Transitioning from an L-1A Visa to an EB-5 Visa: A Strategic Move for Entrepreneurs

Transitioning from an L-1A Visa to an EB-5 Visa: A Strategic Move for Entrepreneurs

For many entrepreneurs, the L-1A visa serves as an essential entry point into the United States. However, navigating the immigration landscape often leads to considering more permanent solutions, such as the EB-5 visa. This post aims to explore the specifics of the L-1A visa, the advantages of transitioning to the EB-5 visa, and why this transition could be a strategic move for business owners.

Understanding the L1A Visa

The L-1A visa is designed for managerial and executive-level employees of multinational companies. It allows a foreign company to transfer these employees to a U.S. branch, subsidiary, or affiliate. To qualify, the applicant must have worked for the foreign company for at least one year within the past three years in a managerial or executive capacity.

Key points of the L-1A visa include:

  • Duration: The L-1A visa has a maximum duration of seven years. Initially, new businesses receive a one-year visa, with the possibility of extensions in increments of two to three years.
  • Employment Requirements: The U.S. company must hire full-time employees. The applicant must manage and oversee these employees, which can be a significant challenge for new or small businesses.
  • Speed of Approval: One of the L-1A visa’s significant advantages is its rapid approval process. With premium processing, approvals can occur in as little as 15 days, making it an attractive option for entrepreneurs looking to quickly establish a presence in the U.S.

Challenges with the L1A Visa

While the L1A visa offers a quick entry into the U.S., it comes with its challenges:

  • Hiring Requirements: The need to hire a substantial number of full-time employees (often around 10 to 15) can be daunting for many businesses. Failure to meet these requirements can jeopardize visa extensions.
  • Extension Pressures: The necessity to demonstrate business growth and hiring progress can create pressure and uncertainty, potentially disrupting business operations.

The EB-5 Visa: A Pathway to Permanency

The EB-5 visa program provides qualified foreign investors with the opportunity to gain permanent residence (a “green card”) in return for investing $800,000 in projects located in Targeted Employment Areas that create at least ten permanent full-time jobs for U.S. workers.

Why Consider Transitioning to an EB-5 Visa?

  1. Permanent Residency: Unlike the L-1A visa, which is temporary, the EB-5 visa leads to a green card, providing permanent residency status.
  2. Flexibility: The EB-5 visa grants more flexibility in managing your business. There’s no requirement to hire a specific number of employees within a set timeframe. This flexibility allows businesses to grow more organically.
  3. Concurrent Filing: The EB-5 visa allows for concurrent filing with the L-1A visa. This means you can apply for an EB-5 visa and start benefiting from its advantages, such as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and Advanced Parole, which provide unrestricted work and travel permissions.
  4. Dual Intent: The L-1A visa is a dual intent visa, allowing holders to pursue permanent residency through the EB-5 program without jeopardizing their current status.

Strategic Planning for Transition

For those considering the transition from an L1A to an EB-5 visa, strategic planning is crucial:

  • Initial Setup: Secure the L1A visa and establish your U.S. business. Ensure it meets the managerial and executive requirements.
  • Business Growth**: Focus on growing your business and meeting initial hiring requirements to maintain L1A status.
  • Concurrent Filing**: When ready, apply for the EB-5 visa concurrently. This step should ideally occur within the first few months of your L1A status to maximize benefits.


Transitioning from an L-1A visa to an EB-5 visa can be a strategic move for entrepreneurs seeking long-term stability in the United States. The EB-5 program offers the promise of permanent residency, greater operational flexibility, and relief from the stringent hiring pressures of the L1A visa. By planning carefully and leveraging the benefits of both visas, business owners can secure a prosperous future in the U.S.

If you are considering this transition, it is advisable to consult with immigration professionals to tailor a strategy that aligns with your business goals and im

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