top of page


Visa basics for foreign national homebuyers

By Grace Anne Glavin, Esq.

Many people from other countries often ask REALTORS® not only for assistance with real property acquisition but also for advice about relocating to the United States. As such, it is helpful for REALTORS® to be familiar with the most common types of visas used by foreign nationals.


B-1 Business Visitor Visa is available for stays of six months or less and are used by many domestic helpers and business people.


B-2 Visitors for Pleasure Visa is for vacation purposes, short educational programs, and medical treatment.


E-2 Investor Visa-Temporary is based on active investment by a citizen of a treaty country in a U.S. business owned at least 50 percent by a foreign national.


Permanent Investor Visa (EB-5 Program) stipulates that a holder must invest $1,000,000 or $500,000 in a targeted employment area with a new commercial enterprise or must improve net worth of an existing company by 40 percent.


L-1 Transferee Visa - Temporary stipulates that a holder must have been employed abroad in the same entity in executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity for three years, of which one year has been in the United States.


O Visa is for a person of extraordinary ability in the fields of business, science, arts, or athletics.


H-1B Professional Visa is for a foreign national with a specialty occupation in the United States. The specialty occupation requires a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent or three years of experience.

When working with a buyer of real property in the United States who is trying to obtain a visa(s) for his family and himself to stay or reside in the United States, it is best for your customer to consult with an attorney versed in the rules of the United States Custom and Immigration Service.

bottom of page