How can I use both an L1-A visa and the EB-5 visa to receive my permanent residency more quickly?
I am currently in the United States on an L1-A visa. I want to continue working for my L1 sponsor-employer and establish my own business through the EB-5 program. Can I invest in my own business while on an L1-A visa and apply for the EB-5 visa at the same time? What would be the quickest way for me to get my permanent residency?
While being employed in the United States under the L-1 status, the L-1 employee can invest their personal funds into another new commercial enterprise in order to obtain conditional permanent residency based upon the EB-5 regulations.
If you are currently in L-1A status in the United States, you may not work for your own business (EB-5 entity). It is possible to be in a passive investor/policy-making role not to violate the terms of your L-1A visa. You should consult an experienced immigration attorney to discuss specifics of your case. It might be of a greater benefit and less financially riskier for you to obtain a permanent green card as a multinational executive (manager) rather than a conditional green card through EB-5, unless your company where you hold an L-1A position is not willing to sponsor you.
That may be okay, but retaining an immigration attorney with experiences in both L and EB-5 processes would be essential. Besides marriage to a U.S. citizen, many believe that the EB-5 program may be one of the quickest and most direct methods of obtaining U.S. permanent residency, but retaining qualified immigration counsel would be most beneficial.
If you are already in L-1A and the company is doing business over one year, you are much better off by filing EB-1, multinational manager, through the company. A green card issued through EB-1 category is a permanent green card. EB-5 initially is a two year conditional green card and you have to remove the condition within 90 days of expiration date. However, if the company is not willing to or in no position to sponsor your EB-1 petition and you will have to go through EB-5, you should consult an immigration lawyer. Your initial investment into the company, date of the establishment of the corporation, where the funds came from, etc. can be complicated. You definitely need a lawyer to look into this permanent residency through EB-5.
The quickest green card (and 10 year card rather than two year) would be to have your employer sponsor you for a multinational manager green card (EB-1-3). This is similar to an L-1A (and you can file the I-485 at the same time to get an open market work permit), but it is for a permanent rather than a temporary position.
You can apply for an EB-5 as a L-1A visa holder. However, you cannot work for your own EB-5 business in the United States as you are not authorized to work for it. You can only act as an investor and play the policy maker role. As a L-1A visa holder, you can also apply a green card under the EB-1C category by filing the I-140 petition. Once your I-140 petition is approved, you can file the I-485 application to adjust your status into permanent resident in the United States. This route can be quicker than EB-5 and has less financial risk, assuming you meet the requirements of EB-1C. You need to talk to an experienced immigration attorney to evaluate each option for you.
Once you apply for EB-5 status your L-1 visa will be cancelled. When you receive your conditional green card, you will be a conditional permanent resident and you will have the right to work for anyone you wish. However, you must comply with all the requirements for the EB-5 during your period of conditional residence. There is no "quicker" way to get the EB-5 green card.