An L-1 visa is a useful tool available to international companies needing to bring its foreign employees to US to either establish a new office or continue employment at its US sister entity. To help you decide whether you qualify for an L-1 visa, our DC L-1 visa immigration attorney is available for a phone consultation at 520.248.9139.
L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa General Requirements:
- Full-time one-year employment at the foreign company in the last 3 years
Part-time employment usually will not count – has to be full-time, uninterrupted employment for one year (business related trips abroad and vacation do not interrupt employment). However, time spent in US could be counted against the 1-year employment requirement.
- You must be coming to US as an Employee of a US company
The L-1 visa holder must transfer to the US as an employee of the US company. You can be one of the following:
- Majority/substantial stockholder of the US company,
- Sole stockholder – the corporation may employ and petition for its owners/sole owner
- Sole proprietor
- Your Compensation
Employment does not necessarily depend upon amount or existence of salary. But the source of the salary should be the US company. Further, your employment in US has to be controlled by the US company and not foreign company.
- Foreign company must be related to the US company in a specific manner
The company abroad, for which the L-1 employee worked for at least a year, must be the same employer, subsidiary, or affiliate of the US company. Examples include:
- Branch office – US entity and the foreign company have branch offices of the same corporation
- Parent-subsidiary relationship
- Affiliates – a majority stock ownership in both companies is sufficient
- Joint ventures – where 2 parent companies own 50% of a company (joint venture), have equal control and a veto, the joint venture is a subsidiary of both parent companies
- Control, but less than majority ownership
- Sole Proprietorship
- Other considerations
Both US and foreign companies must be active and doing business – regular, systematic and continuous provision of goods or services. Doing business also can mean providing services internally within the entity. To help you understand whether your business meets the L-1 visa requirements, consult with our DC L-1 visa attorney today.
- The L-1 visa holder must come to US in a capacity of a manager or executive (L-1A) or specialized knowledge employee (L-1B)
The L-1 visa applicant must have been employed in the managerial or executive capacity or have worked in specialized knowledge capacity abroad. L-1A managers or executives have a substantial advantage if the individual is interested in obtaining US permanent residence through their US employment. If you are interested in finding out whether, as an L-1A visa holder, you may qualify for a US permanent residence, contact our DC L-1 visa attorney to discuss your options.
- Manages the organization, department, subdivision, function, or component;
- Supervises and controls the work of other professionals or managers; manages an essential function within the organization or department;
- Authority to fire or hire; recommend personnel action; function at senior level; and
- Exercise discretion over day-to-day operations.
- Directs the managements of the organization or major component or function;
- Establishes goals and policies;
- Exercises wide latitude in discretionary decision making; and
- Receives only general supervision or direction from higher level executives, board of directors, or stockholders.
Has a special knowledge of the company product and its application in international markets, or has an advanced level of knowledge of processes and procedures of the company.
- Nature/Size of Company
Parent and subsidiary companies don’t have to be in the same business. There are no limitation on the size of the company.
- New Office
Special rules apply when the L-1 visa holder is coming to the US to manage a new US office. You must show that the new office will be able to sustain a manager or executive within one year of the L-1 visa petition approval. In a situation of a new office, the L-1 petition will be approved for only 1 year. It can be extended upon providing the evidence that business is active and operating.
The employer will need to submit statements showing:
- Proposed nature of the office, scope of the entity, organizational structure, its financial goals
- The size of the US investment and the financial ability of the foreign entity to pay the beneficiary and to commence doing business in the US
- The organizational structure of the foreign entity
- Need to show that the US entity will be able to support a manager or executive position in 1 year. This means that even if at first the L-1 visa holder does everything himself and the operation stays small, the L-1 visa holder will eventually oversee subordinates who will be managers performing administrative/day-to-day tasks, while the L-1 visa holder will resume his executive/managerial duties.
- Duration of Stay in US
L-1A Executive or Manager – 7 years total. The petition is approved for 3 years, then can be renewed twice for 2 years each.
L-1B Special knowledge employee – 5 years total.
If new office – petition is approved for 1 year. Thereafter, extensions are issued at 2 year increments.
Individuals are not subject to 5/7 year limit if the individual spends less than 6 months per year in the US.
Once the applicant reaches the 5/7 year period, generally he must be out of the US for at least 1 year, except for short business or pleasure trips.
L-1A visa can lead to the US permanent residence under the employment immigration first preference EB-1(3) category.
- Family Members of L-1 visa holders
Family members of an L-1 visa holder, such as a spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 are entitled to admission under the L-2 category. L-2 visa holders can study and work in the US. To lawfully work in the US, the family member must apply for the Work Authorization Document separately. Generally, L-2 visa holders can stay in the US for as long as the L-1 visa holder is allowed to stay in the US. If you would like to bring your immediate family members to the US with you, schedule a consultation with our DC L-1 visa attorney to learn about the L-2 visa requirements.
WHEN TO CONSULT WITH THE DC L-1 VISA ATTORNEY?
Every case has its own set of facts and circumstances. Our immigration attorney can help you to determine your L-1 visa eligibility, collect all necessary documents, prepare the entire application, and submit it to the proper agencies. Contact our office to schedule your consultation with our DC L-1 visa attorney today.