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How do I choose between the L-1, E-2, and EB-5 visa?

I am interested in making an investment for my immigration from Mexico to the United States. I have already spoken with one immigration attorney and was presented with L-1, E-2 and EB-5 as options. How do you advise clients to choose among these options? Biggest priorities for me are timing (faster process), risk and bringing my family here.

Answers

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    Barbara Suri

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The L-1 and E-2 visas are non-immigrant visas. The EB-5 is an immigrant visa, and requires an approved petition. Processing times for you and your family members, would depend upon whether you are filing from within or outside of the United States, as well as the government'''s case load at the particular location where you will be processed. The non-immigrant visas moves much faster. I am not sure what “risks” concern you - risk of losing your funds, risk of harm to your family, risk of being approved? Please elaborate.

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    An experienced EB-5 immigration attorney can analyze the different options from a cost or expense standpoint, and timeline. An EB-5 regional center project may be very quick, and less costly.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    A non-immigrant process like the L-1 and E-2 can usually result in a faster entry to the United States, but you will have to renew your visa/status every few years, usually requiring additional investment into your business. If you can wait for the processing time and higher up-front investment, the EB-5 results in permanent residency right off the bat. The possible risk with the non-immigrant processes is that you have to submit new applications for each renewal, with each carrying its own risk of denial, compared to only two applications with the EB-5 process (original I-526 and removal of conditions).

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If time is of the essence, I would forget EB-5 for now; it is involved and we are looking at an 18 month time period. E-2 looks better for you. It requires less of an investment for you. It is possible over time to add more to the investment and raise it to the threshold of an EB-5 and then apply for EB-5. L-1 would usually require a larger amount of investment. Do you currently have a company in Mexico? If so you could joint venture with a U.S. company under the L-1 for perhaps less of an investment amount.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If it was not clear from your first consultation, perhaps get a second opinion requesting specifically to advise you on the factors that are important to you. The E-2 does not typically lead to a green card unless you are investing the EB-5 amount for that location and will create ten new permanent direct jobs within 2-3 years. The L-1A is the fastest if your facts will support this.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If timing is a high priority for you, then either the L-1 or E-2 is a better option than EB-5. You certainly can do the nonimmigrant visa (L-1 or E-2) first and then apply for the EB-5 after you arrive in the United States (and after you meet all of the EB-5 requirements of course). When choosing between L-1 and E-2, your attorney should be advising on the specific requirements for each to determine which one fits your actual situation. For example, if you have a foreign company that will be the parent and will open a new branch or subsidiary in the United States, then you might consider L-1, if you have been employed as a manger or executive with the parent company abroad for at least one year out of the past three years and if the new U.S. branch office will support a managerial position within one year. On the other hand, if you do not have a company abroad, or if there is no qualifying company relationship between the foreign parent company and the U.S. company, then you might consider an E-2 treaty investor visa. You must make a substantial investment into the U.S enterprise (owned at least 50% by you) and you must be coming to the United States to develop and direct the U.S. operations. The enterprise must not be marginal, but it must have either the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income for you and your family or the capacity to generate a positive economic impact. Keep in mind that the L-1 maxes out at seven years, while the E-2 can be renewed for as long as your E-2 company is operating. After your company has been doing business for at least one year (and meets the other requirements for supporting managerial or executive positions), you can apply for a green card in the EB1C category (Multinational Manager or Executive). The EB1C green card is a permanent green card, not two-year conditional green card, like the EB-5. As for EB-5, it really should be a last resort for those who do not have any other U.S. immigration options.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    L-1 and E-2 are not options to get you the permanent residency (green card) - you will need to take another process, such as EB-5, in order to get the permanent residency status. Also, as long as you could maintain (renew) the L-1 or E-2 visas every two or more years, you and your spouse may be able to stay and do business, but when your children reach 21 years of age, they will not be able to stay here without finding another path to immigration on their own. They may allow you to enter the United States a little faster than EB-5, but it is only temporary and does not get you the green card very easily. EB-5 on the other hand is an immigrant visa program where, if you are approved, you, your spouse and all the children under 21 are able to come into the United States with conditional residency status (temporary green card) for two years that could be changed to permanent residency with the successful removal of condition application (I-829). The key is to choosing a good EB-5 project/business that could assure the approval of the I-829 within two years of your entry as a conditional resident. Please consult with an experienced EB-5 attorney to advise you on the pros and cons of these processes and help with choosing the best option for you and your family.

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    Gregory Romanovsky

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Thank you for your inquiry. If I were you, I would be choosing between L-1 and EB-5, as both of these options will potentially result in your family (you, your spouse and any minor children) getting permanent resident status in the United States. EB-5 is an immigrant visa petition, and L-1, although an non-immigrant visa, has a direct path to green card after a year. An E-2 visa is only temporary. Assuming you meet the requirement for an L-1 visa (I have no information to determine that), L-1 may be preferable, as you won't have to put $500,000 at risk. On the other hand, the EB-5 option will get you straight to permanent residence and could be less complicated. The final decision must be based on a detailed analysis by an experienced immigration attorney.

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    Stephen Berman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    E-2 would be the fastest by far.

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