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Visa - L-1. Intracompany transfers.

An L1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa category which allows intracompany transfers of certain classes of employee from its foreign operations to the USA operations for up to seven yearsL-1 status may be given to a foreign individual who, within the 3 years preceding his/her application for admission to the U.S., was employed abroad (outside of the U.S.) continuously for one year by a branch, parent company, affiliate, or subsidiary of the U.S. petitioning company. The applicant must be seeking to enter the U.S. temporarily to continue to work for the same employer, affiliate, or subsidiary.

There are two types of employees who may be sponsored for L-1 visas:
1) Managers/Executives: The legal definitions of management and executive roles for purposes of an L-1 visa application are quite specific, and the applicant must provide a detailed description of the duties that are required of the position. For example, the executive/manager should have supervisory responsibility over either professional staff and/or should be responsible for a key function, department or subdivision of the employer’s operations. Managers or executives would seek an L-1A visa, which would be granted initially for a period of 3 years, and may be extended in 2 year increments up to a maximum of 7 years.

2) Employees with Specialized Knowledge: This visa category covers those individuals with knowledge of the company's products/services, research, systems, proprietary techniques, management, or procedures. Employees in this category would seek an L-1B visa, which would be granted initially for a period of 3 years, and may be extended up to a maximum of 5 years.


Upon completion of the maximum allowable period of time in valid L-1 status, an individual must be employed outside of the U.S. for a minimum of 1 year before a new application may be made for another L or H visa.

To qualify for an approvable L-1 visa application, the Petitioning Employer must meet certain requirements:
1) The company must have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company. These “qualifying entities/organizations” include a parent company, branch office, subsidiary, or affiliate of the foreign company, and may be corporations, non-profits, religious or charitable organizations.
2) The company must also be, or will be in the future, doing business as an employer in the U.S. and in at least one other country – either directly or through a qualifying organization – for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States under valid L-1 status. “Doing business” requires the regular, systematic, and continuous provision of goods and/or services by a qualifying entity/organization and does not include the mere presence of an agent or office of the qualifying organization in the U.S. and/or abroad.

To qualify for an approvable L-1A visa application, the Beneficiary Employee must meet certain requirements:
1) The beneficiary employee must have worked outside of the U.S. for the foreign company for a continuous period of 1 year within the 3 years immediately preceding his/her admission to the United States.
2) The beneficiary employee must have been employed abroad in an executive or managerial position, also called a “qualifying position.”
3) The beneficiary employee must be coming to the U.S. in order to provide service in an executive/managerial capacity for a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.
4) The beneficiary employee must be adequately qualified for the position based upon his/her education and experience.
5) The L-1 visa holder must have intent to leave the U.S. upon completing his/her authorized stay.


To qualify for an approvable L-1B visa application, the Beneficiary Employee must meet certain requirements:
1) The beneficiary employee must have worked outside of the U.S. for the foreign company for a continuous period of one year within the three years immediately preceding his or her admission to the United States. Any time spent working in the United States will not count toward the one year of required employment.
2) The beneficiary employee must be coming to the U.S. to provide services in a specialized knowledge capacity to a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.
3) The L-1 visa holder must have intent to leave the U.S. upon completing his/her authorized stay.


The L-1 visa program also provides companies with the opportunity to relocate employees to the U.S. to expand their business and open up new offices. Foreign companies seeking to send an L-1 visa employee to the U.S. in order to establish a new office must meet the following requirements:
1) The company must have secured a sufficient physical premise on which to house the new offices.
2) The beneficiary employee must have been employed as an executive or manager for 1 continuous year out of the 3 years preceding the filing of the L-1 petition; and
3) The new office in the U.S. must intend to support the qualifying executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge position within 1 year of receiving approval of the petition.

The experienced attorneys at Gavlin & Associates, P.C. will evaluate both you and your employer’s situation for the potential L-1 case to determine whether filing an L-1 petiton is right for you. As your attorneys, we will work closely with you and your employer throughout the entire L-1 filing process. Contact us to discuss how we can put our experience toward getting you results.

 

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