2January 1, 2004
China (Taiwan) 1E-1November 30, 1948
China (Taiwan) 1E-2November 30, 1948
ColombiaE-1June 10, 1848
ColombiaE-2June 10, 1848
Congo (Brazzaville)E-2August 13, 1994
Congo (Kinshasa)E-2July 28, 1989
Costa RicaE-1May 26, 1852
Costa RicaE-2May 26, 1852
Croatia 11E-1November 15, 1882
Croatia 11E-2November 15, 1882
Czech Republic 2E-2January 1, 1993
Denmark 3E-1July 30, 1961
DenmarkE-2December 10, 2008
EcuadorE-2May 11, 1997
EgyptE-2June 27, 1992
EstoniaE-1May 22, 1926
EstoniaE-2February 16, 1997
EthiopiaE-1October 8, 1953
EthiopiaE-2October 8, 1953
FinlandE-1August 10, 1934
FinlandE-2December 1, 1992
France 4E-1December 21, 1960
France 4E-2December 21, 1960
GeorgiaE-2August 17, 1997
GermanyE-1July 14, 1956
GermanyE-2July 14, 1956
GreeceE-1October 13, 1954
GrenadaE-2March 3, 1989
HondurasE-1July 19, 1928
HondurasE-2July 19, 1928
IranE-1June 16, 1957
IranE-2June 16, 1957
IrelandE-1September 14, 1950
IrelandE-2November 18, 1992
IsraelE-1April 3, 1954
ItalyE-1July 26, 1949
ItalyE-2July 26, 1949
JamaicaE-2March 7, 1997
Japan 5E-1October 30, 1953
Japan 5E-2October 30, 1953
JordanE-1December 17, 2001
JordanE-2December 17, 2001
KazakhstanE-2January 12, 1994
Korea (South)E-1November 7, 1957
Korea (South)E-2November 7, 1957
Kosovo 11E-1November 15, 1882
Kosovo 11E-2November 15, 1882
KyrgyzstanE-2January 12, 1994
LatviaE-1July 25, 1928
LatviaE-2December 26, 1996
LiberiaE-1November 21, 1939
LiberiaE-2November 21, 1939
LithuaniaE-2November 22, 2001
LuxembourgE-1March 28, 1963
LuxembourgE-2March 28, 1963
Macedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of (FRY) 11E-1November 15, 1882
Macedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of (FRY) 11E-2November 15, 1882
MexicoE-1January 1, 1994
MexicoE-2January 1, 1994
MoldovaE-2November 25, 1994
MongoliaE-2January 1, 1997
Montenegro 11E-1November 15, 1882
Montenegro 11E-2November 15, 1882
MoroccoE-2May 29, 1991
Netherlands 6E-1December 5, 1957
Netherlands 6E-2December 5, 1957
Norway 7E-1January 18, 1928
Norway 7E-2January 18, 1928
OmanE-1June 11, 1960
OmanE-2June 11, 1960
PakistanE-1February 12, 1961
PakistanE-2February 12, 1961
PanamaE-2May 30, 1991
ParaguayE-1March 07, 1860
ParaguayE-2March 07, 1860
PhilippinesE-1September 6, 1955
PhilippinesE-2September 6, 1955
PolandE-1August 6, 1994
PolandE-2August 6, 1994
RomâniaE-2January 15, 1994
Serbia 11E-1November 15,1882
Serbia 11E-2November 15,1882
SenegalE-2October 25, 1990
SingaporeE-1January 1, 2004
SingaporeE-2January 1, 2004
Slovak Republic 2E-2January 1, 1993
Slovenia 11E-1November 15, 1882
Slovenia 11E-2November 15, 1882
Spain 8E-1April 14, 1903
Spain 8E-2April 14, 1903
Sri LankaE-2May 1, 1993
Suriname 9E-1February 10, 1963
Suriname 9E-2February 10, 1963
SwedenE-1February 20, 1992
SwedenE-2February 20, 1992
SwitzerlandE-1November 08, 1855
SwitzerlandE-2November 08, 1855
ThailandE-1June 8, 1968
ThailandE-2June 8, 1968
TogoE-1February 5, 1967
TogoE-2February 5, 1967
Trinidad & TobagoE-2December 26, 1996
TunisiaE-2February 7, 1993
TurkeyE-1February 15, 1933
TurkeyE-2May 18, 1990
UkraineE-2November 16, 1996
United Kingdom 10E-1July 03, 1815
United Kingdom 10E-2July 03, 1815
Yugoslavia 11E-1November 15, 1882
Yugoslavia 11E-2November 15, 1882

Country Specific Footnotes:

  1. China (Taiwan) – Pursuant to Section 6 of the Taiwan Relations Act, (TRA) Public Law 96-8, 93 Stat, 14, and Executive Order 12143, 44 F.R. 37191, this agreement which was concluded with the Taiwan authorities prior to January 01, 1979, is administered on a nongovernmental basis by the American Institute in Taiwan, a nonprofit District of Columbia corporation, and constitutes neither recognition of the Taiwan authorities nor the continuation of any official relationship with Taiwan.
  2. Czech Republic and Slovak Republic – The Treaty with the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic entered into force on December 19, 1992; entered into force for the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic as separate states on January 01, 1993.
  3. Denmark – The Treaty which entered into force on July 30, 1961, does not apply to Greenland.
  4. France – The Treaty which entered into force on December 21, 1960, applies to the departments of Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Reunion.
  5. Japan – The Treaty which entered into force on October 30, 1953, was made applicable to the Bonin Islands on June 26, 1968, and to the Ryukyu Islands on May 15, 1972.
  6. Netherlands – The Treaty which entered into force on December 05, 1957, is applicable to Aruba and Netherlands Antilles.
  7. Norway – The Treaty which entered into force on September 13, 1932, does not apply to Svalbard (Spitsbergen and certain lesser islands).
  8. Spain – The Treaty which entered into force on April 14, 1903, is applicable to all territories.
  9. Suriname – The Treaty with the Netherlands which entered into force December 05, 1957, was made applicable to Suriname on February 10, 1963.
  10. United Kingdom – The Convention which entered into force on July 03, 1815, applies only to British territory in Europe (the British Isles (except the Republic of Ireland), the Channel Islands and Gibraltar) and to “inhabitants” of such territory.  This term, as used in the Convention, means “one who resides actually and permanently in a given place, and has his domicile there”.  Also, in order to qualify for treaty trader or treaty investor status under this treaty, the alien must be a national of the United Kingdom.  Individuals having the nationality of members of the Commonwealth other than the United Kingdom do not qualify for treaty trader or treaty investor status under this treaty.
  11. Yugoslavia– The U.S. view is that the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) has dissolved and that the successors that formerly made up the SFRY – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Kosovo and continue to be bound by the treaty in force with the SFRY and the time of dissolution.