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Immigration E2 vs L1 Business Visas - Which One is Better?

In this video an immigration attorney discusses the similarities and differences of the E2 vs L1 business visas. With the information provided by the immigration lawyer you can determine which immigration business visa is better for you. We hope this video helps you decide if the E-2 business visa or the L-1 business visa is better for you.

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This video is intended for education purposes and should not be taken as legal, financial or tax advice. You should consult with a professional about your unique situation before acting on anything discussed in these videos. Freedomtax Accounting and Multiservices Inc., Freedom Insurance Financial Inc., Freedom Realty Source Inc., and Freedom Immigration International Inc. are providing educational content to help small business owners and individuals become more aware of certain issues and topics, but we cannot give blanket advice to a broad audience. Freedomtax Accounting and Multiservices Inc., Freedom Insurance Financial Inc., Freedom Realty Source Inc., and Freedom Immigration International Inc. or its members cannot be held liable for any use or misuse of this content.

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E2 and L1 business visas


Carlos: If you are a foreign entrepreneur and want to start your own business in the United States, you have many options for immigration. Two of the most common options are the E2 visa and the L1. These two visas have similarities and many differences. And that’s what we’re going to talk about in this video. Hello from Freedom Group, we are a group of four companies where we provide tax accounting, immigration, real estate insurance and financial planning services. And in this video, we’re going to show you the similarities and the differences from the E2 visa and the L1 visa for business owners that want to come to the US. For that we’re going to bring our immigration attorney Mr. Robert. Robert, how are you doing?  

Robert: I’m good. Carlos, how are you?   

Carlos: Robert is our immigration attorney here at Freedom Immigration. So Robert, many foreign business owners want to come to the US and start their own business they choose to work with Freedom Group because not only can we provide the immigration consultation, we can also open up their business, talk about their taxes talk about accounting, and most of them know that the E2 visa and the L1 visa are good options for them. And we know that these visas have a lot in common but they also have many things that are different, right?   

Robert: Yes, okay.  

Carlos: So basically, what is the L1 visa and what is the E2 visa?  

Robert: Well, the L1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa which allows foreign companies to transfer employees to work for a related US company they can be either manager executives which is B now one a or skilled workers which would be an L1 B now the E2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa for investors looking to establish a new company.   

Carlos: Okay, so both are non-Immigrant Visas What does nonimmigrant visa mean?   

Robert: It means they do not lead directly to a green card. And they’re honorary. You have to renew them.   

Carlos: Okay. And then you have to remember that the other difference is that one is position based and the other one is investment based. What is that about?   

Robert: Correct, the L1 visa is position based which means you have to work for a foreign company executive manager capacity or as a skilled worker and then be transferred to a related company in the United States working in one of those positions. If you’re an investor you can title yourself an executive and then come in on L1A visa as an executive or manager. Meanwhile, the E2 is specific to the investment. There’s no specific quantity that the USCIS requires. But in the majority of our experience, it is between 100 and 150,000. Just has to be enough to be labeled as substantial.   

Carlos: Okay. We know that some of these investor visas or business visas can be based on nationality. Does nationality affect the L1 or the E2 visa? 

Robert: It doesn’t affect the L1 visa. You can be from any country and there’s not an issue. But the E2 visa is specific to be an E2 treaty where your country has to have an E2 treaty with the United States. You can obtain this information from the State Department’s website just you can just google E2 treaty countries.   

Carlos: Okay and that gives you the list of the countries that are eligible for the E2. 

Robert: Correct. 

Carlos: Okay. And in terms of work authorization, what’s the difference between the L1 and the E2?   

Robert: They are both very similar where the workout three sessions. Both grant you the ability to work but you have to work specifically for the company that has petitioned you. And in the case of the E2 visa you have to be actively involved in the company. You can’t just be a passive investor.   

Carlos: Okay. And in terms of how long the visa lasts, what is the visa duration for the L1 and E2?   

Robert: The E2, it ranges from one to five years depending on what country you’re from. But it can be renewed constantly. Very important is the state that even if you get the E2 visa for five years, you can just come in and stay five years. The most you can stay without interruption is two years, then you have to leave to reset the time. Now on the L1 visa it’s between one to three years depending on how long the US business has been established. New offices would only get the visa for one year initially and then have to be renewed. But if you’ve been around for longer then you get a three-year visa. The L1A visa manager executive, the maximum time you can have that visa for seven years. Meanwhile, skilled worker L1B you’d only be a maximum of five years.   

Carlos: Okay? And we know that also one of the differences between the E2 visa and the L1 is in terms of a new office or an existing office. Tell us a little bit more about that.   

Robert: Well, both visas are available if for a new business or an existing one. Because of the E2 visa you can either create a new business or you can acquire current business. The important one there is you have to own at least 51%. Meanwhile, in an L1 visa, it’s the same, you can either acquire a business that is related to your one-year foreign country, or you can create a new one. The issue there is like I mentioned before, if it’s a new office, you’re only going to get the visa for one year, initially.   

Carlos: Alright, so in conclusion, Robert, which visa is better: E2 or L1?   

Robert: Well, if the E2 I believe is the best one because you can keep renewing it and you don’t have a limit of seven or five years and you also don’t need don’t have the requirement of having to have already a business created in your foreign country to then have to have a related one in the US and do the transfer. But if your country does not have an E2 treaty with the United States, then it’s a simple answer. The only option between these two would be the L1. 

Carlos: Okay. So now you know those are the similarities and the difference between the L1 and the E2 visa. So, Robert, if someone wants to start an E2 visa process or an L1 visa process, what do they have to do?   

Robert: Call Freedom Immigration at 407-910-4770   

Carlos: Perfect and then you can also visit Freedom Immigrations website, which is We are going to provide a link to that website in the description of this video. So, thank you for watching. I hope you have received value out of this video. If you have, please like it and share it with other business owners. Remember that in this channel, we provide strategies for small business owners so they can achieve their financial goals. If that is a topic that you like, please subscribe to our channel. Thank you for watching and God bless you. Bye. 

Robert: God bless.