Is The L-1 Visa A Good Alternative to The EB-5?

Published on 06/22/2015

Hello, my name is Vaughan de Kirby and as you may know we focus our practice on EB-5. But earlier today my Communications Director handed me a question from one of our clients and I thought I’d address it really quickly here. That is the L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa. Some people see this as a possible substitute for EB-5 and let’s talk about that and find out what it is.

Basically what it is, is when you have a company in China that wants to transfer to the United States two key personnel to operate a new subsidiary. So the elements are a company that’s operating in the foreign jurisdiction, and then the establishment of a new subsidiary in the United States, or possibly purchasing a 51% interest in a company that becomes the subsidiary and transferring your two key personnel to the United States.

Now it’s important to understand a couple things on this. Number one: generally this visa is granted for a period of one year. At the end of one year, you must go back to USCIS and show them that you have followed your business plan, and that you have done the things you said you were going to do in that business plan.

Now an important benefit of L-1 is the spouse of the L-1 can obtain work authorization and the children can go to school in the United States. Now an L-1 can lead to a Green Card and there is another application that can be made later.

But the difference between an L-1 and an EB-5 is important to note. In the L-1 you must work in that executive capacity in your business whereas in EB-5 the business is operated by the regional center.

So it can be an alternative. In EB-5, you are immediately eligible for a green card. In L-1 you must apply for a green card and the requirements are quite stringent. So if you are able to do an EB-5, that is probably a better alternative, if your goal is to obtain a green card for yourself and your family. I hope this was of help to you. 

Vaughan de Kirby
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San Francisco California EB-5 Investment Immigration Attorney