After deciding to set up business in the US, the question often arises as to which visa is appropriate: the L-1A Transfer Visa or the E-2 Investment Visa. Which of the two visas offers the best option depends on the individual case. For the L-1A visa, the applicant should be aware that the L-1 A visa may not be extended and, alternatively, the E-2 must be applied for. However, this can also lead to the green card, as long as the home business is maintained.
L-1A transfer visa
The L-1 A Visa serves as a transfer visa for managers and managers. The basic requirement is that the applicant works as a manager or manager in a company outside the US, which then opens a branch office in the USA and moves that employee there.
The employment relationship must last at least one year. The "home company" must be active and stay as long as the L-1A Visa is running. Also, the "home company" should show workers.
The US company must be registered and set up. These include a rented and furnished office, bank account, business plan, etc. At the same time, the US business must be able to demonstrate the need to transfer an employee from the top management of the parent company to the United States. This usually results from the complexity of the activity and the number of employees still to be hired. There is no minimum investment necessary.
There must be a qualifying relationship between the home company and the US company. Simplified, equal ownership must exist. How long the L-1A Visa is issued depends on how long the US company already exists. If this is not yet a year, the L-1A Visa will be issued for one year and can then be renewed twice for three years.
The extension of the L-1A Visa is the "horse's foot" of this visa. It is required that the US company already employs so many employees, that the manager or manager only digested. The bar is set high. That does not mean it's impossible, but it's not easy to get.
What alternative is there if the L-1A extension is not positive? As a rule, you can then switch to E-2. All expenditures that have been made over the year and even before can be considered an investment.
A common question is whether changing to L-1A is not the way to the Green Card. This is not the case. As long as the home company remains and the manager or manager operates in that position in the US, the basic elements of a Multinational Manager Green Card will remain, regardless of whether the applicant has an E-2 or L-1A Visa.
E-2 investor visa
The E-2 Investor Visa requires an investment of at least $ 80.000 to $ 100.000 in the purchase or start-up of a US business.
Again, the US company must already be set up and ready for a visa application. If an existing business is acquired, the purchase contract must be present and the purchase amount must be in a trust account. The assignment may be subject to the condition of visa issuance. With the E-2 Visa, it does not matter if the applicant has a "home" company or not. The visa is issued for 2 to 5 years and includes, like the L-1A Visa, spouse and children until the 21. Year of life with one.
So far there is no direct route from the E-2 Visa to the Green Card. Although the bill already exists, it is unknown whether and, if so, when it will be decided. In other words, if the investor wants to get the green card and has an active company in their home country, then it is advisable to maintain it in order to pave the way to the Multinational Manager Green Card. Because this presupposes that the applicant is active in two active companies in two different countries as managing director or manager.
This article does not represent individual legal advice, but is for general information only.
Author Sabine Weyergraf is an attorney-at-law in the US state of New York and practices in her own law firm Weyergraf Immigration, PA in Sarasota, Florida.