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L1 Visa defined

An L1 US visa, also called an intracompany visa, allows foreign companies to transfer qualified employees to the U.S. in an executive or managerial position or a specialized knowledge capacity. The U.S. company must be a parent, subsidiary, branch office, or affiliate of the foreign company.

Take note that the L-1 visa is not eligible for a self-petition. An employer must file the petition on behalf of the transferring employee.

L-1 Visa Types

L1-A

The L-1A visa is for employees occupying a managerial or executive position transferring to a U.S. office or coming to the U.S. to set up a new U.S. office. This visa classification has a allows a maximum period of 7 years

L1-B

The L-1B visa is for a specialized knowledge worker transferring to the U.S. office and having special skills or knowledge. This visa classification allows for a maximum stay of 5 years.

Eligibility Criteria

Individual

To be eligible, there are a few conditions the transferring employee must meet:

  • They must be employed overseas by the transferring company or organization for at least a year within the past 3 years before their transfer; and

  • They must be working in an executive or managerial capacity or as a specialized knowledge employee.

Company

There are a few conditions the employer must meet to be eligible for an L-1 petition:

  • There must be a qualifying relationship between the U.S. company and the foreign company. The relationship may be as a parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate.

  • The foreign company and the US company must be operational and active for the entire duration of the employee's employment in the U.S in L-1 status

Specialized Knowledge

Specialized knowledge, on the other hand, means the employee possesses specialized knowledge and expertise with regard to the organization's products and processes.

Managerial Capacity

To work in a managerial capacity means managing the organization or department of the organization, supervising and controlling the work of other professional or supervisory employees.

Executive Capacity

Meanwhile, working in an executive capacity means directing the organisation's management, establishing the organization's goals and policies, exercising wide latitude of discretion in decision-making, and receiving only general direction from higher-level executives.

Davies & Associatesoffers initial consultations with our experienced lawyers to help you determine if you have a compelling case to apply for an L-1 visa.

L1 Visa Requirements

There are basic requirements that both employers and employees must meet as well before applying for an L-1 visa. For employers, here are the requirements they must meet:

  • The U.S. company (the branch, subsidiary, parent, etc.) filing the petition must have a qualifying relationship with the parent company.

  • adequate physical premises must be secured for a new office, if applicable.

  • The petitioning employer must be engaged in business in the U.S. and another foreign country for the entire period of the employee's stay in the U.S.

You can also click here to check the requirements and qualifications for employees applying for an L-1A Visa.

L1-A

If you're a transferring employee under the L-1A Visa, here are the requirements you must meet:

  • You should have worked in the foreign company continuously for a minimum of 1 year within the 3 years before your transfer to the U.S.

  • You should be working in a managerial or executive position.

  • You should be transferred to the U.S. subsidiary, parent, affiliate or branch of the same employer to provide your service in a managerial or executive capacity.

  • You must have the intent to depart from the U.S. upon expiration of your visa.

You don't need to prove you're employed full-time in the company, instead, you should be able to prove that a regular and large portion of your time has been dedicated to the company. There are also no salary restrictions or nationality restrictions.

L1-B

Meanwhile, if you're a transferring employee under the L-1B visa, here are the requirements that you must meet:

  • You must have worked in the parent company continuously for 1 year within the 3 years before your transfer to the U.S.

  • You must be transferred to the U.S. subsidiary, parent, affiliate or branch of the same employer to provide your specialized services or knowledge.

  • Required Documents for L1 Visa Process

To meet the requirements of an L1 visa, 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, delay or denial.

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;

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

The foreign company must also include these documents 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 need to include:

  • 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.

Meanwhile, here are the documents the transferring employee needs 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. Your immigration lawyer will help you determine the list of documents you would need to provide based on your circumstances.

L1 Visa Fees

When filing for an L-1 Visa, here are the cost of L1 Visa that you should take note of:

  • Filing Fee: $460

  • Premium Processing Fee: $2,500, which ensures that your case is processed within 15 days

  • Detection and Fraud Prevention Fee: $500

  • Additional Fee: $ 4,500 as applicable based on certain circumstances

L1 Visa Application Process

Now that you know the basic eligibilities, requirements and fees surrounding the L-1 visa, here's a breakdown of the process of applying:

Step 1: Hiring and consulting with an immigration lawyer

While not mandatory, hiring and consulting with an immigration lawyer can help you during your application. The L1 visa process can be complex and would require experience, strategy and preparation. An L1 visa lawyer can help you with the process and provide you a detailed list of documents that you would need to prepare. This helps increase the chances of you getting approved and makes the process less stressful and hassle-free for you.

Step 2: Gathering of relevant documents

Once you have consulted with an immigration lawyer, it's time for you to gather all the necessary documents you would need to submit for your application. This includes business information and a description of your employer, evidence of your employment in the foreign company, and other supporting documents.

Step 3: Filing of the Form I-129 and the L supplement

Take note that an L-1 visa can't be obtained through self-petition, so your U.S. employer would need to file a petition for you. A Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) and an L-supplement need to be filed together with the supporting documents and evidence. Once the petition is approved by the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), you're eligible to apply for L-1 visa stamping a the US consulate/embassy.

Meanwhile, if you're applying for a Change of Status, you do not need to leave the country and apply for L-1 stamping. Your status will automatically change to L-1 from the start date listed on your approval notice.

Immigration law firms can assist you with scheduling an interview with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country and preparing the relevant documents for the interview.

L-1 Visa Interview

Once your application has been submitted, you will need to schedule and attend the L-1 visa interview. You would need to present evidence at the interview, including information regarding your employer, capability to work in a managerial, executive or specialized knowledge capacity.

Your immigration lawyer can help you prepare the relevant documents for your interview so that you can ensure that the right documents are submitted.

L-1 Blanket Petitions

The L1 visa allows petitioning employers who need to frequently transfer L-1 employees to apply for a blanket L petition. The blanket L petition streamlines the process of L-1 visa petitions by allowing one single petition for multiple employees rather than one petition for each employee.

To qualify, however, there are requirements that the employer must meet:

  • The U.S.-based office must be doing business for at least a year

  • The petitioning employer and each of the qualifying entities must be engaged in commercial trade or services

  • The petitioning employer must have a minimum of 3 domestic and foreign branches, affiliates, or subsidiaries

  • The petitioning employer and its qualifying organization or entities must meet one of the following criteria:

  • They have obtained at least 10 approved L-1 petitions in the previous year

  • The U.S. affiliates and subsidiaries have combined annual sales of at least $25 million in annual sales; or

  • The U.S. workforce has more than 1, 000 employees.

Take note that an approved blanket petition doesn't guarantee an L-1 visa approval for an employee.

Once the blanket petition has been approved, the employer only needs a complete Form I-129S to send it to the employee along with a copy of the blanket petition approval notice and other relevant evidence that the employee must present to the consular office for their L-1 visa application. There is no filing of a petition with the USCIS under the L-1 blanket route.

L-1 Visa Extensions

The L-1A visa is initially issued for 3 years and can be extended for 2 separate times in increments of 2 years. The holder can stay for a maximum of 7 years on their L-1A status

Meanwhile, the L-1B visa is initially issued for 3 years and can be extended for 2 separate times in increments of 2 years. The holder can stay for a maximum of 5 years on their L-1B status.

As for new office l-1 petitions, the initial approval is granted for one. Before the expiration of this period, you are required to file an extension to remain under a valid L1 status. You must prove that the U.S. company supports a managerial or executive position.

FAQS

Yes, your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can stay with you under an L-1 visa. Your spouse, on the other hand, can also work in the U.S. without securing an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

You can also check this article for any questions regarding employment authorization for your spouse.

Yes, it is easier to obtain a green card if you are on an L-1A visa. The L-1 visa is a dual intent visa, which means that you can file for permanent resident status without violating your L-1 status.

No, you are not permitted to work part-time for any employer while on an L-1 visa.

There is no business size required to be qualified for an L-1 visa. All businesses can file a petition as long as the eligibilities and requirements are met, whether they are large-scale, medium-scale or small-scale businesses.

No, you are still permitted to transfer a manager or executive employee to the U.S. to set up a new U.S. office.

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Eranjan Venura Parua
Eranjan Venura Parua
3 weeks ago

"After finding D&A through an internet search in 2020, my wife and I had several free consultations with David Cantor. Despite our initial attempt at filing for our E2 visa independently ending in failure, we decided to hire D&A for their expertise and support. Over the course of four long years, Verdie and Cristina were incredibly patient as we took our time to prepare for the E2 submission. Verdie became our E2 Attorney in 2021, and from the start, Verdie and Cristina's patience was evident. Despite our intermittent engagement over the years, they always treated us with the utmost attention. Working with Verdie and the D&A team was a pleasure; their professionalism and support were unwavering. Verdie's calm demeanor and succinct communication style made navigating the process much smoother, even during complex discussions. I wholeheartedly recommend Verdie and D&A - Davies & Associates, to anyone seeking an immigration law firm who can efficiently handle their case with precision and without unnecessary fanfare. Their ability to get things done speaks volumes about their dedication to their clients' success."

Jeremy Abernathy
Jeremy Abernathy
3 months 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
3 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
7 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
6 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.

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