L-1 Visa Reopens as Trump Ban Expires

The L-1 Visa route to the United States has reopened after President Trump’s temporary ban came to an end last night. President Biden chose not to renew the ban, which Trump had introduced as part of Covid restrictions last summer. 

L-1A Visa allows international managers and executives to move to the American office of their company for up to seven (7) years. The L-1B Visa allows an employee with specialized knowledge to relocate for up to five (5) years. Spouses of L-1 visa holders can apply for a work permit.  

Trump temporarily banned the L-1 Visa together with the H-1B visa on the grounds that he wished to protect American jobs amid the economic uncertainty of the Coronavirus pandemic. He extended the ban until March 31 shortly before leaving office. Biden opted to let the ban elapse naturally rather than explicitly rescind it.

Ongoing delays

Applicants still have to contend with a reduced number of consular appointments worldwide as well as travel bans affecting people from Europe, the UK, Ireland, and elsewhere. Davies & Associates has successfully made the case for L-1 (and E-2) Visa clients to be granted a National Interest Exception to be allowed to travel to the United States from countries subject to a travel ban. We even managed to secure some L-1 approvals despite the ban.

Many of our clients took the opportunity of the last few months to prepare their applications for when the L-1 route reopened. The release of this pent up demand, coupled with the reduction to consular operations, mean that new applicants could face a backlog and ongoing disruption until things are ironed out.

New Office L-1 Visas

The L-1 Visa is an intracompany transfer visa. It is regularly used by large multinationals to move staff from an overseas office to one of their US offices. It can also be used to support the growth of a new US operation. New-Office L-1 Visas allow entrepreneurs and business owners to send qualifying senior-level employees to the United States to set-up the new business.

Benefits of L-1 Visa

There are many benefits to the L-1 Visa, notably the fact that an accompanying spouse could apply for a US work permit. There are also no annual quotas based upon country of origin, which means there are no wait lists based upon supply and demand. The L-1 Visa is a temporary work visa, but applicants could subsequently decide to transition to a Green Card. The usual route from the L-1 visa to a Green Card is through the EB-1(c) visa. The EB-1(c) visa offers permanent residency for international managers and executives.

L-1 Visa for Indians

Indians are one of the largest recipient groups for the L-1 Visa with over 40,000 issued the year before the pandemic. Indians are not directly eligible for the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, so L-1 is viewed as a popular alternative for Indian business owners and entrepreneurs. However, a small but growing number of Indians are first obtaining Grenadian citizenship in the West Indies and then obtaining an E-2 Visa by virtue of their Grenadian citizenship.

Other countries with large number of applications are L-1 Visa from Mexico, L-1 Visa from Japan, L-1 Visa from the United Kingdom, L-1 Visa from China, and L-1 Visas from Brazil. All have around 10,000 L-1 Visa issuances per year.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


US Business Immigration Visas: L1, E2, EB5 Comparison Table

Our firm has helped hundreds of business owners and families move to the United States on EB-5, E-2 and L-1 visas. Which visa is best depends entirely on your unique personal circumstances. We recommend every new client have a free consultation with our team to discuss the various options in light of their personal goals, budgets and interests.

L-1 VisasE-1 VisasE-2 VisasEB-5 Visas
Visa available to nationals of any country?Nationals of treaty trader countries onlyNationals of treaty trader countries only
Must I have worked for a related company abroad for one year?
Ability of dependent Spouse to work in US
Can the visa be renewed into perpetuity assuming I re-qualify?
Is a business plan a very key element of a successful application?
Minimum investment RequiredSufficient to operate valid foreign business and US office or business entityNo theoretical minimum, but enough investment to create a real, viable, businessSufficient to fund business enterprise, generally > $100,000 although less is possibleEither USD 900,000
or USD 1,800,000

Visa Duration

One of the key differences is the length of time you can remain in the United States on each visa. The EB-5 visa leads directly to a Green Card (permanent residency). This means you can stay in the United States permanently until such a time as you opt to surrender your Green Card or apply to naturalize as a US citizen.

The L-1 visa and the E-2 visa are both non-immigrant visas. These do not offer permanent residency, but the E-2 visa is perhaps the next best thing because you can renew it indefinitely. Unlimited renewals means that you could technically live in the United States forever, provided the underlying business remains in operation.

The L-1 Visa is renewable up to a maximum of seven years for the L-1A visa and five years for the L-1B visa. After this time you would need to leave the US or transition to another visa or apply for a Green Card. It is best to discuss your options with an immigration attorney. Good fits for the L-1 visa are the EB-1(c) visa or the EB-3 visa. You can of course, also explore options for transitioning to a Green Card from an E-2 visa if you wish to make your presence in the US more permanent and not tied to the E-2 business.

The amount of time granted on your initial L-1 and E-2 visa will vary depending upon where you are from. Each country has a so-called reciprocity schedule which dictates the maximum visa validity period. Note that your visa might not be granted for the full period listed under your particular country. The authorities may wish you to return sooner to check on the status of your business. For example, “New Office L-1 visas” are granted for just a year initially, so checks on your progress can be made.

Investment Requirements

Each visa comes with a different associated investment requirement. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa – as the name suggests – offers a Green Card by investment. The investment requirements are $900,000 for investments in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) and $1.8 million outside these areas. In practice, the Regional Centers who manage the vast majority of EB-5 investments all work in TEAs and so only the $900,000 applies. If you wish to do Direct EB-5, we would need to make sure the investment is placed in a TEA to qualify for the lower amount.

By conducting due diligence on the Regional Center and its project, an EB-5 investor can mitigate risks not only to the Green Card but also to the return of your capital. Most Regional Centers offer very low rates of interest (in many ways the Green Card itself is the return on the investment). By investing with a reputable Regional Center in a reliable project there is no reason why the investor should not see the return of their capital after several years.

There is no fixed investment requirement for the E-2 Visa. A good rule of thumb is that it should be in excess of $100,000 and must be appropriate for the business you are proposing to start or acquire. We have seen some successful E-2 applicants for less than $100,000, so we encourage you to contact us regardless. The investment does not only need to be cash – it can also be in stocks of inventory, patents, equipment etc.

The L-1 visa does not require investment if you are simply transferring from the overseas branch to the existing branch of a multinational company. New Office L-1 visas inevitably require investment to set up and grow the new US office. This needs to be suitable to the needs of the business.

Work Authorization

The EB-5 visa offers complete freedom to work (or not work) in the United States. A single application/investment can include not just the applicant but any spouse and children under the age of 21. Each family member receives their own Green Card meaning they are free to work in the United States. We find many of our EB-5 clients are motivated by their children university education and work prospects after graduation.

The primary applicant for the E-2 and L-1 visas are obviously required to work in the role they moved to the US to fulfil. Spouses of these visa holders, however, can apply for work authorization in the United States. This offers a lot more employment flexibility than the popular H-1B visa for example, since you are not tied to a particular employer. As non permanent residents, you are only taxed on your US earnings.

There are many different pros and cons to each of these visa categories. It is vital to discuss your personal circumstances with our team so we can take you through every eventuality and thereby determine the best visa for you and your family.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


End of US Travel Ban Releases Pent-Up Demand from Nigeria

President Biden’s decision to reverse President Trump’s travel ban has released pent up demand for US immigration services from Nigeria.

Nigeria was hit with a US travel ban in February 2020 after President Trump introduced new restrictions as part of his ongoing immigration reforms. The move added Nigeria and five other countries to what was widely referred to as a “Muslim Ban” that dated back to the start of his administration.

In Nigeria, where around half the population are Muslim, the ban specifically targeted those seeking permanent residency in the United States. This hit particularly hard in the family-based immigrant (Green Card) categories, but also effectively put a halt to the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program in the country.

EB-5 Visa Nigeria

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program had been growing rapidly in popularity in Nigeria over the past few years, albeit from a low base. In 2016, 38 EB-5 visa were issued to Nigerians, and by 2018 that number had jumped to almost 100.

The travel ban coincided with an increase in the minimum investment amount for EB-5 to $900,000 and then the outbreak of Covid-19. So a temporary dampening of demand in 2020 was likely with or without the travel ban.

But now EB-5 reopens and the pent-up demand is able to unleash. There are just over 700 EB-5 visas available to each country each year. This means Nigeria has a way to go before it hits its annual cap. But if its EB-5 growth trajectory resembles other countries like India, things could move fast.

The EB-5 program provides a fast route to a Green Card for a minimum $900,000 investment that creates ten jobs. Most people invest with an EB-5 Regional Center to help ensure compliance, but it is also possible to make the investment yourself through Direct EB5. A single investment can cover the primary applicant, a spouse, and any children under 21.

L-1 Visa Nigeria

Where we are seeing the most interest right now from Nigeria is the L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa. Technically Nigerians were not prevented from applying for this visa as part of the travel ban, but it made the whole process much harder.

Then in June 2020, President Trump announced a worldwide ban on the L-1 visa among many other visas as part of his plans to contain the economic impact of Covid-19. The L-1 visa is only just reopening as Trump’s ban expires. The pent up demand has built up quite a queue worldwide, so it is a good idea to get started on an application.

The L-1A visa allows an international manager or executive to move from the Nigerian office to the US office of the same company. If you are looking to expand your business to the US, you can use the L-1 visa to move to the US to oversee the set-up and growth of the new office. The L-1B visa permits you to transfer an employee with “Specialized knowledge” to the US.

The L-1A visa is limited to a maximum of seven years and the L-1B for a maximum of 5 years. But you would not get the full amount in one go. Nigerian L-1 visas are issued up to a maximum of 2 years, at which time you would need to apply for a renewal. After the maximum period, you must switch to a different visa or return to Nigeria.

E2 Treaty Investor Visa Plus CBI

The other visa a lot of potential Nigerian clients ask us about is the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. The E-2 visa allows a person to move to the US for the purposes of owning and operating a business. People use it to buy restaurant franchises or gas stations, but the business opportunities are much broader than this. You no longer even need physical premises.

The visa is hugely popular, but there is one catch for Nigerians. Nigeria does not hold an E-2 Treaty with the USA. This means that Nigerians seeking an E-2 visa need to first become citizens of a country that does have a treaty. The process is known as E-2 + CBI.

The two E-2 countries with the cheapest and fastest routes to citizenship are Turkey and Grenada. Turkish citizenship can be obtained with an investment in real estate from $250,000 or bank deposits worth more than $500,000. Grenadian citizenship can be obtained with a donation from $150,000 or a real estate investment from $220,000. Citizenship of both countries can be obtained in a matter of months.

The extra step can seem like a hassle, but we have helped clients through this prcoess and it is simpler than it sounds. Plus, for many, the E-2 visa is worth the effort. Spouses of the primary applicant can apply for a separate US work permit, investment requirements are relatively low, and the visa can be renewed forever – provided the business is still in good operation.


The combination of Covid-19 and a travel ban has hit Nigerian immigration to the United States hard. But the travel ban is lifting and the vaccination program is underway. The 2020s look set to be brighter for Nigerians hoping to move to the United States.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Business Immigration from the UK to the USA

Political headwinds have left entrepreneurs and business owners looking for more effective ways to trade. Namely, moving to the source and setting up a business in America.

The United Kingdom is America’s seventh largest trading partner with imports from the UK totalling $125 billion and exports to the UK exceeding $147 billion in 2019.

While bilateral trade grew to an all time high before the pandemic, Trump administration policies have been making things harder for certain sectors. A trade dispute with the European Union over subsidies to Airbus resulted in tariffs being imposed on a number of British products. The Scotch whisky industry, for example, was hit by a 25% tariff on its exports to the US market.

Things should start changing as a result of Brexit and the inauguration of President Biden, but there has not yet been any hurry to remove these tariffs on the US side. Moreover, continued uncertainty around the future of trade and globalization has left many business leaders asking how they can do things differently to hedge against future instability.

As a result, we have seen an increase in the number of people coming to our firm to discuss business immigration options. Not just from Great Britain, but from across the European Union – from Germany, France, the Netherlands and beyond.

There is increased interest in business expansion to the United States, as well as with people wishing to set-up new enterprises. The good news is that, being a land of commerce, the U.S. has multiple options for just such people.

The L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa

The L-1A Visa allows a manager or executive level employee to move from the British office to the US office of the same company. More than 10,000 L-1 visas were issued to Brits in 2010. Many of them working at large multinationals and moving between established offices.

Yet, the L-1 can also be used to set-up and grow a new office in America. Businesses who do not yet have a presence in America can set one up and then transfer a senior-level employee to manage the business on an L-1 visa. D&A’s lawyers can take care of the company formation as well as the immigration work.

The L-1 is time limited, non-immigrant visa. British people are granted an initial visa of up to a maximum of 60 months (five years). New office L-1s are granted for a much shorter period so the authorities can monitor the progress for the business. Yet, these visas can be renewed – up to a maximum of seven years for an L-1A visa. There is also an L-1B route for people in the company with “specialized knowledge”. This is limited to a maximum of five years. To remain in the United States for longer, an L-1 visa beneficiary must switch to a different visa. The EB-1C and EB-3 visas offer permanent residency and fit well with the L-1 visa.

Click here to visit our UK L-1 Visa Page

E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

The E-2 Visa allows a person to move to the United States to operate a business. To qualify for the E-2 visa, a person must be a citizen of a country that holds a relevant treaty with the United States. The United Kingdom holds the oldest such treaty, dating back more than 200 years.

Click here to visit our UK E-2 Visa webpage

Eligibility is determined by citizenship, so if you were born outside the UK and subsequently became a British citizen, you would still eligible. This contrasts favorably with U.S. family-based and employment-based immigrant visa categories, where eligibility is determined by your country of birth.

There is no stipulated investment amount, but it must be credible to support the business plan. Generally speaking, it should be upwards of around $100,000.

Unlike the L-1, the E-2 visa can be renewed indefinitely provided the underlying business continues to trade and meets its targets. The maximum length of time an E-2 visa can be issued for is five years, at which point a renewal is required.

Family of both L-1 and E-2 visa holders can move from the UK to the US with the primary applicant. That includes a spouse and any children under the age of 21. Spouses can apply to work in the United States and often clients arrange their E-2 visa around the spouse’s career ambitions.

Visit our UK E2 Visa Center

EB-5 Visa

To have true freedom to work in the United States (and indeed study or retire), permanent residency is the best course of action. One of the fastest routes to a Green Card for UK nationals is the EB-5 Investor Visa. It offers a quick path to a Green Card for a $900,000 investment. This is cheaper than the UK’s own investor visa program, which starts from £2 million and increases in value if you wish to reduce the time period before your wish to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

The number of EB-5 visas available to each country each year is just over 700. The United Kingdom is not close to using up its quota, so there is no oversubscription or waiting list for UK EB-5. However, your EB-5 quota depends upon your country of birth. So, for example, an Indian-born British citizen would count under India’s quota. Given India’s population size and the popularity of the United States as a destination, India is often close to its annual cap.

Davies & Associates is one of the most well established EB-5 law firms in India. We have helped many Indian families successfully apply for their EB-5 visas and have been consistently quoted on the subject in the Indian media. Our Russian speaking lawyers and paralegals are also well placed to help the Russian community in the UK with their US immigration goals.

UK Solutions for Americans

Trade cuts both ways and Americans are inevitably also interested in UK visas. The United Kingdom is still gearing up its post-Brexit immigration system, but there are plenty of opportunities for American business owners and entrepreneurs. There is a UK intracompany transfer visa, which is similar to the L-1 Visa. There is a Sole Representative Visa, which has some similarities to the new office type of L-1 visa. The UK also has a start-up and innovator visas designed to attract innovative, scalable and viable technologies to the United Kingdom.

Davies & Associates is uniquely placed to help Brits looking to move to America and vice versa. Our chairman and founder is a Brit who migrated to America many years ago. Our core teams sit in New York, Chicago and London. Contact us today to discuss your specific circumstances.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


L-1A Intracompany Transfer Visa Client Testimonial

India L-1 Visa Client Testimonial

Davies & Associates helped a client from India obtain an L-1A Intracompany Transfer Visa despite the pandemic. The L-1A Visa allows for the transfer of a management or executive-level employee from the overseas office to the US office of the same company. The L-1B Visa allows the same for an employee with specialized knowledge.

It is possible to set-up a new US office and transfer yourself or a member of staff to the U.S. to grow the U.S. operation. L-1 Visa applicants can take a spouse and children under the age of 21 with them. Spouses can apply for work authorization.

The L-1A Visa is limited to a maximum of 7 years and the L-1B visa is limited for a maximum of 5 years. The validity of the initial visa will be less than the maximum and initial validity depends upon country of origin and whether or not the applicant is applying for a New Office L1.

The L-1 has no annual quotas. It is possible to transition to a Green Card. Typically this is through the EB-1C visa but the EB-3 visa is also an applicable option.

Learn more about the L-1 Visa by clicking here.

View our latest L-1 Visa Client Testimonial Here

In the words of the client:

“I am pleased to say that with the help of Davies and associates actually significant amount of help from them we have made a successful application and in the next few weeks i will start my new role with my uh existing uh organization uh nowhere was i felt that you know this is out of depth very very clear expectations in terms of uh personal documents that are needed workplace documents that are needed subsidiary company documents that are needed you know and this is the first attempt from my organization site to uh transfer uh indian workers uh or indian managers i would say uh to the us uh for uh managerial and senior managerial roles it took us some time there were a few road uh roadblocks along the way where um suddenly due to cove 19 the u.s immigration services made a temporary ban on issuance of visa but the organization which is u.s immigration services division associates were very very clear in communicating to me that this is a temporary hurdle and there are uh options available to us right so yes it took us nine months uh with certain changes uh significant changes in the u.s immigration policy and yet nine months later we’ve had a successful application converted to a visa for three years and uh i myself am going to be going back to them uh for a eb1c um later this year so yes overall they’re 10 on 10 in terms of feedback in terms of transparency of the process documentation was up to mark in fact there was a point where i was kind of wondering the amount of documentation that we have generated would somebody actually read through it and they actually read through everything they designed a business plan around the documents that were submitted uh and we moved forward very very quickly uh once everything was you know as per expectation so they kept going back to the drawing board until they were satisfied that the us immigration services will be satisfied with the uh our case application that we have provided and you know that’s the type of people you want in your team uh when you’re making uh an application uh visa application in a challenging uh immigration policy environment that we faced in 2020 so overall i i just want to say thank you and i appreciate all the hard work that uh Davies and associates and their consultants and their lawyers did on my behalf so thank you very much Davies and associates we’re a full service immigration law firm we have a core team of immigration specialists that will guide you through every step of the visa process in addition to that we have a core corporate team our corporate lawyers assist our foreign clients such as investors entrepreneurs foreign businesses seeking to expand or invest into the united states with a full suite of corporate services this can involve company formation and the drafting of key corporate documents establishing the u.s bank accounts and getting the necessary tax id numbers reviewing a commercial lease amongst many other items that our clients find necessary and useful for their business in their early stage operations in the united states”


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Obtaining an L-1 Visa Despite President Trump’s Ban

The L-1 Visa allows for the transfer of qualifying staff to the existing or newly established U.S. office of the same company.


By Verdie Atienza, Senior Attorney in Charge of L-1 & E2 Visa Practice

A prospective L-1A beneficiary from India approached our firm sometime in June 2020 to seek assistance in filing an L-1A petition for him. During that time, Former President Donald Trump had already imposed a ban on the issuance of the L-1A visa until December 31, 2020.

The client was a General Manager of a manufacturing and exports company in India which exports exports fully machined sand casts / die casts and other sheet metal pressed components made of aluminum alloys, zinc alloys, copper alloys, stainless steel, mild steel, and cast iron.

Our firm advised the client that despite the ban, USCIS continues to accept  and process L-1A petitions. We suggested that it was a good time to take advantage of the period of time to prepare the L-1A petition so that he would have an approval of the petition by the time the ban lapses. The client was fully informed that there was a risk for the ban to be extended beyond December 31, 2020. The client decided to move forward with the L-1A process as per the firm’s advice.

In the L-1A petition that D&A prepared, the US company requested that the beneficiary be transferred as a Senior Strategic Project Manager. The US company was established as a product distributor, but it has grown to become a value-added manufacturer in North America, with expanding supply chain in China and India.

We explained in detail that the L-1A beneficiary’s role at the US company will involve incorporating management of essentially all substantive areas, functions, and processes. The petition also outlined how  he will also serve as the ultimate director and manager of the lJ .S. employees constituting the Strategic Project Management Team.

The L-1A petition was approved without RFE and the L-1A beneficiary immediately applied  for the visa in India. Despite the fact that the ban was extended to March 3, 2021, the client, with D&A’s guidance, was able to schedule a visa appointment and obtain the L-1A visa in the midst of a pandemic where lockdowns, travel and quarantine restrictions are in place.

D&A was able to successfully explain that the applicant is a a senior-level manager  who has spent multiple years with the company overseas, indicating a substantial knowledge and expertise within the organization and that he will fill a critical business need for the employer meeting a critical infrastructure need in a designated industry.

Benefits of L-1 Visa

  • Set up and grow a new U.S. office
  • Can be used for managers & executives (L-1A) or employees with specialized knowledge (L-1B)
  • Take spouse and dependent children with you
  • Spouses can apply for work authorization in U.S.
  • No annual caps or quotas based upon country of origin
  • “Dual Intent” – you can pursue lawful permanent residency status during your stay in America

Watch our Video on the L-1 Visa

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Case Study: Green Card for L-1 Visa Client Switching to EB1C Visa

Davies & Associates has filed yet another adjustment of status for an L-1 visa client to transition to a Green Card on an EB1C Visa. The client, whose business specializes in satellite solutions for remote communications, initially moved to the United States on an L-1 Visa in 2017.

Back then, he established a US branch of his Australian company so that he could then transfer himself on an L-1 visa. With our teams of corporate and immigration lawyers working together, Davies & Associates is able to help with both setting up a company and then with obtaining the necessary visas.

The L-1 Visa is for the intracompany transfer of employees from an overseas branch to the US branch of the same business. It is typically used by employees of large multinational organizations, seeking to move their employees around the world.

But Davies & Associates specializes in “new office L1 visas”, whereby a client can set up a US branch of their foreign company and then move to the United States to manage that branch.

The foreign entity and the US office need to have a “qualifying relationship”, a term that has a degree of latitude. It is important to discuss what this means with one of our attorneys.

The L-1 Visa allows for the transfer of a management or executive level employee, as well as an employee with specialized knowledge (the latter being eligible for a L-1B visa).

L-1 Visa holders can bring their dependant families with them, and spouses are able to apply to work in the United States outside of the underlying business.

L-1 is a time limited visa. It can be renewed for up to seven years (five years for L-1B). It does not offer permanent residency, so people seeking to stay in the US longer, need to find an alternative solution.

This is precisely what we did for our Australian L-1 client when he wanted to transition to a Green Card.

The optimal route to the a Green Card for an L-1 Visa client is the EB1C Visa. It is an immigrant visa for management and executive level employees.

But timing is important. For beneficiaries of EB1C petition who are currently in the US, they must have been employed by the qualifying entity abroad for at least one year in the three years preceding the date that they entered the US as nonimmigrant working for the US entity.

 

Since our Australian client obtained his L-1 Visa in 2017, the window of opportunity was starting to close on his eligibility for the EB1C visa. The adjustment of status was filed in good time and the adjustment of status can begin.

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


EB-5 Visa, L-1 Visa, E-2 Visa

“Immigration Ban” Relaxed for H-1B and L-1 Visa Holders Returning to Same Job

By Maxine Philavong

After several lawsuits that were backed by large U.S. companies, the Trump administration relaxed part of its so-called “immigration ban” on foreign nationals, permitting those on H-1B and L-1 visas to return to their previous held employment in the U.S..

In April, the administration barred all foreign nationals who did not previously hold a valid visa from working in the U.S. for 60 days due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In June, President Trump signed an executive order extending their ban of all workers with a H-1B and L-1 visa, until the end of the year.

This meant that if a person had been waiting for these visas to be issued, or if you already had either of these visas but were waiting for it to get stamped, said person would have now had to wait until at least the end of the year.

The ban put thousands of foreigners waiting for their visas outside of the U.S. in a tough spot. For new visa holders waiting in their home country and those with a visa who had traveled to their home countries for stamping now found themselves barred from returning to the U.S. until the end of the year. Many feared job loss if they were not permitted to return.

Moreover, dependents of the visa holders were impacted, too. If a spouse of the visa holder had traveled to their home country to get their visa stamped but could not secure an appointment before the ban, they may have found themselves stuck in their home country.

However, after pushback from lawsuits that were back by large companies like Apple and Microsoft, the Trump administration has relaxed part of the ban.

Who Qualifies for the H-1B and L-1 Visa Exception?

After relaxing the ban on H-1B and L-1 Visa applications, the Trump administration favors those who qualify for national interest exception. This applies for those who are aiding in the fight against Covid-19 or those whose positions aid in economic recovery in the U.S. Meaning, there special exception for H-1b applications who are “technical specialists, senior level managers, and other workers whose travel is necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the U.S.”

Additionally, for both visa categories, the administration grants exception to those “seeking to resume ongoing employment in the U.S., in the same position, with the same employer and with the same via classification.”

Those traveling under the H-1B and L-1 visa to the U.S. should be able to prove at least two of the five criteria: “Their employer has a continued need for their work even during the pandemic; they make a significant contribution to a critical infrastructure need; they are paid at least 15% more than the prevailing wage; they have an unusual expertise in the industry; or that their employer would suffer financial hardship if their via was denied.”

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.

Please Contact Us to discuss any of the content in this article.


EB-5 Visa, L-1 Visa, E-2 Visa

Podcast: Comparing E2 & L1 Visas in Light of the “Immigration Ban”

The L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa was temporarily suspended last month as part of President Trump’s ongoing so-called “immigration ban”. The list of visa categories suspended through to the end of the year is now quite lengthy.

However, there are notable exemptions: The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa and the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa are not included.

In this podcast we speak to Verdie Atienza, a senior immigration attorney at Davies & Associates, to examine whether the E-2 visa may prove a possible alternative to the L-1 visa in certain cases.

Verdie heads up our L-1 and E-2 practice team and so he is well placed to compare and contrast these two visa categories. Listen in as he provides a forensic comparative analysis of both.

L-1 Visas are used to move to management-level staff from an overseas branch to the US branch of the same company. At D&A we specialize in “new-office” L-1s which is where an individual can set up a US branch of their overseas company and then move to the United States to manage that new office.

The E-2 Treaty Investor visa allows a person to bring their family to the United States for the purposes of running a particular business. It is necessary that your country of citizenship has a relevant treaty with the US to qualify. For those that do not initially qualify, D&A offers a two-step process whereby you first obtain citizenship of a country that does qualify, like Grenada or Turkey.

Topics covered in the podcast include:

  1. The impact of the immigration suspension
  2. Investment requirements
  3. Premises requirements in the United States
  4. Spousal Rights
  5. Children’s rights and ageing out?
  6. Visa duration
  7. Renewal process and limits
  8. Business plan requirements
  9. Nationality requirements and quotas
  10. Becoming eligible for an E-2 visa through Citizenship by Investment
  11. Transitioning to a Green Card?

This podcast is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please contact us to speak to an attorney.


6 Key Things To Know Before Applying for an L1 Visa

The L1 visa program is one of the most popular options for companies operating in the United States of America, to bring skilled workers at the executive or managerial levels, from overseas into the country. It is a non-immigrant visa, which means that it is granted to applicants who are not looking to permanently migrate to the country and hence is a short-term option. Every year there are millions of workers who apply for the L1 visa for USA from India, due to the vast presence of Indian companies in the country. The American L1 visa can range in duration from three months to 7 years, depending on the migrant’s country of origin. The L1 visa also allows for owners of small businesses to expand their business in the United States and transfer an executive member of staff to the United States to manage that business.

If you are looking for information about the L1 program read our guide that will tell you about 5 key things you should know before applying for one:

  1. Reciprocity schedule: The duration of validity of the L1 visa ranges from 3 months to 7 years. This is largely based on the relations of the country of origin of the worker, with the United States of America. For countries like India and Japan, the L1 visa is granted for 5 years, which can be extended for 2 years more. If you are applying for the L1 visa, please check the US government website to refer to the reciprocity schedule and check the status of your country. There are also certain exemptions granted to specific countries relating to documents and paperwork.
  2. Refusal rate: It’s also important to note that the L1 visa faces a high rate of rejection as compared to other programs. This is due to many factors which involve mistakes with paperwork, incomplete documents or exercise of discretion by USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), which comes under the Department of Homeland Security. Recently, the refusal rate for the program was more than 18% so make sure you don’t go wrong with your application. Take professional help from legal firms based in the United States.
  3. Familial rights: The L1 visa is also much sought after due to its multiple familial benefits. As a spouse of an L1 visa holder you are automatically entitled to work in the United States and are granted an L-2 visa, once your employee authorization is cleared. The children of the L1 visa holder can also avail the L-2 visa (under the age of 21 years) and are eligible to apply for American schools and colleges.
  4. Permanent residency: The L-1 is also a legally compliant and valid route to permanent residency, in the form of Green card. This is due to the doctrine of dual intent, applied by US courts and immigration authorities.
  5. Application process: You can get an L-1 by directly applying to the USCIS by filling form I-129. Your company must qualify under the guidelines issued for your application to be considered valid. Again the process involves lot of intricate paperwork so it’s best to seek help. Note that ndian consultants and advisors are not licensed US Immigration lawyers and are not authorized by the US government to offer immigration advice. Be sure to get a legal advisor on your side.
  6. Business Plan: Unless you are a very established or multinational business that can produce US tax returns a properly prepared business plan is critical. At D&A, we believe that a successful business plan needs to be prepared as a collaborative effort between the client, an immigration lawyer and an immigration business plan analyst. Our specialist team that provides US business expansion services incorporates both business analysts and lawyers.

Davies & Associates has a long history of successfully helping people from all over the world get L1 and L2 visas to the United States. Please don’t hesitate to get in contact if you have any questions about this or any other visa.