L1 Visa for Employee Transfer
L-1A Visa – Intra-company Transferee Visa
The L-1A Visa is a visa for foreign nationals that own a company in a foreign country and own an affiliated company in the United States to move to the US so they can work and manage the US Company.
Gerardo is a Mexican national and is the current owner of “Company A” located in Mexico. Company A has a subsidiary in the US called Company B. Gerardo would like to come to the United States to manage Company B. The L-1A Visa would allow Gerardo to do this.
Some of the benefits of the L-1A Visa are:
Live in the USA
With the L-1A Visa, your and your immediate family will be able to legally live in the USA. Your immediate family includes your spouse and your unmarried children under the age of 21.
Work in the USA
You will be authorized to come legally work in the USA. Your spouse will also be eligible to get a work permit. This work permit allows the spouse to apply and legally work for any employer in the USA.
Your children will have access to public schools in the United States and will be able to attend classes from Pre-K to high school.
For your children that have already graduated from high school, the L-1A Visa will allow them to apply and attend universities in the US without a Student Visa.
Social Security Number
You and your spouse will be able to get Social Security Numbers.
You and your spouse will be able to get a State Driver’s License in the state you live in.
Green Card Eligibility
One of the most appealing benefits of having an L-1A Visa is that changing from an L-1A Visa to a Green Card is a fairly simple process. This makes the L-1A Visa very attractive when compared to other visas for people seeking a Green Card. In most cases, as soon as you have the L-1A Visa, you are eligible to apply for a Green Card, which can be approved in just a few months.
L-1A Visa Requirements
There are seven general requirements that must be met in order to qualify for the L-1A Visa.
- Foreign Company
The Foreign Company is the company that you are currently operating in a country other than the United States.
- US Company
The US Company is the company that you are creating or have already created and are currently operating in the United States.
- Qualifying Relationship between the two Companies
The same person(s) or corporate group must own and operate both the US Company and Foreign Company.
Examples of a Qualifying Relationship:
- The same person owns the Foreign Company and US Company.
- The US Company owns the Foreign Company as a subsidiary.
- A corporate group owns both companies.
- A group of people that own a controlling interest in both companies.
- Managerial Position in USA
You must be coming to work in a managerial or executive position.
- Example: You are coming to run the company as CEO, CFO or a high-ranking company supervisor.
[What qualifies as a Managerial or Executive Position?]
- Managerial Position in Foreign Company
You must have worked with the Foreign Company in a managerial position for at least 1 whole continuous year in the last 3 years before applying for the L1A Visa.
- A Business Plan
The L1A Application must include a business plan. A business plan should describe what the company’s financial, employment, and investment goals are over the course of a few years.
- Physical Premises
There should be proof that the new company has physical premises in the USA. For example, a lease agreement of an office, warehouse, storefront, etc. would all qualify as a physical premise.
L-1A Visa Application Process
The application process for the L-1A Visa is a two-step process.
- Document Checklist
Once hired, our immigration attorney will provide you with a tailored checklist of the documents needed to prepare both step 1 and step 2 of the L-1A Visa application.
- Step 1 – USCIS Application
Once you provided us with the necessary documents, we will prepare Step 1 of the application. This step of the application is submitted to USCIS and can take anywhere from 2 weeks with Premium Processing to 4 months without Premium Process for it to get processed and a response. Once USCIS approves Step 1, we then move on to Step 2.
- Step 2 – US Consulate
Once Step 1 of the application is done and approved, we will prepare Step 2 of the application that will be presented to the US Consulate in your home country. This step of the application includes an interview by a US Consular Officer. It is at this step that the L-1A Visa is stamped in your passport upon approval.
- Interview Preparation
Prior to the your interview with the US Consular Officer in Step 2, our attorney will schedule you for an appointment to help prepare you for the visa interview.
Duration and Renewal
The L-1A Visa has a duration of 3 years.
- Renewals are for 2 years with a maximum of 7 years so you may renew a total of 2 times.
If you are coming to work for a US company that is less than a year old, the duration of the L-1A Visa is 1 year.
- Renewals are for 2 years with a maximum of 7 years, so you may renew a total of 3 times.
Frequently Asked Questions
When can the L-1A Visa holder apply for a Green Card?
You may apply for a Green Card as soon as your L-1 Visa has been approved. There is no waiting period when you are working for a USA company that is a year old or older. If you are working or starting a new company, however, there is a 1-year wait to apply.
Can an L-1A Visa re-apply for an L-1A Visa once they have reached the 7 year maximum?
Once you have reached the maximum amount of time to renew, you may leave the USA for one year and return for a new L-1A Visa. The trick here is to apply for a Green Card before you ever reach the maximum stay on an L-1A Visa.
What if the USA Company is not in the same industry as the Foreign Company?
(Example: A business in Mexico sells gasoline but the business in the USA sells food.)
There is no requirement that the two companies be in the same kind of business. The only requirement is that both companies share ownership and control.
To be considered a Manager for L1 purposes, do 100% of the employee’s duties have to be of a managerial nature?
Applicant need “only establish that the applicant will devote half of his or her time to managerial duties”.
For more information
If you would like to set up a consultation with an immigration attorney to discuss the time, costs and other requirements associated with an L1A Visa application, please call (210)-858-9681.