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How does the EB-5 visa differ from an L-1 visa?

How does the EB-5 visa differ from an L-1 visa (manager transfer)?

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The EB-5 visa allows a foreign investor with a lawful source of funds to obtain a conditional green card relatively quickly whereas an L-1A visa is a temporary work visa for managers or executives transferred from a company abroad to work in the United States. It leads to a permanent green card through multiple steps as opposed to the EB-5 visa.

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    Steffanie J Lewis

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    An L-1 visa is temporary authorization to work in the United States. Its purpose is to enable international businesses to move executives and persons with special knowledge to their affiliated United States entities. It is also used by foreign businesses to place executive or skilled personnel in the United States to start a U.S. subsidiary. By contrast, the purpose of the EB-5 visa is to create employment in the United States. A qualifying investment enables a national of a country other than the United States to obtain an EB-5 immigrant visa. Immigration is permanent in nature and, in time, an EB-5 investor may choose to apply for U.S. citizenship, whereas the L-1 is a nonimmigrant temporary visa.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The most important issue here is that the EB-5 gets you a green card while the L-1 does not. There are drastically different investment and business structure requirements as well, in addition to the role of the foreign national (EB-5 as an investor, L-1 as an executive or manager).

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There is all the difference in the world between an EB-5 immigrant visa and an L-1A nonimmigrant managerial intracompany transferee visa. The L-1A is a temporary visa based upon being transferred to the United States for a managerial position to work in a managerial executive position in the United States for an affiliate or subsidiary of the Chinese employer. Thus, it requires not only a qualified job in China for more than one year as a manager or executive, as both terms are narrowly defined, but more importantly, it has to be with a company that has an affiliate in the United States where you can be employed. Typically to qualify for L-1A status both abroad and in the United States to be a manager you must be working for a company with significant revenues and managing a significant number of individuals unless they are all professional employees. The EB-5 immigrant visa is a visa based upon a minimum investment of $1 million unless it is located in a Targeted Economic Area (TEA) where the minimum investment could be $500,000. It does not require any job skills, does not require you to be employed or to have any prior relationship with the job creating entity in the United States.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Basically, a successful EB-5 application will lead to a green card for the investor, the spouse and all unmarried children under 21. The L-1 visa is limited in time with a one year visa to open a "new office" and then two extensions for three years for a total of seven years. It may in some instances lead to a green card for the applicant. The investment is usually less than is required by EB-5.

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    Jack C Sung

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    EB-5 is permanent, L-1A (manager, not L-1B, though both are L-1) is temporary. EB-5 requires an investment benchmark, L-1A does not. EB-5 is an investment green card, L-1A is a work visa. EB-5 can be passive management, L-1A requires active management. EB-5 does not necessarily require the investor to draw a salary, L-1A requires the investor to draw a salary. And so on and so forth...

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The differences between the types of visa are staggering. On the one hand, EB-5 is an investor visa. Applicants are required to invest a minimum of either $500,000 or $1 million depending on the location of the investment project. On the other hand, the L-1 visa is filed by employers to transfer their managerial employees outside the United States to their U.S. branch or subsidiary offices so that they can manage their businesses in the United States.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    An EB-5 is an investor green card, whereas an L-1 is a temporary company transfer work visa. While certain L-1A managerial or executive visas can be converted into EB-1C green cards, the standards are quite high and the person has to hold a senior managerial position in a medium to large company to be able to apply for the green card based on an L-1A.

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    Vaughan de Kirby

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    With the exception of the fact that they both deal with a business enterprise, they are very dissimilar. This is a question that can be best understood in a consultation with an experienced investment immigration attorney. The key difference depends on your goals. If you want to do business for a limited time in the United States, an L-1 may suffice. Though L-1 can lead to a green card, it is somewhat rare and difficult. If your goal is a green card for yourself, your spouse and minor children, then EB-5 is the correct choice.

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    Stephen Berman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The L-1 is a manager being transferred to a U.S. branch of a foreign company temporarily. The EB-5 is an immigrant visa for a person investing $1 million.

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