What is the L1 Visa?
The L1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa that grants international companies the ability to transfer foreign employees to the United States to work in US branches of the company. The L-1 visa is a non-resident visa that is granted for up to three years, with the option to apply for a renewal up to a maximum of seven years.
In order to qualify for an L1 visa the foreign national must be an employee of a company that has offices in both the United States and abroad. The employer can petition the US government to transfer the employee to their US office if the employee meets certain skill requirements. The L1 visa is split into two categories:
L-1A. This visa is for managers and executives of multinational corporations. In order to qualify for the L-1A visa, the employee must be transferring to an executive or managerial role within a US branch of the same company.
L-1B. This visa is for employees with specialized knowledge or skill sets that are critical to the company’s service. Additionally, the employer must prove that there is not a readily available alternative employee in the United States.
The United States has temporarily suspended the L1 visa, citing concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic and the risks presented by foreigners traveling to the United States.
What is the difference between L1 and E2 Visa*?
The primary difference between L1 and E2 visas* is that L1 visas are employer-sponsored, non-immigrant visas whereas E2 visas* are a type of investor visa that is granted by the US in return for a substantial investment in an approved United States business.
The E2 visa* offers investors three distinct advantages:
- The ability to reside and invest in the United States.
- The investor’s spouse can work anywhere in the US. They do not have to work for the E-2 business.
- Unlimited extensions of the E-2 visa.
Whereas L1 visa holders must rely on their employer to petition the government for approval or extension of their visa, E2 visa holders enjoy the freedom of operating their own US business and exercising more control over their day to day operations and future in the US.
Foreign investors can apply for the US E-2 visa upon receiving citizenship in Grenada. Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment program grants citizenship to the investor and his immediate family. Additionally, Grenadian citizens enjoy global mobility and visa free travel to over 140 countries.
Grenada Citizenship by Investment
The E2 visa* is a US visa option for foreign investors seeking the opportunity to live and work in the United States. The E2 investor visa allows a foreign national investor and their immediate family to migrate to the US, access top schools and obtain the right to work anywhere in the United States.
Can L1 Visa Be Extended In the US?
An L1 visa holder and their US employer can file for a visa extension before the original visa duration has expired. Renewals may be granted for up to two years at a time until a certain duration. For L1A employees they may be granted renewals up to a total of seven years. For L1B employees, the maximum number of renewals caps at five years.
Furthermore, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the US economy has forced the United States to tighten immigration and visa allowances, making it difficult for employers to request L1 visas.
With other types of US visas, such as the US E2 visa*, as long as your business is running according to the US-approved business plan, the E2 visa* renewal process is generally straightforward and unlike the L1 visa, there is no limitation on the number of times it can be renewed.
The E2 visa* gives foreign investors the opportunity to manage their own business and affairs, which is a distinct advantage over L1, where the employee is reliant on their employer to support their visa extension.
Can an L1 Dependent Work in the USA?
A spouse of an L1 visa holder may work in the US, but their children may not.
The E2 visa* is popular among families because it allows children under 21 to access top US schools, and spouses have the opportunity to work anywhere in the United States. Investors can access the E2 Visa* through the Grenada Citizenship By Investment program.
* Terms and Conditions apply. Please contact a US immigration lawyer for further information.
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