L-1/L2 Visa vs. E1/E2 Visa

The L1 visa is an Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager Visa that allows foreign companies to transfer a manager, executive, or specialized knowledge worker to an affiliated US company. If you need assistance with obtaining an L1 visa, email us

L-1A and L-1B Qualifications
L-1 visas are used by all manner of businesses – small, medium and large. The L1 visa is used to transfer executives and managers from foreign businesses to the U.S. for up to seven years. The L-1 visa has two key factors: (1) the employee must work as an executive, manager, supervisor, or in a role which requires specialized knowledge; and (2) the employee must have worked in an overseas parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate of the petitioning U.S. company for at least one of the past three years. This visa is a dual intent visa and the applicant may apply for residency while
staying in the U.S. under the visa.

E1/E2 Qualifications
E visas are generally used by small businesses and require applying to come to the United States in a role of executive, manager, supervisor, or specialized knowledge. For E visa programs the business must trade directly with the United States, or have substantial investments in the U.S. Initial stays of up to 2 years are granted and it can be extended in 2 year increments indefinitely. The visa holder does not have to return to their home country as long as their visa extensions continue to be approved. This is not a dual intent visa and you should provide proof that the applicant does not plan to permanently reside in the United States.

The application process is the same for both visas – apply at a U.S. consulate or embassy overseas, or adjust status if circumstances permit. The L visa, however, requires that the applicant’s employer petition the US government.

L1 Visa Fees Summary:

  • USCIS Filing Fee
  • (Optional) Premium Processing Fee
  • USCIS Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee
  • Visa Application Fee
  • Immigration Attorney Legal Fee
  • Business Entity Formation
  • (Optional) Business Plan
  • (Depends) Public Law 114-113 Fee

1. USCIS Filing Fee and Premium Processing

Applying for an L-1 visa a 2-step process. The petitioner (the company) files Form I-129 and once it is approved, you can then apply for your L1 visa. In order to file a Form I-129, USCIS charges a filing fee of $460.

This filing fee must be submitted along with the Form I-129. This fee applies if you’re applying for the first time, applying for a change of status to L1, or applying for an extension of your L1 status.

The USCIS filing fee must be paid by the petitioner (the US company).

If you have dependents (spouse/children) they will apply for a change of status to L2 status or an extension of L2 status through USCIS, then they will also need to file a Form I-539 which has a filing fee of $370. You do not need to file a Form I-539 if your dependents will be applying for an L2 visa at a US consulate or embassy abroad.

Canadian Citizens:

  • If you are a citizen of Canada, then you can apply for L1 status directly at a Port of Entry, and would not need to pay the usual USCIS filing fee for the Form I-129. Instead, you pay a fee of $825 which includes your I-129 processing fee and the USCIS Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee.

The L1 visa is eligible for premium processing. So, for an additional fee of $1,410, USCIS offers an optional service where they will review your Form I-129 and give you an answer within 15 days of their receipt of the petition.

This does not mean that USCIS will definitely approve your case within 15 days – they may issue a request for additional evidence (RFE) within the 15-day span. If USCIS issues a request for additional evidence (RFE) then they are no longer bound by the 15-day response time and they can take longer than 15 days to answer your application. Oftentimes responses from USCIS can take 3 months or longer.

If you do not select premium processing, the current average processing time for a Form I-129 (standard processing) is about 3 to 6 months.

The petitioner (US employer) or the L1 beneficiary (the L1 employee) are allowed to pay the premium processing fee.

2. USCIS Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee

USCIS charges an additional fee to investigate fraudulent L1 filings. This USCIS Fraud Prevention and Detection fee is $500 and it is required if you are doing an initial L1 Form I-129 filing or if you are filing for a change of employer. This fee is not required if you are applying for an extension of your L1 status.

The petitioner (US employer) is required to pay this fee.

3. Visa Application Fee

Your Form I-129 is approved? Great! The next step is to apply for the L1 visa at the US consulate or embassy in your home country to process the visa. To apply for your L1 visa, you will have to file Form DS-160 with the Department of State, which has a filing fee of $190 per applicant.

The L1 beneficiary (L1 worker) is responsible for paying this fee.

Important Notes:

  • If you are doing a change of status from another non-immigrant status to L1 status, then you will not be applying for an L1 visa and will not be responsible for this fee.
  • If you are a citizen of Canada, then you can apply for L1 directly at a port of entry so you do not have to pay this fee.

4. Immigration Lawyer Legal Fee

The immigration lawyer legal fee is the fee your immigration lawyer will charge you to prepare and file your L1 visa application. It is important to seek the assistance of a U.S. licensed attorney, as an attorney in your home country does not have authorization to communicate with USCIS once you are in the United States or at the border, if you run into issues. Avoid common scams and do not ever pay money to anyone who says that they can ‘guarantee’ a visa for you. The most important part of the process is ensuring that your application has all the proper documentation and forms submitted accurately, correctly and completely. Avoid careless and common mistakes and make sure you have an attorney represent you.

5. Public Law 114-113 Fee

Certain L1 petitioners are required to pay a special fee of $4,500, called the Public Law 114-113 fee. This is only required if the petitioner:

  1. Employ 50 or more employees in the US;
  2. Has over half of their US employees in H-1B or L1 status;
  3. The L1 petition is being filed on or after December 18, 2015; and
  4. They are filing an initial L1 petition or an L1 change of employer
    • L1 extension requests by the same employer for the same employee do not require this fee.
    • If required, this fee must be paid by the L1 petitioner (US company).

6. Formation of the Business Entity

Many L1 visa petitions fall under the category of an L1 “new office” which means that the US company has been doing business for less than a year. We can help you to form a new company in the United States such as an LLC or a corporation. The petitioner (US company) is responsible for this fee.

7. Business Plan

For L1 “new office” petitions, you should submit a business plan with your case. The petitioner (US company) is responsible for this fee.

Learn more about Investor or Business Visas: Click here.

Ready to proceed? Send us a message and we can start the process. Click here.

E2 Visa Summary:

The E2 visa is a powerful option for investors and entrepreneurs to live and work in the US. It requires a minimum investment of $50,000 – $100,000 in addition to the required fees.

Fees Summary:

  • E2 Visa Application Fee or USCIS Filing Fee
  • Immigration Lawyer Fee
  • Business Entity Formation
  • Business Plan

The E2 Visa application Fee

There are 2 ways to apply for the E2 classification – by change of status or apply at the US embassy or consulate in your home country

Change of Status

  • For a change of status, the filing fee is $460 the Form I-129
  • For any dependents included in your change of status petition (spouse /child) you file a Form I-539 which has a fee of $370.
  • The E2 visa is also eligible for premium processing for an additional $1,410 to have your E2 petition processed in 15 days of receipt by the government.

E2 Visa

  • If you are applying for an E-2 visa at a US embassy or consulate in your home country, you file a DS-160 for a fee of $205 (for each person plus dependents)
  • Depending on your country of citizenship, you may have to pay a small fee once your E2 visa is issued at the consulate or embassy.

Business Plan and Entity Formation

You should submit an E2 compliant business plan, which can have a cost that varies depending on the company you work with. We can help you form your business in the United States and this registration fee varies depending on the type of entity you wish to form.

Learn more about Investor or Business Visas: Click here.

Ready to proceed? Send us a message and we can start the process. Click here.

Contact Us

Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *