L-1 nonimmigrant visa classification is designed for intracompany transfers. It has two subcategories, L-1A and L-1B, which are suitable for different types of employees.
Both categories share the same basic requirements:
The U.S. and foreign company must possess a qualifying relationship, such as parent and subsidiary, affiliates, or branches. This classification is also available for a foreign company that wishes to open or send an employee to work at a new office in the U.S. The U.S. employer must be “doing business” in the U.S., which refers to the regular, systematic, and continuous provision of goods and/or services.
There are a number of benefits to L-1 status:
Companies seeking a faster and less expensive method of transferring eligible employees to the U.S. may choose to submit a Blanket L petition to the USCIS. Once approved, a company’s Blanket L is valid for an initial period of three years and may be extended indefinitely. An approved Blanket L petition allows the company’s employees to apply for an L-1 visa directly at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad without the company needing to file an individual petition with the USCIS first.
To qualify for Blanket L approval, an organization must meet the following criteria:
Foreign employers seeking to send an employee to the U.S. as an executive or manager to establish a new office must show that they have a physical location for the new office and that the new office will support an executive or managerial position within one year.
An individual entering the U.S. on an L-1A visa to establish a new office will be allowed a maximum initial stay of one year, rather than three. The L-1 status will need to be extended rather soon after the arrival to the U.S. posing a challenge to start ups and entrepreneurs. Very often, it is hard to demonstrate a thriving business and new hires in only six months of operation when the extension petition can be filed. An individual entering the U.S. on an L-1B visa cannot establish a new office but can be employed at a qualifying new office as long as there are sufficient physical premises, and the employer has the financial ability to pay the employee and do business in the U.S. These individuals will also only be allowed a maximum initial stay of one year, rather than three.
Contact L-1 visa lawyer, Ellen Freeman and her team of legal experts. Ellen and her team represent individuals in L-1A cases throughout the country.
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