For a U.S. company with a related company abroad, the L visa can be an extremely useful and valuable tool to facilitate the transfer of personnel to the United States. A foreign national who is coming to open a new office in the U.S. will only be given an initial period of stay of 1 year. At the end of the year, the foreign national must prove that the U.S. company has been actively engaged in business. If the U.S. entity has been in existence for more than 1 year, the L-1A managers and executives can get an initial period of stay of 3 years, with extensions in 2-year increments, for a total of 7 years. L-1Bs can get an initial period of stay of 3 years, with an extension of 2 years, for a total of 5 years.
- The employee must have worked abroad for an overseas company continuously for 1 year (full-time) in the preceding 3 years (unless files the Blanket L petition).
- The overseas company must be a branch office, subsidiary, affiliate, or parent of the U.S. petitioner, or be involved in a 50-50 joint venture with the U.S. petitioner.
- Some company must continue to be doing business overseas during the whole period of the transfer.
- The foreign national’s capacity abroad must have been executive or managerial (L-1A), or the foreign national must have developed specialized knowledge (L-1B).
- The foreign national must be coming to the U.S. to fill an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge position.
- The foreign national must be qualified for the position (through prior education or experience, although there is no specific degree requirement).
- The foreign national must intend to depart the U.S. eventually (however, dual intent is acceptable).
- The L visa holder’s dependents will receive L-2 visas. The L-2 spouses (but not the children) are entitled to apply for work permits.
- There is no need for obtaining labor condition for L-1 applicants.
- Petition is filed with the appropriate Service Center with either a change-of-status request or a request for consular processing.
How We Can Help
We consult with both employers and employees regarding their options. We prepare the individual and Blanket L petition package. We can assist you in establishing a new office in the United States and meeting your L-1 related planning in staffing them.