Contrary to popular belief, securing a job offer from an employer in the USA is not the only way to lawfully enter the country for the long-term. Self-employed people who work for themselves as freelancers or business owners, as opposed to working under an employer, can pursue specific US immigration pathways to permanently relocate to the United States.
Since the United States does not offer a Self-Employed Visa, individuals who are considered ‘self-employed’ must obtain a US Work Visa, to attain authorization to live and work in the country. However, most work visas require the applicant to be sponsored by an eligible employer, or through a recruitment agency. However, there are some exceptions, which are suitable for self-employed people.
O-1 Visa: Individuals of Extraordinary Ability or Achievement
This visa allows foreign nationals who have demonstrated ‘’extraordinary ability’ in the field of arts, athletics, business, education or science; or have a record of extraordinary achievements in TV or motion pictures and have attained national or international recognition for the same. For the initial period, the visa holder is allowed to stay in the USA for up to three years. The period of stay can be further extended.
E-2 Visa: Treaty Investor
If the aspirant belongs to country that has a treaty agreement with the United States, they can enter the USA by making a significant investment of capital in a business within the country. Those who qualify can live in the United States for a maximum period of two years. The stay can further be extended in increments of two years at a time. There is no limit on the number of extensions that can be granted.
Each of these visa options has distinct eligibility requirements and application procedures. It is essential to determine which of the two would be more feasible for your unique work profile. To identify the ideal route for US immigration as a self-employed person, and navigate the process without any glitches, it is in your best interest to seek the expert guidance of genuine immigration consultants.