There are several different options for entrepreneurial-minded immigrants if they are considering coming to the U.S. to start a company. Different visas allow for different benefits for these workers, and a few are listed below.
The H1B visa allows companies based in the United States to sponsor an employee to work in this country for up to six years. While this does provide those individuals with the opportunity to live and work here for an extended amount of time, H1B visas are limiting for those wishing to start their own company because this type of visa must be requested by an existing organization or corporation and most startups do not have that status yet. But the benefit for entrepreneurs is that the extended stay allows them to absorb the culture in the U.S. and ultimately create their new business using that new knowledge.
The E2 visa was created to benefit entrepreneurs entering the U.S. to set up a new business and intending to invest money to do so. The amount of money varies between industries, but it is required to be a significant amount in relation to the cost of starting up the company. Reports vary as to the exact amount required. This type of visa is only available to residents of the 37 countries the United States has treaties with. Australia, France, Italy, and Japan are just a few examples. A benefit of the E2 visa is that it can be indefinitely renewed, but this type of visa does not provide workers with a path to citizenship.
The L1 visa permits U.S. companies to transfer a manager or employee from one of their foreign offices in another country to the United States. These visas can be renewed for a maximum stay of five to seven years, so these benefit employees who are motivated to experience the American workplace and integrate themselves into the culture here. A benefit of the L1 visa is that it allows spouses of eligible individuals to also apply for a work visa in the U.S.