The E-1 Treaty Trader or the E-2 Treaty Investor visas confer long term temporary work status, generally five year approvals. They can be reissued indefinitely for the life of the business. Many E visas cannot be changed to EB-5 because the investment is for less than $500,000 and/or have less than 10 employees.
The L-1A Intra-Company Manager/Executive can change to permanent residence if the businesses in the United States and abroad are substantial. Many small L-1 businesses with minimal employees have a problem changing to permanent residence.
The E-1 Treaty Investor or E-2 Treaty Trader programs allow for nonimmigrant status only. When the qualifying business/investment ends, so does the non-immigrant status granted to the alien and their derivatives. Under the E-1/E-2 programs the alien must leave the U.S. unless they are approved under another visa category. The L-1 visa applies to aliens who can be classified as a Multinational Executive or Manager. When given L-1 approval the alien may apply for permanent resident status, however, due to recent occurrences of fraud this visa is becoming more difficult to obtain. The L-1 is also a non-immigrant classification.
Unlike the programs above the EB-5 visa allows an applicant to immediately obtain a Green Card on a conditional basis. After the two-year conditional period an EB-5 holder may gain permanent resident status and begin the journey towards citizenship. Holders of the E-1/E-2 and L-1 visas may never be able to obtain permanent residency and/or citizenship unless they apply for a visa outside the non-immigrant category.
There are different legal and regulatory requirements for each immigration category. Also, The E-1/E-2 and L-1 visas are nonimmigrant categories, while the EB-5 category is for green cards (U.S. lawful permanent resident status). E-1/E-2 visas, treaty traders and investors, respectively, are approved based upon a treaty between the U.S. and the foreign country. L-1 visas are for intracompany managers and executives. EB-5 is for an alien entrepreneur who makes a qualifying investment into a new commercial enterprise that creates 10 new, full-time jobs.