L1 Visa or E2 Visa?

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Which One is Right for You?

If you are considering moving to the United States for work, you may have come across two popular visa options: the L1 visa and the E2 visa. Both visas allow foreign nationals to live and work in the US, but they have different requirements and benefits. In this article, we will compare the L1 visa and E2 visa to help you determine which one is the right choice for you.

What is an L1 Visa?

The L1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows multinational companies to transfer employees from their foreign offices to their US offices. This visa is available to executives, managers, and specialized knowledge employees who have been working for the company for at least one year.

Benefits of an L1 Visa

  • Allows for dual intent: L1 visa holders can apply for a green card while on the L1 visa.
  • Longer stay: L1 visa holders can stay in the US for up to 7 years, with the option to extend for an additional 2 years.
  • Dependents can work: Spouses of L1 visa holders can apply for work authorization, allowing them to work in the US.
  • No minimum investment: Unlike the E2 visa, there is no minimum investment requirement for the L1 visa.

Requirements for an L1 Visa

  • The employee must have worked for the company for at least one year.
  • The employee must be transferring to a US office of the same company.
  • The employee must have a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge role.
  • The US company must have a qualifying relationship with the foreign company.

What is an E2 Visa?

The E2 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign nationals to invest in and manage a business in the US. This visa is only available to citizens of countries that have a treaty of commerce and navigation with the US.

Benefits of an E2 Visa

  • Spouse and children can come along: E2 visa holders can bring their spouse and children under the age of 21 to the US.
  • No minimum education or experience requirements: Unlike the L1 visa, there are no minimum education or experience requirements for the E2 visa.

Requirements for an E2 Visa

  • The investor must be a citizen of a treaty country.
  • The investor must have a substantial investment in a US business.
  • The investment must be at risk and not a passive investment.
  • The investor must have control of the business.

L1 Visa vs E2 Visa: Which One is Right for You?

Now that we have discussed the basics of the L1 visa and E2 visa, let’s compare them to help you determine which one is the right choice for you.

Investment Requirements

One of the main differences between the L1 visa and E2 visa is the investment requirement. The E2 visa requires a substantial investment in a US business, while the L1 visa does not have a minimum investment requirement. This means that the E2 visa may be a better option for those who have the financial means to invest in a US business, while the L1 visa may be a better option for those who do not have the funds to invest.

Duration of Stay

Another important factor to consider is the duration of stay. The L1 visa allows for a longer stay in the US, with a maximum of 7 years, while the E2 visa allows for a maximum of 5 years. However, the E2 visa can be renewed indefinitely, while the L1 visa can only be extended for an additional 2 years.

Work Authorization for Dependents

Both the L1 visa and E2 visa allow for dependents to accompany the visa holder to the US. 

E2 Visa Renewal

One of the benefits of the E2 visa is that it can be renewed indefinitely, as long as the investor continues to meet the requirements. This means that the E2 visa can be a long-term solution for those who want to live and work in the US. However, it is important to note that the E2 visa is not a path to permanent residency, so the investor will need to renew the visa every few years.

L1 Visa Green Card

While the E2 visa does not offer a direct path to permanent residency, the L1 visa does. L1 visa holders can apply for a green card while on the visa, making it a more attractive option for those who want to eventually become permanent residents of the US.

Conclusion

In conclusion, both the L1 visa and E2 visa offer unique benefits and may be the right choice for different individuals. The L1 visa may be a better option for those who are already employed by a multinational company and want to transfer to the US, while the E2 visa may be a better option for those who have the financial means to invest in a US business. Ultimately, the decision will depend on your individual circumstances and goals. It is important to consult with an immigration lawyer to determine the best option for you.

This Blog was written by:

Global Immigration Partners PLLC, is a specialized immigration law firm.

1717 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC, 20006, United States

Phone: +1 267-507-6078

Book a free consultation

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Global Immigration Partners | L1 Visa or E2 Visa?

Global Immigration Partners PLLC, is a specialized immigration law firm.

1717 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC, 20006, United States

Phone: +1 267-507-6078

Book a free consultation


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