L-1A Visa | Employment Based | Business Immigration Attorney | Dallas
December 14, 2016

L-1A VISA

L-1A VISA INTRACOMPANY TRANSFEREE EXECUTIVE OR MANAGER

L-1A Visa Nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.

This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing one.

The employer must file a Petition for on behalf of the nonimigrant employee.

 

GENERAL QUALIFICATIONS OF THE EMPLOYER AND EMPLOYEE

L-1A Visa Nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.

This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing one.

  • The employer must file a Petition for on behalf of the nonimigrant employee.

 

GENERAL QUALIFICATIONS OF THE EMPLOYER AND EMPLOYEE

To qualify for L-1 Visa classification in this category, the employer must:

  • Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate, collectively referred to as qualifying organizations); and
  • Currently be, or will be, doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States with  L-1 Visa status
  • While the business must be viable, there is no requirement that it be engaged in international trade.

Doing business means: The regular, systematic, and continuous provision of goods and/or services by a qualifying organization and does not include the mere presence of an agent or office of the qualifying organization in the United States and abroad.

To qualify, the named employee must also:

  • Generally have been working for a qualifying organization abroad for one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding his or her admission to the United States; and
  • Be seeking to enter the United States to provide service in an executive or managerial capacity for a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.
  • Executive capacity generally refers to the employee’s ability to make decisions of wide latitude without much oversight.
  • Managerial capacity generally refers to the ability of the employee to supervise and control the work of professional employees and to manage the organization, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the organization.
  • It may also refer to the employee’s ability to manage an essential function of the organization at a high level, without direct supervision of others.

 

NEW OFFICES

For foreign employers seeking to send an employee to the United States as an executive or manager to establish a new office, the employer must also show that:

  • The employer has secured sufficient physical premises to house the new office;
  • The employee has been employed as an executive or manager for one continuous year in the three years preceding the filing of the petition; and
  • The intended U.S. office will support an executive or managerial position within one year of the approval of the petition.

 

PERIOD OF STAY

Qualified employees entering the United States to establish a new office will be allowed a maximum initial stay of one year.  All other qualified employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of three years.  For all L-1A Visa employees, requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to an additional two years, until the employee has reached the maximum limit of seven years.

 

FAMILY OF L-1 VISA WORKERS

The transferring employee may be accompanied or followed by his or her spouse and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age.  Such family members may seek admission in L-2 nonimmigrant classification and, if approved, generally will be granted the same period of stay as the employee.

 

CHANGE OF STATUS OR EXTENDED STAY

If these family members are already in the United States and seeking change of status to or extension of stay in L-2 Visa classification, they may apply collectively to change or extend nonimmigrant status

SPOUSES

Spouses of L-1 Visa workers may apply for work authorization an application for employment authorization.  If approved, there is no specific restriction as to where the L-2 spouse may work.

 

BLANKET PETITIONS

Certain organizations may establish the required intracompany relationship in advance of filing individual L-1 Visa petitions by filing a blanket petition.  Eligibility for blanket L Visa certification may be established if:

  • The petitioner and each of the qualifying organizations are engaged in commercial trade or services;

The petitioner has an office in the United States which has been doing business for one year or more:

  • The petitioner has three or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates; and
  • The petitioner along with the other qualifying organizations meet one of the following criteria:
    • Have obtained at least 10 L-1 Visa approvals during the previous 12-month period;
    • Have U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of at least $25 million; or 
    • Have a U.S. work force of at least 1,000 employees.

The approval of a blanket L Visa petition does not guarantee that an employee will be granted L-1A Visa classification.  It does, however, provide the employer with the flexibility to transfer eligible employees to the United States quickly and with short notice without having to file an individual petition with USCIS

 

WHERE AN L-1 VISA IS REQUIRED

In most cases, once the blanket petition has been approved, the employer need only complete required forms for Nonimmigrant Petition on Blanket L Petition, then send it to the employee along with a copy of the blanket petition Approval Notice and other required evidence, so that the employee may present it to a consular officer in connection with an application for an L-1 Visa.

 

CANADIANS WITH APPROVED BLANKET PETITION SEEKING L-1 VISA:

Canadian citizens, who are exempt from the L-1 Visa requirement, may present file and submit supporting documentation to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer at certain ports-of-entry on the United States-Canada land border or at a United States pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station in Canada, in connection with an application for admission to the United States with a L-1A Visa status. 

 

OPTIONAL FILING OF FORM I-129S WITH USCIS

If the prospective L-1 Visa employee is visa-exempt, the employer may file and submit supporting documentation with the USCIS Service Center that approved the blanket petition, instead of submitting the form and supporting documentation directly with CBP.