L-1 Visa

L program is specifically designed to facilitate the needs of intra-company transfers between countries. The L-1 program is best suited for the companies abroad to bring executives, managers, or employees with specialized knowledge from a foreign branch to their U.S. branches. In general terms, L-1 is a temporary nonimmigrant status for foreign employees of companies with offices in the U.S. and abroad. Qualifying aliens, who are the beneficiaries of L-1 applications, must be employees who have worked for a subsidiary, parent, affiliate, or branch office of the company for at least one year of the three years prior to filing an L-1 petition. Qualifying businesses, which are the sponsoring petitioners, must be a parent company, child company, or sister company of the foreign company. The L-1 category may be used by nonprofit, religious, and charitable organizations, in addition to for-profit multinational companies. The L-1 visa is a great way for businesses (including smaller enterprises) to expand to the United States with a minimal investment. If you are a business owner wishing to set up a company in the United States and immigrate, please contact Duke Seth today so we can get started on your case.

Types of L-1 Visa

L-1A: Executive or Manager

The L-1A is designed for intra-company executive and managerial transferees relocating to the United States. L-1A holders must have been continuously employed in an executive or managerial capacity for the foreign company at an overseas location for at least one year of the three years preceding filing. In addition, this subtype of the L-1 visa allows a company currently lacking a U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States in order to establish one. The L-1A is granted initially for one year for a new company in the U.S. or three years for a U.S. company with more than one year in existence, with extensions available in two-year increments and a total stay not to exceed seven years.

L-1B: Specialized Knowledge

The L-1B classification is designed for professional employees with specialized knowledge of a company or industry. An example of an employee with specialized knowledge would be one with proprietary knowledge about a company’s product who needs to travel to the U.S. to impart his or her specialized knowledge to new U.S. employees. As with an L-1A, companies that do not currently have an office in the United States can use the L-1B to transfer an employee with specialized knowledge to help establish one. The L-1B is issued initially for three years, with one two-year extension for a maximum stay of five years.

Spouse and unmarried children of L-1 can accompany the foreign national in L-2 status. L-2 spouses are eligible to work. One of the privileges of the L-1, as opposed to many other nonimmigrant visas, is that it is dual intent. In other words, an L-1 holder may apply for a green card and become a permanent resident without jeopardizing his or her L-1 status or visa applications from a U.S. consular office abroad. Another advantage is that visa numbers are almost always current if a previous L-1 holder applies for a green card by way of an EB-1C visa. Doing so translates to less time that the L-1 holder will have to wait for visa numbers to become available in order to apply for an adjustment of status via Form I-485 and receive a green card.

If you have any questions about the above or would like to learn more about L-1 visa eligibility requirements, please do not hesitate to contact us today. We are here to help you find the right solution for your immigration needs, which may be an L-1 visa. For more information on obtaining an L-1 visa, please contact an immigration attorney at Duke Seth today and schedule a consultation to discuss your case and learn more about your options.

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