Green Card for Entrepreneurs

Green Card for Entrepreneurs

Green Card for Entrepreneurs can be tricky – there are several routes with varying criteria and timelines. We will review the most common routes for a Green Card for Entrepreneurs below.

Direct EB-5

An EB-5 requires a substantial amount of capital to be invested in a new commercial enterprise. Either 1,000,000 or 1,800,000 (depending on where the investment is made). The funds must be “at-risk.” Simply transferring funds into a corporate account will not suffice. In addition, there are situations where a green card for an entrepreneur can be secured based on investing in an existing business. Investing in an existing business may qualify if there is substantial reorganization or if the business increases by 40% as a result of the investment. Lastly, 10 full-time jobs must be created for this path to be successful.

EB-1C (Multinational Executive)

Entrepreneurs of multinational companies who have been employed abroad as an Executive for 1 year in the preceding 3 may be eligible for an EB-1C. There must be a qualifying corporate relationship between the foreign and US entity for the petition to be approved. This option is more attractive to entrepreneurs who operate in multiple countries and do not need to make an EB-5 investment.

EB-1A (Entrepreneurs with Extraordinary Ability)

EB-1A is a Green Card for Entrepreneurs who have an extraordinary track record for success as an entrepreneur. To get a green card under this category, an entrepreneur must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in business through sustained national or international acclaim. This is typically done by showing that the entrepreneur meets at least 3 of the following criteria:

  • Nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
  • Membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members
  • Published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  • Acting as a judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel
  • Original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field
  • Authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  • Work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases
  • Performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations
  • Command a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field
  • Commercial success


On May 10, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security announced the revival of the Obama-era program International Entrepreneur Rule. This rule grants foreign entrepreneurs a period of authorized stay of up to five years if they can show there will be a significant public benefit through their business venture. This is not a green card but still a great option for foreign entrepreneurs.

To qualify, entrepreneurs must show the following:

  1. They possess a substantial ownership interest in business (this does not necessarily need to be a majority interest).
  2. The business was created within the past five years in the United States.
  3. The business has substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.
  4. They played a key active role is establishing the business and that his or her presence in the U.S. will substantially assist with the growth and success of the business.
  5. They will provide a significant public benefit to the U.S. Evidence of a significant public benefit can be shown by demonstrating that the business has received a significant investment of capital from qualified U.S. investors or received significant awards or grants from federal, state, or local governments.

Another non-immigrant option for entrepreneurs is the E-2 investment visa. It is for foreign nationals who make a substantial investment in a real and operating enterprise. The capital requirements are significantly less than those for the EB-5.

Green Cards for Entrepreneurs are in high demand. If you have any questions about applying for a green card, you can book a free consult with an immigration attorney here.