Immigration Benefits for Pakistanis Investing in the United States
By Anish Vashistha
Los Angeles , California


Many people believe the only way a foreign investor can live in the United States is by investing between $500,000 and $1,000,000. While foreign investors may obtain a Green Card through such a large investment, individuals from certain countries, including Pakistan, can come and live in the United States by investing a far less amount. Although this visa category does not automatically provide a Green Card, under this much less expensive investment visa category, a Pakistani citizen can also bring his/her family to live with him/her in the United States.

The investor’s spouse would also be given a work permit so that he/she can seek and obtain employment in the United States. This investor visa category can provide an investor and his family virtually indefinite stay in the United States and also provides a possible avenue for the investor and his family to receive their Green Cards at a later point in time.

This investor visa category was made available to Pakistani citizens through a treaty signed by the United States and Pakistan on February 12, 1961. The treaty is still in effect, but many Pakistani citizens are not aware of it.

The treaty permits a Pakistani citizen to make an investment in the United States to start or to purchase a business and then to come to the United States to manage that business. Common business ranges from service-oriented ventures such as motels and restaurants to goods-oriented enterprises such as gas stations and stores. Although an educational background in the field that the business will be in is helpful, no specific educational foundation is required.

Furthermore, while persons in Pakistan may apply for an investor visa from a United States consulate, an individual who has already arrived in the United States as a visitor and remains in valid visitor status can change to the status of such an investor while still in the United States without having to return to Pakistan. Also, Pakistani citizens with prior immigration violations can seek and can obtain a pardon of those violations when applying for an investor visas.

The policy behind the investor visa category is to draw innovative entrepreneurs to the United States to invest in the local economy and to employ United States citizens and legal residents. Therefore, one of the factors that is analyzed regarding whether an investor should be granted status or a visa in this category is whether the investor will be growing the business and creating such jobs or will simply be earning enough revenue to pay for his own survival.

Another factor is whether the funds invested are irrevocably committed and cannot be withdrawn at the investor’s whim. These requirements in addition to the other requirements for benefitting from the investor visa category are at times difficult to prove especially for new businesses. Prior to starting the process, a prospective investor is advised to seek the assistance of an immigration attorney skilled in this visa category.

(The authoris a licensed attorney with a nationwide immigration-law practice. He is a graduate from Georgetown University Law Center and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He has helped several Pakistani nationals obtain or maintain legal status in the United States. He may be contacted toll-free at 1 (866) 433-7016 or by email at


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.