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Aunt wants to emigrate to US - is it really possible?

(21 Posts)
Kelly1978 Tue 16-May-06 11:32:24

My dp's aunt has been (unfairly) dismissed from her job and now has the idea of emigrating. She has two brothers living there, and a bit of money to invest, so has the idea of investing in a business there. She has no direct business experience other than having spent the past 10 years building up a post office with the guy who has just sacked her. I've tried looking into it for her, and it seems possible but very difficult. She also wants to take her mum and her nephew with her, and also has the idea that if it worked out we would all go there too. I'm worried, because although it looks all possible on paper, it might not be that straightforward and she could end up wasting a lot of money which she really can't afford to lose.

I was wondering if anyone has any idea how hard or possible it really is, so I can give her some more information.

scienceteacher Wed 17-May-06 05:48:21

She would not be able to go on a family-based visa, as that is only really open to parent/child relationships - brother/sisters is possible but could take 10 years.

I have a feeling that the amount of money needed for an investors immigrant visa is 1 million dollars, but there is a smaller threshold for non-immigrants.

It doesn't sound like she would qualify for a skilled worker visa.

Does she fancy being a student?

The best thing to do is look at the visa pages of the US London Embassy website - they list all the visa categories there.

I don't really think she has much of a chance of getting there, and even if she did make it as a student or non-immigrant investor, she would not be able to petition for the rest of the family to go.

SecondhandRose Wed 17-May-06 07:10:42

Apparently one of the first things to do is sell your house so they know you are serious and have the cash to take/send over.

scienceteacher Wed 17-May-06 07:13:37

That's not true, SHR. In fact, they tell you not to sell your house before you have the visa in your little paws.

SecondhandRose Wed 17-May-06 07:57:11

I have a friend who has been told to sell her house and then get the money in the US so they know she is serious. It is on the market now and they don't have their visas? So who knows? They are starting up a business over there, maybe they've had a 'nod'?

Kelly1978 Wed 17-May-06 09:50:30

I thought that it was £250k you had to invest? And employ at least one american citizen? Her current plan is to go over there for three months and look into it, and not sell the house just yet.

Kelly1978 Wed 17-May-06 09:51:54

I have looked at the US website on immigration, and that states that it is possible, but doesn't tell you the reality iykwim.

Kelly1978 Wed 17-May-06 11:15:24

any other thoughts? Aunt has been offered joib back and doesn't know what to do, so gettign urgent now!

lunarx Wed 17-May-06 12:09:40

i would suggest looking at the US INS webpage ( it should cover visas and their requirements. or maybe your aunt can look up a british expat online forum and ask there about it. there is a customer service number listed on the INS website.

scienceteacher Wed 17-May-06 18:46:08

If she's been offered a job, the employer needs to apply for employment certification and, once they have it, sponsor her for a H1B visa. There are quotas each year, and there is a right time for applying.

She would not be able to sponsor anyone else to get into the US on this visa.

scienceteacher Wed 17-May-06 19:15:10

For an investor immigrant visa, you have to invest a minimum of $1 million and employ 10 people full time in a new commercial enterprise.

melissasmummy Wed 17-May-06 20:00:07

secondhandrose, you should NEVER sell before you get the visa. We were strongly advised not to do this when we applied for our visa for Oz, it makes no difference to your application at all. If you fail to get a visa (and in alot of cases, it's NOT that easy), you may end up with nowhere to live!

SofiaAmes Thu 18-May-06 14:19:41

I am currently in the process of applying for an investor's visa to the usa for my husband. You should NOT sell anything as this is a very difficult visa to get and there are no assurances that you will get it. You should absolutely hire an immigration lawyer who specializes in this as there is virtually no chance without someone who knows the system and how to fill out the papers. The cost of this lawyer will run around £4000. I am fairly sure that you can bring in close relatives on this visa, but they will not be able to work. The business that you buy will need to have a net income to the owner of substantially more than the average income needed to your family. This amount varies greatly from State to State and of course varies with the size of your family. In my case we are a family of 4 that is moving to california, so the business that we buy will need to have an income of $80,000 to $100,000 a year. It also has to have a minimum of 2 full time employees. It is also very important that the embassy believes that you are able to run the business that you are buying. So if you do not have a university degree and have only ever run a post office, then buying a large chain of restaurants, or a biotech company will not work. The general rule of thumb is that a business will cost 2 to 3 times what the annual net income to the owner is. As part of the application process you will need to show that you have this money available to buy the business. If your aunt does end up deciding to go ahead, I can recommend several immigration lawyers in london who specialize in this type of visa.

Kelly1978 Thu 18-May-06 16:51:53

sofia thank you so mcuh for that info that is exactly the sort of thing I needed to know. Going on what you have said she could probably demonstrate that she could run soem sort of retail business, but would need a turnover of at least $80k to support her and those she wants to take. So can you tell me what sort of investment she would need to make?

Kelly1978 Thu 18-May-06 16:53:39

sorry jsut reread it, that means she would be looking at $160-240k to have to spend. Would this be enough then, and there not be a minimum amount then, as stated below?

Kelly1978 Thu 18-May-06 17:04:34

Jsut spoke to her and she would lvoe the ontact info, could you email me on, thanks.

scienceteacher Thu 18-May-06 19:28:42

Which visa are you applying for SofiaAmes?

SofiaAmes Fri 19-May-06 07:45:16

We are applying for an E2 visa.
Kelly, I have emailed you with the lawyer information.

SofiaAmes Fri 19-May-06 07:45:19

We are applying for an E2 visa.
Kelly, I have emailed you with the lawyer information.

Kelly1978 Fri 19-May-06 13:10:28

thanks for that, will pass it on.

scienceteacher Fri 19-May-06 16:43:25

Requirements: Treaty Investor (E-2)

The investor, either a real or corporate person, must be a national of a treaty country; (see 9 FAM 41.51.2)

The applicant has invested or is in the process of investing (see 9 FAM 41.51);

The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. Loans secured with assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed; (see 9 FAM 41.51 N8.1.1) and
The investment must be a real operating enterprise. Speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment; (See 9 FAM 41.51 N9)

The investment must be substantial. It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. The percentage of investment for a low-cost business enterprise must be higher than the percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise; (See 9 FAM 41.51 N10)

The investment may not be marginal. It must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to the investor and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States; (See 9 FAM 41.51 N11)

The applicant is in a position to "develop and direct" the enterprise (see 9 FAM 41.51 N12);

If the applicant is not the principal investor, he or she must be employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity. Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify. (See 9 FAM 41.51 N12 & N14); and

Applicant intends to depart the United States when the E2 status terminates.

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