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L-1 Visa Process

The L1 Visa USA process is a collaboration between the employer and the employee as they are both required to participate in different stages. Before the visa process, it is logical to have an intra-company transfer offer first in a specialized knowledge, executive, or managerial position.

1.) Hire an Immigration Lawyer

The first step to getting an L-1 visa is hiring a qualified immigration lawyer. While not mandatory, an immigration lawyer can help determine whether the L-1 visa is the right option for your immigration and employment goals. An immigration lawyer can discuss all visa options for the benefits and goals that you want to achieve. He or she can help you save time and energy for a visa category that doesn't suit your goals and needs.

Moreover, your immigration lawyer will help you determine all the relevant documents you would need for the L-1 process. He or she will help you save time in filing the petition. and allow you to focus on more important things pertaining to the operations of your business.

2.) I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker

Once you have hired an immigration lawyer for your visa application process, your employer would then need to file a Form I-129 petition on your behalf. The petition must include documents such as:

  • Documents showing the qualifying relationship between the foreign company and the U.S. company;

  • Documents showing the capitalization structure of the company;

  • Job description and requirements for the position you are taking;

  • Any evidence proving that you have worked in the foreign company continuously for a year in the preceding 3 years in an executive or managerial capacity or a specialized knowledge position and that you're transferring to the U.S. to assume the same role.;

  • If you're coming to the U.S. to set up a new office, evidence of the establishment of the new office;

  • Annual business report of both the foreign company and the U.S. company and other reports that show the business type and financial stability;

  • An organizational chart that shows your position in the foreign company and the U.S. company; and

  • Business permits, business licenses and business registrations.

Once the Form I-129 petition has been approved, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will send an I-797 Notice of Action to your employer, which you will then use as part of the documents when applying for the visa at the Embassy or Consulate.

3.) DS-160 Visa Application

After the Form I-129 approval, you will then need to apply for the L-1 visa using the Form DS-160 if you're outside the U.S. The information and interview answers you will provide will be used by the consular officers to determine if you're eligible for an L-1 visa. Aside from the Form DS-160, you would need to include as well the following documents as well:

  • A copy of your passport which has at least 6 months validity beyond the period of your stay in the U.S. and with at least one blank page;

  • Two colour photographs showing your full face without a head cover against a light background. You may wear a headdress if it's required by the religious order of which you are a member;

  • Resume; and

  • A copy of the petition submitted to the USCIS.

4.) Interview

After submitting all the relevant documents and forms, you must appear for an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country. The interview would vary on the embassy or consulate, so you would need to check with the consulate in your country for more information. Your biometrics will also be taken as part of your application process.

If you have been issued a U.S. visa in the past, the Embassy or Consulate has the discretion to waive your interview.

Change of Status or Consular Processing

You can either do a change of status with the USCIS if you are already in the U.S. on a valid nonimmigrant visa or you can apply for an L-1 visa at your home country's U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

We've highlighted the differences of the two below:

  • A change of status refers to the process where you go from one non-immigrant status to another non-immigrant status.

  • For you to be able to do a change of status, you need to be lawfully present in the U.S. under a valid non-immigrant visa.

  • There is no interview required when doing a change of status.

  • Some visa classifications are ineligible for a change of status.

  • If you do a change of status, you don't get an L1 visa but instead an L1 status. This status is valid only when you're in the U.S. but once you leave, the L1 status ends and you would then need to apply for an L1 visa abroad or obtain another visa to re-enter the U.S.

  • There are certain situations, such as travelling to Canada or Mexico for a limited period, which would not disrupt your status.

If you're doing a change of status, your immigration lawyer would need to file a Form I-129 and the L-supplement with the USCIS along with supporting relevant documents. Once the Form I-129 has been approved, you will be granted an L-1 status and you will receive a new I-94 with your new authorized dates.

Consular Processing

  • Consular processing involves applying for an L-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. If you're physically present outside the U.S., then it's more likely that you will have to do consular processing.

  • Consular processing requires an interview; and

  • You can travel in and out of the U.S. with your L-1 visa.

Documents Required

The L-1 visa has strict requirements that you must meet before you obtain your visa. To meet these requirements, you must submit various relevant documents with your petition. Both the petitioning employer and the transferring employee must be cautious in filing the forms and documents as it would lead to possible rejection and delay.

In general, the documents you submit should prove the following:

  • The qualifying relationship (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate) between the foreign company and the U.S. company;

  • That you have worked in the foreign company continuously for at least a year within the 3 years before your transfer;

  • That you have worked in a managerial or executive capacity or a specialized knowledge position for a foreign company;

  • That you will work in a specialized knowledge, managerial or executive position for a U.S. company.

Meanwhile, here are the supporting documents that the foreign company must include with the application:

  • Articles of Incorporation and certification of incorporation;

  • Stock certificates;

  • Financial statements;

  • Business tax returns;

  • Copy of the office lease;

  • Organizational chart;

  • Pictures of the business;

  • Promotional materials; and

  • Detailed statement from an authorized representative about the ownership and control of the company.

As for the U.S. company, here are the documents they would need to include with the application:

  • Articles of incorporation and corporate by-laws;

  • Stock certificates;

  • Business license;

  • Financial statements;

  • Organizational chart;

  • Detailed business plan;

  • Promotional materials; and

  • Detailed statement from an authorized representative about the ownership and control of the company.

As for the transferring employee, here are the documents they may need to submit:

  • A copy of their passport;

  • Resume;

  • Job description and duties with the foreign company;

  • Job description and duties with the U.S. company;

  • Evidence demonstrating the range of their employment with the foreign company

Take note however that these are general lists of the documents you need to submit for your L-1 visa process. Your immigration lawyer will help you determine the list of documents you would need to provide based on your circumstances. Davies & Associates has experienced immigration lawyers who can help you prepare the relevant documents for your application to help increase the chances of you getting approved.

You can also visit this link for the associated requirements for an application for an L-1A Visa.

L-1 Visa Application Processing Time

The processing time for an L-1 visa depends on the USCIS service center and the U.S. Consulate of the country where you apply. Generally, it would take around 6 months for the process of a Form I-129 petition. You can reduce the typical 6-month processing time to only 15 days by paying the premium processing fee of $2,500.

As for the actual visa application process in the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country, the appointment wait times vary by location. You can always check the current L-1 visa appointment wait times through the consular website.

L-1 Processing Fees

The processing fees vary depending on your location, but here are the L1 Visa cost you can expect to pay:

  • Form I-129 Filing Fee: $460

  • Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee: $500

  • Premium Processing Fee: $2,500

  • Immigration Attorney Fees

You can also visit here to check the different costs associated with filing an L1 visa application.

L-1 Premium Processing

If you want to expedite or streamline the process of your L-1 visa petition, you can pay the premium processing fee which would cut the processing to 15 days.

You would need to complete a Form I-907 along with the Form I-129 for the premium processing. The fee can be paid through a separate check or money order.

The USCIS also accepts credit cards, debit cards, and electronic fund transfers from a U.S. bank.

L-1 Visa Dependents

As an L-1 visa holder, you are allowed to have your dependents accompany you to the U.S. These dependents can include your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years. They can get an L2 visa to be able to stay in the U.S. for the same period as their L-1 visa.

Moreover, your dependents can get a driver's license, open a bank account, enrol in a university, or obtain employment without securing an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

Transfer From L1 Status to Permanent Resident Status

The L-1 visa is one of the few non-immigrant visas that allow for dual intent, which means that you can choose to return home after the expiration of your visa or apply for permanent resident status. If you want to choose the latter, you would need to meet the requirements to qualify for a green card.

If you're on an L-1A visa, you may potentially transition to become a permanent resident through the EB-1C classification. The requirements are similar to your current status and is faster than other process as it doesn't require a PERM Labor Certification, which would take an extra 8 months to process. Take note however that the EB-1C requires that you must have worked as a manager or executive for your company's overseas location for 1 continuous year within the 3 years before your green card application.

Meanwhile, if you're on an L-1B visa, you may potentially qualify for a green chard through the EB-3 classification for skilled or professional workers. If the priority date is current, you may would need to file a Form I-485 to adjust your status to a permanent resident. You would need to attend a biometric screening and an adjustment of status interview at the USCIS. Once your petition is approved, you will then become a lawful U.S. permanent resident.

L-1 Visa Extension

If you're holding an L-1A visa, you are granted an initial 3-year period which you may request for an extension in increments of 2 years until you reach the maximum limit of 7 years.

Meanwhile, if you're holding an L-1B visa, you are granted an initial 3-year period and you may request for an extension in increments of 2 years until you reach the maximum limit of 5 years.

FAQs

How many employees can I transfer through an L-1 visa?

The company can claim as many employees as they can that are vital to the company and ask for transfers to the U.S., but they must prove that the employee possesses knowledge or skills that can't be found in other employees or outside workers.

Can I transfer multiple employees in one petition?

Yes, but only through an L1 blanket petition. The blanket petition has been created to enable companies to get approval from the USCIS and transfer many employees on L-1 visas to the U.S. There are requirements that you must meet to qualify for a blanket petition.

What kind of questions will they ask on my interview?

The visa interview questions may revolve around checking if you meet the L1 Visa requirements or whether your job position falls under a managerial, executive or specialized knowledge position. Once you pass your interview, you can wait for your visa to get stamped on your passport.

What is an L-1 visa?

An L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows companies or organizations to transfer qualified employees from an overseas branch to a U.S. PARENT, SUBSIDIARY, AFFILIATE, OR branch.

Who can obtain an L-1 visa?

The L-1 visa is directed to individuals who have specialized knowledge or occupy managerial or executive positions within a company. Specialized knowledge professionals are those who possess extraordinary knowledge of the company's products and services.

L-1 Visa Solutions by Country of Nationality or Residency

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L1 Visa FAQs

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Why make Davies & Associates Your L1 Visa Lawyers

The L-1 Visa can be highly complex, and while it can be proven easier than other visa categories, the USCIS has become stricter and more critical of L-1 visa petitions due to widespread abuse. To give you leverage in your L-1 Visa petition, it's highly crucial that you consult with the best immigration attorneys for the job now.

Here at Davies & Associates, we will assist you from the start until the end of your petition to make it efficient and to minimize the costs spent.

We have helped hundreds of clients in obtaining their L-1 Visa with a 100% success rate. We have assisted with both existing-office and new-office L-1 Visa applications no matter the size of the company.

Our corporate lawyers and immigration lawyers work closely to ensure that your business meets all the qualifications and requirements.

We also go beyond and can assist you with your L-1 Visa renewals, or when you want to switch to a Green Card to gain lawful permanent resident status.

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Jeremy Abernathy
Jeremy Abernathy
a month ago

I had the pleasure of working with Verdie and Nessa to obtain my E2 Visa. Their in-depth knowledge and experience allowed me to be fully prepared in my application and they were able to answer all questions leading up to the Visa interview.

Saeed Muhammad
Saeed Muhammad
2 months ago

Verdie was an amazing attorney, providing exceptional client care throughout the process. He had a great depth of knowledge in all areas on business visas in the US.

hoshino ryuichi
hoshino ryuichi
5 months ago

Thanks to them for handling my E2 visa very professionally. I had a study visa from F1 and changed it to E2. I encountered many problems during the application process. Verdie and Etta were very patient in helping me and it took a long time. I highly recommend this place.

Satyabrat Chowdhury
Satyabrat Chowdhury
5 months ago

I had a great experience with Davies & Associates. They are very thorough in the approach and their have experts in this field who know the domain very well.I would certainly be leaning onto them for any future needs as well.

Jimmi Batth
Jimmi Batth
2 weeks ago

everyone helped me alot in my application especially Verdie and Etta and mark. answered all my questions, prepared my application very organised. EXCELLANT TEAM.

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Looking to relocate or having trouble with a visa applicaton?

We are known for our creative solutions that obtain "impossible" visas, we solve the most complex immigration problems for business, investors, individuals and families.

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