E2 visa and L1 visa are two different types of visas in the United States, both visas authorize you to work in the US. Both the L1 visa in the E2 visa are nonimmigrant visas. That means that both of them do not directly lead to a green card. But both visas can allow you to eventually change and convert from that visa category to a green card (Permanent Residency).
E2 Visa is non-immigration visa specially designed for Entrepreneurs and business owners which facilitate Entrepreneurs from specific countries who wants to invest a significant amount of money and run a business in the United State. With the help of this visa, you can live in the United States, start a business, and work for your business. To avail this visa, you must invest a significant amount of capital into a US business You can either start a new business or invest in already existing business. This visa is usually granted for up to 2 to 5 years initially so E2 visa holders can actively manage their business but it can be renewed over and over as long as the visa holders wants to run and operate their businesses successfully while staying in US. There is no fixed minimum investment requirement but it must be sufficient enough to run smooth operations of business. we typically recommend that you should keep the amount in mind to invest is at least $100,000 in their business or more to run business successfully. While investments of less than $100,000 can qualify, investing at least $100k or more, gives you a better chance that your investment will be considered substantial. E-2 visa holders can bring their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 to the U.S. Their Spouses are also eligible to work in the U.S while their children are eligible to attend the school. They can bring employees but these employees must also be from the same treaty country as the primary E2 visa holder.
In simple words, L-1 visa allows visa holder to transfer and their work in the U.S. This visa is specially designed for managers, executives or employees who are working in multinational companies and are being transferred from a foreign office to a U.S. office. If you work for a company abroad and they have a branch in the U.S., this visa allows you to transfer and work in the American branch. This visa is not specifically made for one type of company or specific company. All companies, ranging from huge corporations, medium sized companies, and small start-ups are eligible to transfer their employees to the US as long as they have a company or branch setup in US.
If you’re a boss or a high-level manager, you can use this visa to manage the U.S. branch of your company. The person applying for the visa is an employee of a multinational company and can work in the U.S. With the help of this visa companies can transfer their respective employees to work in US branch, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate company temporarily. To avail L1 visa, there must be a qualifying relationship between the foreign company and the US company. Further L1 is categorize into 2 categories i-2 L1 A & L2 B Visa.
L-1A Visa: This visa category is designed for managers or executives. This means you can manage the U.S. branch of your company. To qualify for this visa, an employee must have worked in a managerial or executive position for the foreign company for at least one year. This visa holders can stay in the U.S. for up to 7 years.
L-1B Visa: This visa category is designed for employees with specialized knowledge. The specialized knowledge can be related to the company’s products, services, research, systems, management, or other interests and its applications in international markets. It’s for employees with unique expertise that their U.S. branch needs. This visa holders can stay in the U.S. for up to 5 years.
In summary, the key difference between the two visa’s is E2 visa is for individuals who wants to invest and manage a business in the U.S. while, L1 visa is for employees of multinational companies being transferred to the U.S. branch.