Investors considering immigrating to the United States, particularly those considering launching a new business, begin by researching their choices. They frequently begin with the EB-5 investor immigration route, which leads to a green card.
This is often regarded as the gold standard of investor immigration alternatives by many. However, for some, the minimum required investment of $ 900,000 is prohibitively expensive. They then look for other options. That is when they learn about the L-1 and E-2 work permits.
The L-1 and E-2 work visas can be utilised to establish new businesses in America and do not require nearly as much investment as the EB-5 programme. Indeed, depending on the planned firm, investors can get by with as little as a $100,000 US investment. However, unlike the EB-5 programme, which results in a green card, these simply work visas and do not lead to permanent residence.
It is tough to distinguish the distinctions between these two work visas in order to choose one. It may thus be worthwhile to examine the distinguishing qualities of these options more closely in order to determine which is ideal for a foreign investment.
The L-1 Work Visa
Consider Toyota relocating a manager or executive from Japan to America to operate a vehicle facility here to better comprehend the L-1 visa. This is a typical inter-corporate L-1 work visa transfer in the United States.
The manager or executive must have worked for a linked company abroad for at least one year in the previous three years before coming to manage the connected company in the United States. The L-1, as previously stated, can also be utilised for an American start-up.
The most crucial aspect of this visa is that candidates from virtually any country can qualify to travel to the United States as long as they were managers or executives in their native nation.
Although not legally required, it helps if the foreign entity has been in operation for several years, has at least five employees, and has filed several years’ worth of tax and employment records. The existence of such a track record will aid in the success of an application.
The L-1 work visa is valid for a maximum of seven years for managers and executives. The procedure begins with a petition submitted with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. The approval of the visa requires an examination of the corporate and financial records of both the foreign associated firm and the US company, or, in the case of a start-up, the US company’s business plan.
Although not technically needed, it is advantageous if the new U.S. firm has established an office in the location where it will conduct business. After the petition is authorised, the foreign manager or executive must apply for a visa at a US consulate overseas before entering the United States.
There is an exception in the instance of Canadians, who do not need to travel through a Consulate and can apply for the visa at the port of entry in the United States with their approved L-1 petition from the USCIS. It is important to note that after one successful year in the United States, the person may apply for a green card.
The E-2 Visa
In the case of an E-2 visa, however, the investor must be a citizen of a country that has an investment treaty with the United States. Visas are typically provided to start-up managers, executives, or investors for a period of five years and are renewable indefinitely.
As previously stated, the L-1 visa requires a review of the investor’s business history, but the E-2 visa is all about the investor’s future—primarily based on a business plan or the purchase of a corporation. To obtain the visa, all candidates, including Canadians, must apply through a US Consulate.
There is an additional choice. The International Entrepreneur programme allows the Department of Homeland Security to use its parole authority to give a term of allowed stay to foreign entrepreneurs who demonstrate that their presence in the United States will generate a significant public benefit through the potential for rapid business growth and employment creation on a case-by-case basis.
Up to three entrepreneurs per start-up firm may be granted parole. Entrepreneurs who have been granted parole are only permitted to work for their new venture. This programme may be suitable for investors with a proven track record of success who do not have L-1 or E-2 visa chances, such as investors from China or India with no established corporate links at home.
In any of the cases stated, the investor’s family can enter the United States with him or her and obtain the same status. They must have no felony convictions on their record. Approvals are typically given for one of three reasons: a significant amount of investment is involved, an innovation is being introduced into the country, or new jobs for American people are being created.
Obtaining green cards, on the other hand, is a step that must be completed after the investor has successfully arrived in the United States with a work visa. Which visa is best for the investor is determined by the circumstances. If the investor is unable to qualify as an EB-5 immigrant, they can choose the E-2 if their country has a treaty with the United States, or the L-1 if they operate a larger business in their home country.
For many investors, the E-2 is the ideal option because it is the easiest to qualify for due to the lower financial barrier necessary, and there is less scrutiny because there is no need to disclose historical company and tax records.