Differences Between E and L-1 Business Investment Visas in California

There are a number of different business investment visas available for foreign workers who wish to come to the U.S. in order to set up a new business venture. The most popular are the E visa (which includes the EB-1, E-2, and EB-5 visas) and the L-1 visa.

While both types of visa can be used to bring employees to the United States, there are very specific rules surrounding the E visas. For example:

  • There must be an existing treaty between the United States and the foreign employee’s country
  • The company must be owned or controlled by nationals of the foreign treaty-abiding country 
  • Each employee who seeks E visa status must be a citizen of the treaty-abiding country 

The E visa can be limiting, as there are many countries that do not currently have treaties with the United States. The L-1 visa is a good alternative for companies in non-treaty countries who need to bring workers to the U.S., since it has fewer restrictions than the E visa, including:

  • L-1 workers do not need to hold a degree
  • L-1 companies do not have to attempt to fill the position with an American worker
  • There is no annual quota on the number of L-1 visas
Vaughan de Kirby
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California Immigration Attorney
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