L-1 Visa Summary:
**Please note this is only a summary designed to give you an over view of the L-1 Program. The rules and regulations are extensive and complex and this summary does not encompass all of the rules regulating the program:
The L-1 Visa Program
This program allows for an intra-company transfer of employees of foreign companies to U.S. companies that qualify as a U.S. parent, affiliate or subsidiary of the foreign company. There are two L-1 Program Visas
1) The L-1A and
2) The L-1B.
Each of the two programs have the qualifications listed:
- Must establish, through documentation that the U.S. Company is a U.S. parent, affiliate or subsidiary to the foreign company. Each type of company relations has a specific definition under the immigration law. It is important to consult an immigration attorney prior to setting up any U.S. company intended to sponsor an L-1 Non-Immigrant Visa.
- The employee (or owner) being transferred must qualify under U.S. Immigration’s definition as an Executive, Manager or person with specialized knowledge. Each of these categories has very detailed duties.
- The employee or owner to be transferred to the U.S. must have been employed at least one year out of the three years immediately preceding the filing of the L-1 Petition with the foreign company.
L-1A vs. L-1B:
- The L-1 A for managers or executives allows for a streamlined Permanent Residence (Greencard) process.
- The L-1A may be held for up to 7 years. After the 7 year limit is reached the holder must reside overseas for 1 year before being able to apply again for L-1A. Generally, those seeking to buy or open a qualifying business in the U.S. will be an executive and will be applying for L-1A status.
An L-1A may come to the U.S. to open a new office and/or a new business which has the proper ownership relationship between the new U.S. Company or office and the foreign company. A new office is considered an office or business that has been doing business through the U.S. Company for less than one year.
**This is only an outline of the issues involved in the L-1 nonimmigrant visa category. This document does not address all of the issues or documents involved in a complex employment immigration case. Please feel free make an appointment to discuss further with us the options available to you in your specific case.