L-1 Visa Attorney


The L-1 visa enables a US employer to transfer an executive, manager or specialized knowledge employee from a qualifying foreign entity to the US entity. There are two types of L-1. The L-1A is for executives and managers and the L-1B is for employees with specialized knowledge.

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What are the benefits of an L-1?

  • No Quotas. Unlike some other visa categories there are no annual limits on the number of visas available to certain countries.
  • Fast Processing Times. Average processing time is between 3-6 months. Premium Processing is also available by paying an additional fee of $2,500. With the premium processing, USCIS is required to respond with 15 business days.
  • Family. L1 Visa holders are permitted to take their spouses and dependent children with them to the United States on the L-2 visa.
  • Work Authorization. Spouses are permitted to apply for work authorization once they enter the US to work for any US employer.
  • Tax Advantages. The L1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, which means it does not offer permanent residency (Green Card). While Green Card holders may be taxed on worldwide income, non-immigrant visa holders are generally not. (You should still consult a tax professional if you want to make sure that you will not be considered a US tax resident)
  • Transition to Green Card. It is possible to transition to a Green Card through the L-1A visa category. The criteria for L-1A is very similar with the criteria for EB-1C category for Multinational Managers or Executives, which makes it easier for L-1A holders to become permanent residents. The L1 visa category is also considered a dual intent visa.
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WHAT IS AN L-1A?

The L-1A category of visas is for the transfer of manager and executive-level employees from the overseas office to the US office of the same company. It is important to be able to document clear managerial responsibilities with significant authority in the company. The L-1A is initially valid for up to three years if the US firm has been in operation for at least one year. The L-1A can then be renewed in two-year increments upto a maximum of seven years. If the US business has not been in operation for at least one year, this is considered a New Office L-1A application and the initial validity is just one year. After seven years, the L-1A holder must return home or transfer to another visa. The EB-1c visa offers permanent residency to qualifying management and executive level employees.

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WHAT IS AN L-1B?

The L-1B category of visas is for the transfer of employees with specialized knowledge from the overseas office to the US office of the same company. “Specialized knowledge” offers considerable scope for interpretation and it is important to work with a highly experienced immigration attorney who can help you understand whether you have grounds to claim a visa using L-1B status. Here at Davies & Associates we offer free initial consultations with an experienced L-1 visa attorney to establish whether you have a strong case for applying for the L-1B Visa.

The L-1B is initially valid for three years unless the US office has been in operation for less than one year, in which case the initial visa validity is one year. The L-1B can be renewed in two-year increments up to a maximum of five years.

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How long is an L-1 Valid For?

The initial validity of an L1 visa in USA is determined by something called the “Reciprocity Schedule”. Each country has its own reciprocity schedule for the L1 Visa. Some countries have longer than others, some examples are given below. You can find your country on the State Department’s website.

The reciprocity schedule determines the maximum length of validity for the initial visa. After this time period, an applicant can renew their L1 visa in USA up to a maximum of seven (7) years for an L-1A category and five (5) years for an L-1B visa.

Applicants for “New Office” L-1 Visas are all granted a one-year visa initially. This allows the authorities to check the progress of the establishment of the new U.S. office. If sufficient progress has been granted, it is possible to renew in increments of two years upto the standard maximum of five or seven years for L-1A and L-1B respectively.

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How long does it take to apply for an L-1?

The L-1 category of visas process begins with a petition. In general, preparing an L-1 petition may take 1-2 months on the average depending on the responsiveness of the clients and the availability of required documents. The petition is then filed USCIS. On the average, it could take USCIS between 3-6 months to decide on a petition, but with premium processing, USCIS could decide in as fast as 15 business days.

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L-1A to EB-1c: How can L-1 Holders get a Green Card?

If you are a manager or executive in the United States on an L-1A category visa, you may apply for permanent residency (Green Card) through the EB-1c visa. A key requirement of EB-1c is that the manager or executive must have worked outside the US for at least one of the preceding three years before you entered the United States on an L-1A. The L1 Visa is a “dual intent visa”, which means that you are permitted to search for alternative visas and permanent residency and do not need to prove an intention to return home. One of the main benefits of EB-1c is that you are not required to obtain labor certification.

Read more about EB-1c Visas

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How can L-1B Holders get a Green Card?

L-1B Visas for employees with specialized knowledge are valid for a maximum of five years after this time you must leave the country or switch to another visa. For L-1A holders this usually means the EB-1c route for managers and executives. This is unlikely to be an option for L-1B holders. The L-1B holder may be able to build a case for an EB-2 visa (advanced degree) or an EB-3 visa (highly skilled worker). Both EB-2 and EB-3 are immigrant visas, which means they offer permanent residency (Green Cards).

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What is Dual Intent?

Most visas require an applicant to show proof that they intend to return home after their visa expires. The L1 Visa is a dual intent visa, which does not require applicants to show proof that they intend to return home. This leaves open the possibility of switching to another visa or applying for permanent residency. This means the L-1A category visa can be packaged together with an EB-1c visa. The EB-1c offers permanent residency (Green Card) in the US, while the L-1A is a temporary non-immigrant visa lasting a maximum of seven years. Note: EB-1c rules mean that applicants must apply within their first two years of being in the US on the L-1A.

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Can I Take my Family to the United States on an L-1?

A successful L-1 applicant applying for a visa under L1 visa can take their spouse to the United States, as well as any dependent children under the age of 21. Spouses are eligible to apply for work authorization to work in the United States. They are not restricted to working in the same L-1 business as their spouse.

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L-1 Visas for Small Business

Watch our video to learn more about L-1 Visas for small and medium sized enterprises

L-1 Visas for Small Business
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What is a new-office L-1 Category Visa?

The L1 USA visa also enables a foreign company that does not yet have a qualifying U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing one. The foreign company must have been in operation for at least a year. The new US office and the foreign company must have a qualifying relationship (parent-subisidiary, affiliate, branch or joint venture partner) but do not necessarily need to operate in the same market or industry. New-office L-1s are initially granted for up to one year and extendible in increments of two years.

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What Materials Do I Need to Prepare My L-1 Visa Application?

U.S. Company Documentation

The following is generally expected from the petitioning U.S. employer:

  • Description of company business
  • Articles of incorporation or association
  • Application for Employer Identification Number (Form SS-4)
  • Stock certificates
  • Lease of business location
  • Bank statement or wire transfer evidencing initial investment
  • Audited accounting reports (e.g., balance sheets, profit and loss statements, cash flow reports, etc.)
  • Corporate income tax return (Form 1120), if any
  • Employer's quarterly tax filings (Form 941), if any
  • Documentation of business transactions (e.g., commercial contracts, invoices, bills of lading, letters of credit, etc.)
  • Company letterhead with company logo, name, and address (several sheets)
  • Company structure and plan for acquiring and maintaining new employees
  • Interior and exterior photographs of the main office
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The following is generally expected from the overseas business entity:

  • Articles of incorporation
  • Business license
  • Income tax filings for the past three years
  • Audited accounting reports (e.g., balance sheets, profit and loss statements, cash flow reports, etc.)
  • Organizational chart, which should include the total number of employees and indicate the position held by the transferee
  • Company brochure or product introduction
  • Documentation of business transactions (e.g., commercial contracts, invoices, bills of lading, letters of credit, etc.)
  • Bank statements or transactional records
  • Company letterhead with company logo, name, and address (several sheets)
  • Pictures of company's main office, factories, or buildings (disregard if already included in company brochure or product introduction)
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The following is generally expected from the alien beneficiary:

  • Resume
  • Diploma
  • Employment verification letter from the foreign company
  • Board resolution or appointment documents verifying the transfer of the alien to the U.S.
  • Any other documents showing transferee's ability to conduct business in the executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity
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Does the L-1 Type of Visa Require an Investment?

The L1 visa does not require an investment as part of the application. However, there must be an operating U.S. entity for the applicant to transfer to. For people seeking a New Office L-1, the U.S. entity must be set up in advance and there may be investment associated with this. It is important to demonstrate that the US company is sufficiently capitalized to support its operations and elevate the beneficiary to a managerial or executive position. Our team of corporate lawyers work closely with our immigration attorneys to ensure a smooth process.

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HOW MUCH DOES AN L-1 VISA COST?

There are several costs associated with an L-1 visa. These include:

  • I-129 Filing Fee………………………………………………………………………USD 460
  • Anti-Fraud Fee……………………………………………………………………….USD 500
  • I-129 Filing Fee…………………………………………………………USD 460
  • Anti-Fraud Fee……………………………………………………………USD 500

ACWIA Training and Education Fee:

  • Businesses with 25 employees or less……………USD 750
  • Businesses with 26 employees or more…………USD 1,500
  • Consular Processing Fee………………………………………………USD 190
  • Businesses with 25 employees or less………USD 750
  • Businesses with 26 employees or more……USD 1,500
  • Consular Processing Fee…………………………………………USD 190

Consular Processing Fee:

  • Consular Processing Fee ………………………………………………USD 190

Professional Legal Fees:

  • Immigration Lawyer………………………………………………………………Varies by Law Firm
  • Corporate Lawyer……………………………………………………………………Varies by Law Firm
  • US Trademark Protection (if applicable)………………Varies by Law Firm

For Businesses with More than 50 employees with over half on L-1 or Ho1 status:

  • Public Law 113-114 Fee……………………………………………………USD 4,500
  • Public Law 113-114 Fee……………………………………USD 4,500
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How to Open a Business in the USA

Opening a business in the US is very straight forward. Things you will ned to consider include:

  • Forming a US Business [link to https://www.usimmigrationadvisor.com/corporate-services.php]
  • Obtaining a US Federal Taxation Registration
  • Obtaining a State Tax Registration
  • Opening a Bank Account
  • Obtaining Necessary Licenses and Permits
  • Filing to Protect your Trademarks and Patents
  • Having an Employment Agreement that Protects your Trade Secrets and Clients Lists
  • I-9 and Other Compliance Issues
  • Drafting or Reviewing a Franchise Agreement, If Applicable

D&A’s legal specialist corporate legal team can assist with all of these legal issues.

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L-1 VISAS FOR USA


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L-1 Client Testimonial


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Client Reviews
★★★★★
Mark is one of the best things happened to me in immigration. I was very skeptical as my last attempt to obtain an L1A was a negative one through another lawyer. Mark came in and… [made] sure that the case [was refiled] successfully. Rest assured, I can vouch for his services and will recommend him highly. Indian L1 Applicant previously denied using another law firm
★★★★★
I have been dealing with this firm for the last several years. They got my E2 visa approved followed by my E2 visa renewal as well. They are the best immigration lawyers I have ever met….. No one can give you better service than this firm. Australian E-2 visa applicant
★★★★★
Several lawyers told me I would not be able to get a TN visa. Two weeks after contacting Davies & Associates I was working in New York, visa in hand. I have recommended this firm to several friends and colleagues, they do an excellent job every time." Individual Seeking 'Impossible' TN Visa
★★★★★
Davies & Associates provided me with truly outstanding customer service 7 days a week. Technically brilliant, Davies & Associates not only successfully obtained E-2 visa status for myself and my Indian wife but also seamlessly coordinated my entire legal team, ensuring the timely completion of my acquisition." E2 Visa Applicant and Business Owner
★★★★★
I was qualified as a physician in a foreign country. Being on a J-1 visa I was facing having to leave the United States and return to my home country. Davies & Associates secured one of only 30 J-1 visa waivers available in my State, allowing me to work for a US hospital and remain in the United States." Doctor Seeking J-1 Visa Waiver
★★★★★
My exisiting immigration lawyer, who has a global reputation in immigration law, told me that "it couldn't be done". Someone suggested I speak to Davies & Associates and they obtained the immigration benefits I wanted. I will always use this firm in the future, they are miracle workers." Small Professional Business With International Offices
★★★★★
I am very satisfied with the services Mark Davies has provided me. He has a very extensive knowledge in immigration laws and has a thorough approach to any case." U Visa Applicant, A Victim of Crime
★★★★★
There is no question that Davies & Associates is clearly the leading E-2 visa law firm in the United States." E2 Visa Applicant and Business Owner
★★★★★
Extremely knowledgable, available, and reliable Mark was a god-send when dealing with USCIS. He is very experienced so he knows the ins and outs of the process, can predict response times and is very available to answer questions in a timely and friendly manner. Highly recommended to anyone trying to navigate a complicated immigration process at any stage." Syrian Marriage Based Immigrant Visa Applicant with Two Year J-1 Waiver
★★★★★
I highly recommend Davies & Associates LLC Mark Davies is a joy to work with. His extensive knowledge, speedy response and attentive service took away all my fears of dealing with immigration and visa applications. He is very generous with his time in explaining every step along the way and I have already and will in the future recommend him to anybody who is looking for an immigration lawyer." Small Business Owner and E-2 Visa Applicant