Check out this immigration information from expert Dr. Gregory Finkelson.
Wondering how the L-1 and E-2 visas can lead to a Green Card and permanent residency in the United States? Dr. Gregory Finkelson digs in.
“The United States is famous for its lottery system, but there are other immigration pathways,” Gregory Finkelson says. “
In some cases, different types of visas may be a better fit for different families of immigrants.
The L-1 and E-2 visas, for example, are good options for people looking to move to the United States within a matter of months.”
There are a few different types of L-1 visas. In any case, these visas are for employees, typically with managerial or specialized skills.
These visas are sponsored by foreign employers. Minor children and spouses can also immigrate.
The E-2 visa is an investor visa. However, the investor is expected to both make a serious financial investment and to manage and direct operations of the business they are establishing.
Needs can vary from business to business, but an E-2 investor visa is a great option for smaller businesses and you can get started with $100,000 or even less – depending on the type and size of your new US business.
The L-1 and E-2 visas are for whole families, so spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 can immigrate as well.
“Both the L-1 visa and E-2 visas are great options for families that want to immigrate to the United States in a matter of months,” Dr. Gregory Finkelson notes.
“They are not permanent immigration visas, which can be a good thing. The path to an immigration visa can take years.”
That said, those individuals who obtain these non-immigrant visas have pathways to later getting an immigration visa, which is also known as the so-called “Green Card.”
Those wishing to seek a Green Card can apply from both within and without the United States.
So, individuals who hold L-1 or E-2 visas can legally move to the United States and then apply for a change in status.
As non-immigrant visas, the L-1 and E-2 visas do not directly lead to a Green Card.
However, holding one of these visas can still help with the Green Card application process.
Importantly, both visas are considered “dual intent,” meaning that the American government recognizes that visa holders are likely to apply for a Green Card.
“Immigration law is certainly complex, especially in the United States,” Dr. Gregory Finkelson points out.
“Technically, the L-1 and E-2 visas do not directly lead to a Green Card. In practice, these visas allow immigrants to legally reside in the United States and can help pave the way to a Green Card, even if indirectly.”
For example, with the L-1 visa program, the employer can assist the employee in obtaining a Green Card by applying for an EB-1C immigration visa.
Since L-1 visa holders are typically talented individuals, they are often given preference. With the E-2 visa, if you can successfully establish your business and prove its potential growth, you will typically be given preference as well to apply for the investment immigrant visa EB-5.
“In the meantime, extending the E-2 and L-1 visas is usually straightforward,” Dr. Gregory Finkelson says. “The E-2 visa can be extended indefinitely, while the L-1 visa can be extended to between 5 to 7 years.”