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Visa Options For Bahraini Nationals

During our February 16 webinar "Cross-Border Business Development; Palm Beach & Bahrain" we were honored to have so many diplomats and professionals speak about the evolving relationship between the business and educational communities of Palm Beach and Bahrain, including Anthony Korda, Immigration Attorney, owner The Korda Law Firm; Naples, Florida, Beverly Hills, London

Thank you, Al, like everybody else, let me thank you for inviting me to speak on this very interesting panel. I should say that I have a picture of University of Florida in the background trying not to be as parochial as you, because I'm on the other coast, of course, in Naples in Florida. And while we are here to encourage business development at the World Trade Center Palm Beach, for my part, immigration is, of course, federal. We can handle, therefore, immigration inquiries for any part of the state, indeed any part of the US to speak about immigration options for Bahraini nationals in five minutes is clearly trying to put something rather large into a very small nutshell. I provided a handout which discusses three obvious visas that may be of interest.

The first, clearly, if anyone is considering a visit to the United States is a B1 or a B2 tourist own visitor visa, they are limited visas. They allow you to come here.

The B1 particularly is useful, I think, for what we're considering. It enables the visa holder to consult with business associates, attend a scientific, educational professional or business conventional conference, negotiate a contract, make inquiries which may lead later on to a business relationship. And obviously, the other side of that type of visa is tourism, visit with friends, obtain medical treatment, etc.

If somebody from Bahrain wants to come to the United States to study, and that would include also sending children to elementary schools, to private middle schools, high schools, and obviously University and College, then a student visa is going to be required unless the parents are here on a visa which permits children to study. Children attending any educational establishment here would normally be expected to hold an F1 student visa.

There are two specific investment visas which are available to Bahraini Nationals. One of those is a nonimmigrant visa. It's the E2 visa, which would allow a Bahraini National to invest in a business here in the United States. The amount that needs to be invested – there's no minimum set amount. It's supposed to be substantial, but that's a matter of fact and degree.

So if somebody in Bahrain wants to establish a business in Florida, in Palm Beach or indeed anywhere else in the United States, then an E2 visa would allow them to do so. It has the advantage of being relatively simple. It's an application that's made directly at the embassy in home country. It has the advantage in that subject only to COVID. It's usually very quick. It's a visa that was generally obtainable within three to four months and would enable somebody to come to the United States with their family and operate that business. One of the advantages is that the spouse of the investor may also apply for employment authorization and so the spouse can work in a separate industry. It doesn't have to be tied to the E2 investors business, but there are some disadvantages. For instance, children will only be included until they are age 21 and if they then don't find an appropriate visa category which they can fit themselves into, then they would have to leave the United States. In essence, most people by then either attend College and therefore can obtain a student visa or others have found another way, perhaps to stay here more permanently if that's what they wish.

Looking at staying here more permanently, the obvious visa at the moment would be something called an EB5 investor visa. Now, not everybody in Bahrain wants to necessarily become an immigrant in the United States. And there are, of course, tax consequences if you currently live and work in a tax free society – I know that my colleague Richard Lehman Is going to discuss this to a much greater extent than I can – but if you currently live in a country with no necessarily high or indeed no tax payments then becoming an immigrant in the United States is not necessarily something that might be attractive.

Those people who are looking for a more permanent move to the United States, establishing a business in the United States which ultimately can lead to permanent residence and in the future, if they wish, citizenship for the investor spouse and any children. The EB5 visa is something that's available to those who want to establish a business that can create employment, are willing to make a substantial investment and would ultimately like to be here permanently. Obviously, there are other visa categories for professionals. There are other visa categories for qualified individuals, people with specific skills.

Five minutes is obviously not long enough for me to discuss that in any great detail. If anyone would like to discuss visa options for a specific case, then I would be delighted to do so. DOWNLOAD PDF: Visa Options for Bahraini Nationals: INVESTMENT VISAS: E-2, EB-5, TOURIST VISAS: B1/2, STUDENT VISA: F-1

Thank you all.

​— Anthony Korda, Esq, Owner, The Korda Law Firm


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