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Should I apply for the E-2 or L-1 Business Visa?


Question: I have a business and want to either purchase or buy a business in the U.S. but do not know which one of the visas would be better. The choices that I have been given are the E-2 and the L-1. Can you clarify and/or help me make the decision?


Answer: Each visa has its advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes the E-2 will be better for somebody, while for another person, the L-1 might be better.   First, you must determine if you are from a country which has a treaty with the United States. Without a treaty, you cannot get the E-2. This would mean that for sure you are required and can only get the L-1.


Next, we need to determine if you have a business in your foreign country and whether you have been running the business for at least one year. Without a business, you cannot apply for the L-1 as that is a basic requirement for doing the L-1.


Question: How much do I have to invest for each one?


Answer: The E-2 generally requires around $75,000 to $100,000 U.S. investment. The L-1 is actually requires much less money. Many L-1’s can do an investment with only $20,000 U.S. Thus, if you do not have the necessary amount of money to invest in the business, then it would be the L-1 that you would apply and not the E-2.


Question: Can I just transfer money to my U.S. bank account  and will that be considered an investment?


Answer: No. That is just a transfer of money. You can get that money out anytime you want. An investment actually puts the money at risk where you cannot simply withdraw it anytime you like. Thus, if the business you want to begin in the U.S. is one that requires very little investment, or requires only a computer and online work, then the E-2 will not work. It would be better to do the L-1.


Question: Speaking of computer work, can I just use a room in my house I will rent there, or the garage for the work?


Answer: No. You must have a real ‘brick & mortar’ office. You can certainly rent an inexpensive office that shares the conference room, waiting area and kitchen will other tenants, but you must have a real office in order to have any hope of getting the E-2 or L-1 approved.


Question: Where do I file the E-2 or L-1?


Answer: The E-2 can be filed directly at the U.S. Consulate. You do not need prior U.S. Immigration approval. Thus, the filing fees, time for approval and review are generally less than with an L-1. The L-1 must get prior U.S. Immigration approval at USCIS. You could file by premium processing with will take much less time, but still it must be filed in the U.S. Once approved, it will be transferred to the Consulate upon which you are going to apply for the actual Visa. Of course, you could also do a change of status to E-2 or L-1 inside the U.S. However, once you leave, you will still need consular approval to re-enter the U.S.




Can you visit Canada on an L1 Visa?

Holding L1 Visa. Want to Visit Canada – Avvo.com http://ping.fm/Vlpkj

How to convert an L-1 to H-1 petition?

Procedure to convert from L1 to H1 – Avvo.com http://ping.fm/PgW8F

US Economic Policy on H-1B and L-1 Visa

Are US companies taking advantage of cheap labor in H-1B Visa applicants? This is the question some government officials are asking. The Economic Policy Institute released a briefing paper titled “Bridge to Immigration or Cheap Temporary Labor? The H-1B & L-1 Visa Programs Are a Source of Both.”

How Does L-1 Intracompany Transferee Work?

If you work at a company outside of the United States which has some type of branch or related office in the United States, you can come to the United States as an Intracompany Transferee. It can be approved in as fast as two to three months. The visa can be extended for up to 7 years depending on the type of employee you are.

If you are a manager, and later want to get your green card, you can quickly obtain your green card as a Multinational Manager. Otherwise, if you are not a manager, and decide you want your green card, you can apply for ‘Labor Certification’ while you have your Intracompany Transferee Visa.

Your spouse and unmarried children can come to the United States once your visa is approved. Additionally, you children can go to school in the United States without a problem.

There are two major types of L Visa. First, is the L-1A which are managerial and executive in nature. The other type would be the L-1B which deals with intracompany transferees that have what is known as ’specialized knowledge’.

Provisions to prohibit the “outsourcing” of L-1B specialized knowledge workers were enacted in December 2004. Specifically, L-1B temporary workers can no longer work primarily at a worksite other than that of their petitioning employer if either: (1) the work is controlled and supervised by a different employer; or (2) the offsite arrangement is essentially one to provide a non- petitioning party with local labor for hire, rather than a service related to the specialized knowledge of the petitioning employer. The USCIS will interpret these provisions to require an L-1B petitioning employer to retain ultimate authority over the worker. The determination as to whether an alien is or will be employed primarily at a worksite other than that of the petitioner will depend on the specific facts presented.

 The bar will not apply if the satisfactory performance of such off-site employment duties requires that the L-1B temporary worker must have specialized or advanced knowledge of the petitioning employer’s product, service, or other interests, as defined under current USCIS regulations. General skills or duties that relate to ordinary business or work activities would not meet the test of whether specialized knowledge is required for the work.

There has been an increased level of scrutiny on the part of USCIS of L-1B petitions in general, and of L-1B petitions filed for workers in the information technology (IT) field in particular which coincided with the implementation of the 2004 law and its special restrictions on employers contracting L-1B workers out to unrelated third parties. In some cases, USCIS adjudicators appear to be applying an outdated analysis of specialized knowledge, based on the law as it stood before amendments made by the 1990 Act.

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