San Antonio L1A Visa Lawyer
What is a L1A Visa?
Visa to Transfer Executives & Managers to USA
The L1A Visa is a work visa for high-level corporate personnel of a foreign company to be transferred to work at a company in the US. To qualify, there must be a foreign company seeking to transfer a worker to a US company. Both companies must be owned by or a part of the same corporate group. The L1A visa is not for low-level employees. It is for executives and managers, which for L1A purposes, means that it is limited to high-level personnel responsible for making important corporate decisions and who supervise subordinates who also make important corporate decisions. For example: David is an executive at “Company A” located in France. Company A has a sister company in the US called “Company B”. David is to be transferred to be an executive in the US at Company B. The L1A visa would allow David to be transferred from the company in France to work at the company in the US.
L1A visas are used by both employees and by investors, i.e., owners of multinational companies. Employees use it as a work visa. Business owners use it as an investor visa. In other words, the L1A can be used in different ways, although the requirements for getting these visas remain the same. To see if you qualify for an L1A Visa, call our office to schedule a consultation with one of our immigration lawyers today.
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San Antonio L1A Visa Attorney
The L1A Visa has many great immigration benefits.
1. Live in the USA:
With the L1A visa you 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.
2. Work in the USA:
The L1A will authorize you to work in the USA. Your spouse will be eligible to get a work permit. Your spouse’s work permit allows your spouse to legally work for any employer in the USA.
3. Public Education:
Your children will have access to schools in the USA, everything from pre-kinder to colleges and universities without needing a Student Visa.
4. Social Security Number & Driver’s License:
You and your spouse will be able to get Social Security Numbers and will be eligible to apply for US Driver’s Licenses.
5. L1A to Green Card:
One of the most important benefits of the L1A work visa is that it facilitates the Green Card application process. This makes the L-1A very attractive to people interested in a Green Card. In most cases, people who qualify for the L1A visa, already qualify for a Green Card. To determine if you can qualify for a Green Card, visit with our immigration attorney.
There are 6 main requirements to qualify for the L1A Visa.
1. Foreign Company:
There must be a company outside the US (Foreign Company), currently operating, where the applicant has been employed.
2. US Company:
There must be a company in the USA (US Company), currently operating or in the process of being established, where the applicant plans to work.
3. Same Corporate Group:
The same person(s) or corporate group must own and control both the US Company and Foreign Company. Some examples of corporate structures that qualify as being part of the same corporate group include:
(a) The same person(s) owns the whole Foreign Company and US Company;
(b) The US Company owns the Foreign Company as a subsidiary or vice versa;
(c) A corporate group owns both companies; and
(d) The same person(s) own a controlling interest in both companies.
4. Work at Foreign Company:
The applicant must have worked with the Foreign Company as an executive or manager for at least 1 whole, continuous year during the last 3 years before applying for the L1A Visa. If the applicant is already in the US working for the US Company, then this requirement must be met during the 3-year period before the applicant started working in the US for the US Company.
5. Work at US Company:
The L1A applicant must plan to work as an executive or manager with the US Company.
6. Physical Location:
The US Company is required to have a physical location where the applicant will work in the USA, such as an office, a factory, a store, etc.
The L1A Visa application is a two-step process.
L1A Document Checklist:
Once you start the process, the first thing our immigration lawyer will do is provide you with a very detailed checklist of the documents needed to prepare your L1A Visa application. This checklist is custom made to your specific situation and therefore very important because it spells out exactly what will be needed from you to complete the application.
Application #1 – USCIS:
Once you provide us with the requested documents, we will prepare Application #1 for the L1A. This application is submitted to USCIS. On the average, the review process can take anywhere from 2 weeks with Premium Processing to 4 months without Premium Processing. Once USCIS approves Application #1, we then move on to Application #2.
Application #2 – US Consulate:
Our immigration lawyer will prepare Application #2 which will be presented at a US Consulate in your home country. This step includes an interview by a US Consular Officer. Upon being approved, the L1A Visa is stamped onto the applicant’s passport immediately after the interview.
L1A Interview Preparation:
Prior to the applicant’s L1A interview at the US Consulate (Application #2), you will have an interview preparation session with our immigration lawyer to help guide you. During this session, you will learn about the questions you are most likely to get during the L1A interview. The preparation will make you feel a lot more comfortable during your interview.
How long does the L1A Visa last?
Initially, the L1A Visa is issued for 3 years. However, if you are coming to work for a US company that is less than 12 months old, the L1A is initially issued for 1 year. You can be on an L1A Visa for a maximum of 7 years. However, many L1A holders apply for a Green Card before they reach the 7th year on the L1A. See our explanation of the L1A to Green Card application process below the Green Card tab.
How does the L1A renewal work?
L1A renewals are issued in increments of 2 years at a time. In most cases, the procedure for renewing the L1A is the same as the procedure for first time L1A applications, which is described above. Often L1A extension applicants only apply for an extension of the L1A status with USCIS and forgo applying for the visa at a US Consulate.
1. When can the L1A Visa holder apply for a Green Card?
You may apply for a Green Card as soon as you have an L1A Visa. However, if you are working for a US company that is less than 12 months old, then you must wait until the US company is more than 12 months old before applying for the Green Card.
2. Can I get another L1A after I have already been on the L1A for 7 years?
Once you have reached the 7-year maximum, you must leave the USA for one year before you can apply for the L1A again. If you will need the L1A beyond the 7th year, it is recommended that you apply for a Green Card before you reach the maximum stay on an L-1A Visa.
3. What if the USA Company is not in the same industry as the Foreign Company?
There is no requirement that the two companies be in the same kind of business. For example, you could get the L1A if the company outside the US is in the clothing business and the US company is in the restaurant business.
4. How do I qualify as an L1A manager?
To be considered a manager, you must have a high-level position in the company organizational chart and you must have the duties matching your high-level position. Typically, L1A managers must exercise discretion over day to day operations and must supervise other supervisory employees, i.e., you must be the boss of another boss. You can qualify for the L1A if at least half or more of your work time will be spent on managerial duties. In other words, your primary job duties must be managerial even if you do have some less prominent duties which are non-managerial.
5. What is an L1A function manager?
There is an exception to the requirement of being the boss of another boss. It is called the function manager. This is for L1A applicants who do not supervise other workers but do manage an essential role within an organization. The role of a function manager is required to be of impact to the entire company structure. The best-case scenario is when a function manager is also responsible for setting goals or has responsibilities for managing the implementation of policies and strategies. Call to speak to our immigration attorney Gerardo Menchaca to analyze your situation and determine if you can qualify as a function manager.
6. What is an L1A executive?
Executives are responsible for overall management of the company or a major division. These have limited supervision, if any, from other executives or from a board of directors. L1A executives must establish goals and policies for the whole company or a major component of the company. A factor to consider is whether other high-level personnel reports to the executive either directly or indirectly.
For more information Contact Our San Antonio L-1A Visa Lawyer
To set up a consultation with our San Antonio Immigration Lawyer to discuss the time, costs and other requirements associated with the L1A visa application, please call (210) 858-9681.