L-1 Visa (Intracompany Transfer)
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An L-1 visa allows for the intracompany transfer of employees of foreign entities to a U.S. affiliate of the foreign company. The purpose of the L-1 visa is to allow key employees, such as executives, managers, or people with specialized knowledge to transfer to the U.S. affiliate of the foreign company.
Like any other visa application, obtaining an L-1 visa can be a fairly time-consuming and complex process. For this reason, it is crucial to secure high-quality counsel from a knowledgeable and experienced Orange county immigration lawyer. At Yekrangi & Associates, our attorney is a former immigrant himself, giving our firm a unique understanding of the challenges you may face.
Call us at (949) 478-4963 to schedule your consultation with Attorney Yekrangi.
Do I Qualify for an L-1A or an L-1B Visa?
Employees who will perform managerial or executive duties in the United States should apply for an L-1A visa, which has a maximum visa validity of seven years. An L-1A allows for a period of stay for three years, and two extensions of two years each.
Employees who have specialized knowledge should apply for an L-1B visa, which has a maximum validity of five years. The initial petition will grant three years of stay, with only one extension of two years. Spouses and children under 21 years of age are eligible to obtain employment authorization.
What Is Required to Obtain an L-1 Visa?
Most importantly, we must show a qualifying relationship between the foreign company and the U.S. affiliate. We must then show your prior duties in the capacity of an executive, manager or someone who has specialized knowledge and that you worked full time for the foreign company for at least one year in the past three years.
What Is a “Qualifying Relationship”?
The foreign and U.S. companies must be either a parent, subsidiary, branch or affiliate. Joint ventures may also qualify so long as the joint venture is at least 50% owned, with veto power, by the sponsoring company. It is also possible to obtain L-1 status if the foreign company seeks to open a new office in the United States – this is an excellent way to expand your business into the U.S. market.
What Is “Qualifying Employment”?
Qualifying employment for purposes of an L-1 visa requires that the employee be employed by the foreign employer on a full time basis in a position as a manager, executive, or someone who has specialized knowledge. Most importantly, the employee must have worked for at least one year in the prior three years for the sponsoring company.
Who Is Considered an L-1A Manager?
A manager is one who directs the activities and budgets of a department or the business and who has subordinate staff that reports to him or her. Generally, the common sense definition of a "manager" is used.
Who Is Considered an L-1A Manager?
An executive is similar to a manager, but with greater responsibilities within the business. For example, the executive must have the power to make important decisions for the company. Again, a common sense definition of an "executive" is used.
What Is Considered “Specialized Knowledge” for an L-1B Transferee?
Generally, specialized knowledge is special knowledge of the company product and services or an advanced knowledge of process and procedures of the company.
The L-1A visa has some advantages over an L-1B visa. As discussed, an L-1A may remain in the United States for up to seven years while an L-1B can only stay for five years. Second, obtaining permanent residency for an L-1A visa holder is easier. So long as the employee was a manager or executive for the foreign affiliate for at least one year, and the employee will continue being a manager or executive for the U.S. affiliate, he or she is eligible for the Employment Based First Preference (Eb-1) category.
The L-1B, on the other hand, requires that the employee go through the PERM labor certification process. It is important to discuss your long term plans with your Orange County business immigration attorney so that the proper L-1 visa is obtained for you.
Permanent Residency for L-1 Visa Holders
As discussed above, both L-1A and L-1B visas allow for permanent residency in the United States. However, it is easier to get a green card with an L-1A visa than through an L-1B visa.
The L-1 visa is an excellent option for entrepreneurs seeking to expand their business in the United States. Unlike the E-2 visa, no treaty trade agreement with your country of citizenship is required. Further, unlike the EB-5 visa, there is no minimum investment required in the United States.
Our firm is ready to help you with your immigration matters. Contact us today to get started. We've helped countless clients achieve the results they needed.
L-1 Visa Abuse
There has been widespread abuse of the L-1 visa. Therefore, these applications are highly scrutinized by the USCIS. You should work with a competent Orange County business immigration lawyer to prepare the applications and petitions for your transfer.
For experienced guidance through the L-1 visa application process, contact Yekrangi & Associates today. As an immigrant himself, our attorney is well aware of how immigration can impact all areas of your life, from business to family and everything in between. If you’re seeking tireless, devoted counsel for any immigration matter, call us today to schedule a consultation.
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