If a U.S. employer is affiliated with your current employer and wants you to work in the U.S., you can do so under an L-1 visa. When transferring to the United States, your work/position must be a manager, executive, or specialized knowledge.
An L-1 visa, in essence, allows for intracompany transfers. This means that a non-U.S. company can transfer an employee to their affiliated U.S. entity work. Furthermore, an L-1 visa will enable you to work and get a chance to obtain a green card (or permanent residence).
If you wish to begin your L-1 application, consult with one of our L-1 visa attorneys. Our law office has provided legal representation and assistance to clients who want to immigrate or visit the United States. We provide competent legal services to our clients through well-rounded strategies.
Getting an L-1 visa is not simple. You must jump some hopes and follow its rigorous procedures to claim one. In addition, there are complicated immigration laws that need to be considered. With all of this, you must seek the assistance of an experienced L-1 visa attorney.
In choosing a lawyer, you must consider their background in law and their knowledge of it. Also, you must assess whether or not they have the necessary skills and expertise in immigration. Lastly, it would help if you considered an immigration law firm that will treat you like a member of the family rather than a customer.
Fortunately, you can find all of this in our immigration lawyers. As an immigration law firm, we have always aimed for competence in everything. You can see this in the awards and honors we have received over the years of our operation.
An L-1 is a nonimmigrant visa that gives foreign nationals who work outside the U.S. for a company with an affiliated entity in the United States to travel to the United States and render services for the said U.S. entity.
These foreign nationals should be
- executives, or
- exceptionally knowledgeable employees.
This permits you to work on your visa for up to three years. After that, you can request to extend your stay for up to two years at a time.
The L-1 visa is divided into two classifications: L-1A and L-1B. The direct contrast between the two is that L-1A visas are meant for managerial or executive jobs, while L-1B visas are intended for occupations requiring specialized expertise.
One disadvantage of the L-1 visa is that you will be unable to work for anybody other than the employer who sponsored your visa application. On the positive side, your spouse and minor child can avail of such a visa. Your spouse may apply for employment authorization in the United States.
Furthermore, one good thing about the L-1 visa is that there is a possibility that you might get a permanent residence card (green card) through an employment-based visa or family-based visa as long as you meet all the requirements.
Who Qualifies for an L-1 Visa?
If you wish to apply for an L-1 visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must be employed outside the United States for at least one continuous year out of the past three years by a company with an affiliated entity inside the U.S.
- When you are transferred to the affiliate company, your position must be a manager, executive, or specialized knowledge worker.
- The affiliate company must be a parent, a branch, a subsidiary, an affiliate, or a joint venture partner of your non-U.S. employer.
Establishing New Offices in the U.S.
Suppose a non-U.S. employer wishes to establish a new office in the United States and decides to send an employee to act as an executive or manager. In that case, they must need to meet the following eligibility:
- Must have a good physical location for the new office. The area must be shown to be either bought or leased by the employer.
- The employee sent must be either an executive or manager for one continuous year in the three years before filing the petition.
- Within one year of the petition’s approval, there should be an executive or managerial position.
Once your employer has offered you to transfer to the United States, your employer must remember to do the following steps to secure your L-1 visa.
Step 1: Filing of Petition by the Employer
To begin the application process, your employer must file a petition with the USCIS. Your employer can choose either to file for an individual petition or a blanket petition. The former petition (Form I-129L) is intended only for a single individual, while the latter (Form I-129S) is when the number of employee transfers is ongoing.
Under the I-129L petition, you must prove that you possess the above requirements. You must provide the necessary documents to support the qualifications, such as proof that your position is a manager, executive, or employee with specialized knowledge and evidence that your employer and the U.S. company are presently engaging with each other.
Once your U.S. employer has completed all of the supporting paperwork, they must mail the petition to the California Service Center or the Texas Service Center, depending on which has authority over its place of business.
Remember that it might take up to five weeks to six months for your petition to be approved unless there is an issue, such as USCIS asking for further information (Request for Evidence or Form I-797E).
Once your petition is approved, a Form I-797 (or Notice of Action) will be given to your employer. Remember that the petition’s acceptance does not guarantee an L-1 visa. This is only a precondition for it.
Change of Status while in the United States
So now, what if you are already legally in the U.S.? Is it still possible to apply for an L-1 visa? The answer is yes! Suppose you are already in the U.S. on another classification of temporary visas. In that situation, you may apply for a change of status to L-1 transferee. This option, however, has a limitation – you cannot apply for a petition to change your status to L-1 if you entered the U.S. through the following:
- Visa Waiver Program
- TWOV (alien in transit without a visa),
- Fiance visa
- Transit (C) visa
- Crew member (D) visa
- Some exchange visitor visas or J student visa
Step 2: Applying at the nearest U.S. Consulate (called Consular Processing)
Once the petition has been approved, you can now apply for an L-1 visa at the nearest U.S. Consulate. Remember that the procedures done in the U.S. Consulates may differ, so it would be best if you connect with your local U.S. Consulate.
Under the blanket petition, the employer must fill out the form I-129s (or Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition) and must furnish a copy to the employee along with the approved blanket petition, which they will need to present later at the U.S. Consular.
Step 3: Enter the United States on an L-1 Visa.
When you enter the United States on an L-1 visa, you will be met by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer who will inspect your visa documents at entry. Once the officer determines that your paperwork is in order, they will stamp your passport.
Suppose you are entering through the blanket L-1 visa. In that case, you must secure a stamp coming from the U.S. consulate, three copies of Form I-129S, and a copy of the Notice of Action, which indicates that the blanket L-1 petition was approved. You must submit these documents to the CBP officer at the border or port of entry. After evaluating the form and determining that everything is in order, they will endorse it and give you two approved copies. Remember that you must submit the endorsed copy while leaving or reentering the United States.
You can extend your L-1 visa status by filing an extension petition (I-129L). You can extend your visa status for two years at a time. However, you cannot hold an L-1 visa for longer than seven years for L-1A visa holders or five years for L-1B visa holders.
If you filed the extension petition before your visa expired, you could continue work in the United States. You’ll have up to 8 months to work while you wait for a decision. If the approved stay expires after you file the petition and no decision is made within eight months, you will be obliged to stop working.
Start your E-2 Visa Journey with our E-2 Visa Attorney Now!
After reading the things you should consider in obtaining an L-1 visa, you must still be confused. Don’t worry, since our L-1 visa attorneys are here to provide you with the most exemplary legal representation that you deserve. Our extensive experience in giving legal immigration services has made us more adept at helping you.
Contact our New Jersey immigration law firm today to schedule a free legal strategy session to begin your L-1 visa journey.