For professionals, immigrating to the U.S can be achieved under various US business visa options, and the L-1 and E-2 visas are some of the viable choices to go forward with. While both hold the ability to live and work in the U.S temporarily, they have different attributes to help you make a decision. Let’s look at it:

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What is an L-1 Visa?

L-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa. If you are an executive or manager of a foreign company, and you aspire to start a company or to work in an existing company as an executive or manager in the U.S, you can apply for a L-1 visa. Large scale companies seeking to transfer their employees to the United States can utilize the L-1 intracompany work visa and enjoy the benefits it offers. The maximum stay duration for L-1 is seven years.

There are two types of L-1 Visa available in the market:

1) L-1A for Executive or Manager, and

2) L-1B for Specialized Knowledge

For L-1A or L-1B, the applicants require to have worked abroad with a foreign company for at least one year within the preceding three years. If the applicant is not employed in an executive or managerial capacity, the L-1B visa classification comes into play. In order for the applicant to be eligible, the foreign company must demonstrate that though the applicant is not employed in an executive or managerial capacity with the company, he/she is representing the organization’s interests with their specialised knowledge. (L-1B).

To obtain an L-1 visa the applicant must file an I-129 form with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service along with documentation proving the company and the employee’s eligibility for an L-1 visa. If the USCIS approves, it will issue a notice of the action. The applicants will then be allowed to apply for a visa at the United States embassy or their home country if he/she is outside of the U.S. They can also apply for a change of status while staying in the U.S.

There is an average of six months process time for L-1 Visa.

What is an E-2 Visa?

The E-2 visa is the most popular visa chosen by entrepreneurs. If you come from a country which maintains a treaty of commerce with the United States, then E-2 Visa allows you a temporary U.S. work visa if one can show a “substantial” investment brought in the U.S. The investment funds must come from the treaty country.

The E-2 visa minimum investment requirement is that you invest in a bonafide enterprise. By failing to do so, your petition will not be qualified. A bonafide enterprise is defined by the immigration authorities as “a real, active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit”. This should also generate employment opportunities for the American workers. The E-2 visa is not a path to permanent residence, the visa holder can remain in the United States by seeking an extension of stay every 2-years. E-2 visa USA is currently unavailable for direct application for Indian Investors. However, there is a way for Indian Investors to apply for E-2 Visa through citizenship by investment programs. Citizenship by Investment program is the pathway to E-2 Visa for Indian Investors. In this case, you can apply for Grenada, Turkey, or Montenegro’s citizenship by investment program and become eligible to apply for E-2 visa.

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