So many have heard about the EB-5 program – invest $1M (or $500K) and you get a Green Card. At least that’s the short of it. The E and L visa classifications, on the contrary, are much more affordable options.
The E visa is for treaty traders and treaty investors, and it is used by many foreign nationals with an entrepreneurial spirit. The E visa allows a foreign national to come to the United States to work and live so long as they are a citizen of a country that has a Treaty of Commerce and Navigation (“TCN”) with the United States, and they are coming to carry on substantial trade or to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which he or she has invested in the U.S.
The spouse of the principal beneficiary of the E visa is permitted to obtain employment authorization to work for any company in the U.S., and unmarried children under 21 have the opportunity to attend any U.S. school. Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka have TCNs with the United States. India, on the other hand, does not.
Indians, however, can still come to the U.S. to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise, but through the use of the L visa. The L visa is a non-immigrant classification whereby companies may transfer employees working abroad to function in the same or similar capacity for the parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate company here in the U.S.
It also allows foreign nationals to establish new offices in America. So long as there is a business currently operating in India, it can be expanded into the U.S. by establishing and carrying on its operations under a U.S. company that is associated with the foreign enterprise. Therefore, like E visa holders, Indians can work and live in America even though a TCN doesn’t exist between the two countries. And much like E visa holders, the spouse of the principal beneficiary in L status can obtain unrestricted work authorization in the U.S.
Both the E and L visa classifications can be nice alternatives to the H-1B especially in a season when the allotment of annual visa numbers is unavailable.
Melissa N. Salvador
July 17, 2014
EB-5 Alternatives: E and L Visas
Posted on July 18, 2014