The Important Differences Between L-Visas and E-2 Visas

By: Salma Benkabbou, Esq.

The Millennial Business Lawyer®

E-2 Visas and L-Visas

Understanding the differences between E-2 Visas and L-Visas will help you decide which visa is your best option. The key difference between the two visas is that the E-2 visa is intended for use by foreign investors, not employees seeking to immigrate. What are the key differences between the E-2 and L-1 visas? What are the pros and cons of each visa, and who is eligible?

Applying for an L-Visa in Florida

L-1A visas are also known as Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager visas. The U.S. Customs and Immigration Services issues L-1A visas and L01B visas. To secure an L-1A visa, your potential U.S. employer must file a petition for you to live and work in the United States. Companies frequently use the L-1A visa process to transfer a qualified manager or executor to work at a location within the United States. Only employees who are executives or managers can qualify for an L-1A visa. 

To qualify for an L-1A visa, you must be seeking to enter the U.S. to work in a managerial or executive capacity for a branch of your same employer. Or, you can work for one of your current employer’s qualifying organizations. Typically, you must have worked for a qualifying organization for a year within the three years before your admission to the U.S. The admission requirements are similar for an L-2 visa, except these visas are intended for applicants with a specialized knowledge capacity. The applicant must have a specialized knowledge of the research, service, product, techniques, or management of business who has petitioned the visa. 

E-2 Visas and L-Visas

Applying for an E-2 Visa

An E-2 investor visa allows an applicant to work in the U.S. based on an investment that he or she will control while in the United States. E-2 visas are available for foreign investors, not employees. If you are considering investing in a new business in the United States, the E-2 visa may be right for you. In order to qualify, you must have invested a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide, for-profit business, entrepreneurial, or commercial undertaking located within the United States. Additionally, only investors from countries that have treaties of commerce and navigation with the U.S. will be given E-2 visas. 

The Pros and Cons of L-Visas and E-2 Visas

The U.S. grants E-2 visas for an initial time period of up to two years. One benefit of the E2 visa is that the visa holder can apply for a two-year extension without needing to return to their home country. An E-2 visa holder cannot plan to permanently reside in the United States. On the contrary, L visa holders have a straightforward path to residency and can apply for residency while in the U.S. on an L visa. 

We Can Help
At The Benkabbou Law Firm, PLLC, we have helped many managers, executors, and investors successfully apply for L and E visas. Contact our law firm today to schedule your Tampa immigration legal consultation today.