Can an L-1 visa holder remain in the United States while applying for EB-5?

Yes, an L-1 visa holder can remain in the United States while applying for an EB-5 investment visa.

L-1 Visa

The L-1 visa allows foreign nationals working for a company based in their country of residence to enter the United States and run that company’s U.S. office. There are two types of L-1 visas; L-1A and L-1B. The L-1A is for employees who act in a managerial capacity. The L-1B visa is for employees with special knowledge or skills pertaining to their role but do not serve in a managerial capacity. The L-1 visa is initially valid for three years and then can be renewed every two years for a maximum stay of seven years.

L-1 Visa Holder Applying for EB-5

Although the L-1 is a nonimmigrant visa, it carries dual intent. This means the visa allows a foreign national to enter the United States as a nonimmigrant but retain the option to apply for a green card. Therefore, an immigrant petition will not adversely affect visa renewal. However, the L-1 visa only allows the visa holder to maintain that status for a maximum of seven years. That said, if a potential EB-5 investor is an L-1 visa holder and their seven year maximum time has elapsed, they will need to return to their home country until the EB-5 visa is granted. In such cases where the investor has to return to their home country, they must go through consular processing when the time comes to apply for an EB5 visa. However, applying for the visa in the United States via adjustment of status may be preferable for an investor. This is because adjustment of status allows for concurrent filing.

There is also the option to obtain another legal status to remain in the United States. Investors who choose this route have several kinds of visas to choose from to maintain nonimmigrant status. However, a pending I-526 petition will prevent the investor from obtaining any visa that does not carry dual intent because it signifies an intent to immigrate.