US Residency through the L-1 and E visas

  • May 8th, 2015
  • Russell Weigel
  • Comments Off on US Residency through the L-1 and E visas

Are you interested in moving to the United States and opening a business, but you aren’t sure how to make it happen? You’ve come to the right place! There are many options spawned off of a plethora of opportunities that let you live in America if you are eligible for an E-1, E-2 or an L-1 visa. What’s the difference? The L-1 visa, Intracompany Transferee for Executive, Management and Skilled Worker, is initially approved for one year of residency yet restricted to seven, while the E-1 for Treaty Traders and E-2 visa for Treaty Investors, can be granted for two years initially and be indefinitely renewable.

Though it may seem easy to decide which visa is best for you, consulting an immigration attorney is a safe choice. Applying for the visa that pertains to your case is the first step in a successful U.S. residency, after all.

Requirements for an L-1 Visa

The L-1 visa is mostly restricted to people who are residents of, and own businesses in, countries outside of the U.S. and aiming to expand their business operations by opening a branch in America. The initial status is approved for a period of one year for new organizations or three years for existing operations and can be renewed up to seven years. If you’re planning on applying for an L-1 visa you must provide documentation that proves there is a physical office for the business you own and a solid business plan proving that your business will ramp up its operations within its first year. Additionally, you will be expected to show how executive positions will be filled for the year following your arrival. In the instance your new branch is successful, you will be permitted to apply for extensions, nonetheless, the L-1 visa is a viable direct pathway leading to permanent residency or “green card”.

Requirements for E-1 & E-2 Visa

Obtaining an E visa is another viable alternative for citizens of countries who participate in a treaty agreement with the U.S. The E-1 Treaty Trader is admitted to solely engage in international trade on his/her own behalf. In the event of an E-2 Treaty Investor visa, you can be admitted through this classification so long as you invest a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business to ensure future prosperity. You will need to do fairly extensive research and write a detailed business plan outlining your intentions and potential growth. Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation of the United States with your home country is compulsory. If the business you’re going to start is a corporation, a minimum of 50% of the owning members should be native to the country of your original residency.


The U.S. government specifies other criteria in order to qualify for any of the above-mentioned visas. For more information on the L-1, E-1 or E-2 visas and proper visa planning, please contact RCW Law.

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