An L-1 requires that a non-US business which is properly documented and lawfully operating. An L1 Visa also requires a US business lawyer to ensure that the related US business is properly licensed, formed and documented.
All You Need to Know About the US L-1 Intercompany Transfer Visa:

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What is an L-1 Visa?

An L-1 visa treaty investor visa is a visa which enables:

  • A qualified investor to direct and control a business in the United States
  • A qualified worker to work in a qualified business in the United States

Benefits of an L1 Visa

  • Ability to legally work in the United States
  • No minimum investment required
  • Spouse can obtain a dependent L1 Visa and EAD authorization
  • Travel freely in and out of the US
  • Possible to be a non-resident for taxation purposes
  • Able to remain in the US indefinitely
  • Adjust Status to a Green Card through EB1C, EB2, EB3 and EB5

A more complete description of general qualifications for an L1 Visa can be found by following this link. This page is more focused on the process of obtaining an L1 Visa in Germany and of nuances encountered by our firm’s clients applying for an L-1 Visa from Germany.

  • National of a treaty Country
  • You need to be the national of an L1 treaty country. 9 FAM 402.9-6(B). Our US business Visa lawyers in Cologne, Berlin and Bonn assist clients of many nationalities who are resident in Germany. We frequently assist Indian, Turkish and Russian clients resident in Germany. While Russia and India are not an L1 treaty country our citizenship lawyers assist many Russian and other clients to obtain an E Visa qualifying nationality.

  • Have Invested or be in the Process of Investing a “Substantial Amount”
  • Invested or be actively in the process of investing a substantial amount. See 9 FAM 402.9-6(D). For information on what constitutes a “substantial investment of E Visa purposes follow this link.

  • Real, Operating Business
  • The enterprise must be real, operating business or a business capable of immediately commencing operations. See 9 FAM 402.9-6(C).

  • Step 1 - Select Your Professional Advisors
  • You need the right team who can assist you select, open and operated a business in the United States. Your immigration lawyer typically “quarterbacks” this team. This includes:

    • A German tax advisor and US tax lawyer who can work with our firm’s US tax counsel to devise the optimal strategy for you.
    • A US advisor who can assist you select a location for your US business. Our firm’s corporate lawyers in Cologne, Berlin and across the United States can assist you with this.
    • You will need a US immigration lawyer with a presence in Germany who can effectively deal with the US consulate in Germany on your behalf.
    • A US corporate lawyer who can help you structure and properly establish your US business.
    • A US accountant who can file your US taxes each year.

  • Step 2 - Identify a US Business
  • You need to select a business in the United States and make the required investment. Our firm commonly assists client conduct legal due diligence on businesses they are acquiring in the United States.

  • Step 3 - Business Plan
  • You need to prepare a full and detailed business plan. The L1 Visa lawyers at our law firm work with financial professionals to prepare immigration compliant business plans.

  • Step 4 - Consular Processing or Change of Status
  • You need to decide whether to apply for consular processing or for Change of Status from withing the United States. Learn some of the considerations when choosing between these options.

  • Step 5 - Form DS-160
  • If you are applying from the US consulate in Frankfurt you will need to complete a Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form. Your lawyer should have an office in Germany who can assist you with this.

    If you are applying for change of status in the United States we will assist you complete for I-129 to be filed with USCIS.

  • Step 6 - Pay the Applicable Fee.
  • There are generally two fees payable in E Visa cases. These depend on the nationality of the applicant and can be found by following this link.

    Our law firm will process this fee for you.

  • Step 7 - Submit your Application Package
  • A detailed table with information on what to include in your L1 Visa application package in Germany is available by following this link.

  • Step 8 - Schedule a Consular Appointment
  • You can schedule a consular interview at a time of your convenience at this web page. When visiting the webpage you will need to produce the following information:

    • Your passport number
    • Your Visa fee receipt number. If you cannot find the number then help is available here.
    • A copy of your DS-160 confirmation page, including the bar code number encoded upon it.

  • Step 9 - Preparation for Consular Interview
  • Clients typically visit our offices in Germany to receive a thorough preparation for the critical consular interview. We offer this service in Cologne and Berlin. Across Europe our offices in the United Kingdom and Italy and also able to offer this service.

  • Step 10 - Consular Interview
  • Attend your interview at the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt. It is possible that one of our lawyer MIGHT be allowed to join you at your interview, there is a small additional fee for this service.

    What Should you Bring to your Consular Interview

    • Possibly your lawyer (see above)
    • your appointment letter;
    • a printed copy of your DS-160 confirmation;
    • one photograph taken within the last six months; and
    • your current and all old passports.

    If you do not bring the above documents to interview then your Visa will not be issued.

The US Consulate in Frankfurt provides detailed guidance on what needs to be included in an L1 Visa application package. Detailed Instructions are available by following this link.

Our L1 Visa lawyers have prepared a detailed analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of filing for change of status to L1 versus applying for a Visa.

L1 Visa application are filed at the consulate in Germany. The time taken to obtain an interview will depend on how busy the consulate is. The US State Department posts a list of Visa interview wait times at different consulates and can be found by following this link.

There are several costs when applying for an L-1 Visa. These include:

Cost Paid To Amount More Information
MRV Visa fee US State Department USD 190 US State Department
Reciprocity Fee US State Department Varies by Nationality of Applicant Visa Reciprocity Fee Chart
Business Plan Fee Business Plan Drafter or Lawyer Typically USD 2,000 - USD 3,000 Please call us
L1 Lawyer Fee Lawyer Varies from about USD 5,000 to about USD 20,000 Contact individual law firms
Corporate Lawyer Fee Lawyer Varies, usually on an hourly rate
State Incorporation Fees US State Varies by State, typically a couple of hundred dollars
TOTAL We advise clients to Budget for about USD 12,000 - USD 16,000 in a simple L1 Visa case.


L1 Visa FAQs

Check out our most frequently asked questions about L-1 Visa for Germany L-1 Visa FAQs Germany

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Paolo Domingo
Paolo Domingo
4 months ago

5 stars and a high five! Thank you Verdie and Etta for assisting us with our change of status application. They were very professional and accommodating with all our questions and concerns throughout the process. Despite the time constraint, we pulled it off and we could not have done this without you guys! Keep up the good work!

Christine Envall
Christine Envall
a month ago

Getting my E2 Visa was a very in-depth process that took just over a year from when I committed to it, but 8 months from when I found a business I wanted to purchase. The only reason I'm giving 4 and not 5 stars is because the timeframe was a lot longer than expected from the initial information. Aside from the timing, Verdie and his team led me through the Visa process, providing all the guidance I needed to be successful, including advising me on the RIGHT type of Visa to suit my goals. Within the process I purchased a business and the greater Davies team included lawyer Rinat who helped me put the deal together. One of the biggest parts was my Business Plan which created from my info by Ana Ortiz, who did an incredible job. The process is certainly tedious and Verdie & Christina were always there to answer my questions, provide suggestions and advice and ensure I had all the documents I needed to support my application. I appreciated their patience with my questions and their advice and in the end, the application was so thorough the interview process was quick and easy. I highly recommend Davies & Associates and look forward to working with them again when it's time to renew my Visa.

Amandeep Singh
Amandeep Singh
5 months ago

I had talked with Alex Jovy, he was very quick to respond, had a lot of useful information which I was not aware of. Took time out of his day to discuss my situation and was very helpful. They go into a lot of detail which other companies do not. Overall a great service!

Eduardo Salvo
Eduardo Salvo
6 months ago

I received an world-class help in how to immigrate to the USA succesfully! Alex was very open to answer my questions and is definitely a professional in what he does! Strongly recommend this firm.

8 months ago

We were in a hurry and Verdie and the team were highly responsive and supportive, even when we threw in some curve balls along the way. We had our visas approved without any issues and felt confident and well prepared for document submissions and the interview. I'd certainly recommend this team for an E2 visa process.

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