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The Difference Between E-2 and L-1 visa

Difference between the L-1 Visa and the E-1/E-2 Visa

Employers who hire a foreign-born worker who seeks to work in the United States must first secure a visa. There are various types of these employment-based visas, with the most common being H1, L1, and E1/E2 visas. A common question that people ask our visa immigration lawyers is regarding the difference between the L1 visa and the E1/E2 visas, and below is a summary of some of the differences.

Requirements for L-1, E-2, And E-1 Visas

The L1 visa is a non-immigrant work visa that allows a foreign company to send one of its employees to come and work for the company, its subsidiary, branch, or an affiliated company in the United States. The employee must have continuously worked for the company full-time in the last three years. Certainly, the managerial, executive, or employee must have specialized knowledge and will be working in the same role in the U.S.

The E1 visa is a non-immigrant business visa for nationals of a country with which the U. S. maintains a treaty of commerce. The E1 visa applicant comes to the U.S. to carry on substantial trade between the U.S. and the treaty country. Which is the basis for the application for the E-1 classification.

The E2 visa is a non-immigrant business visa for investors, entrepreneurs, and people looking to run a business in the United States. Having this visa allows the holder to start a new US business or to invest in an existing business. To qualify, you must be a national of an E2 treaty country, you must intend to leave the US at the expiration of your E2 status, and you must meet other requirements that an immigration visa attorney can go over with you.

The Focus 

Another major difference between e-2 and l-1 visas is the focus of the visa. In the case of L1, the primary focus is on the L1 visa beneficiary’s job duties and responsibilities. In the case of E1/E2 visas, the primary focus is a trade promotion. Trade between the U.S. and a country with the treaty of commerce. Business with the underlying rationale being this will help grow the U.S. economy. 

Visa Duration Difference 

 The length of time one can stay in the United States under each of these visas is different in that, for the L1 visa, if the foreign transferee is to work in a new office, then the initial visa is granted for a 1-year period, which can be extended. For an existing office, the L1 visa is granted for a 3-year period, which can also be extended. 

Talking about E1 visa, the maximum validity in this status is 2 years. Therefore, the holder must return to their native country or seek other options. On the other hand, for an E2 visa, the validity period is 5 years, which can be renewed with two-year extensions.

Learn More from an Austin Immigration Lawyer

If you need any of these visas, contact J. Sparks Law, PLLC, today to schedule a consultation. We can assist with your visa needs.