Obtaining an L-1 visa is an effective and efficient means for executives, managers, and key workers to transfer among affiliated companies. To qualify for an L visa, a foreign company must show that:

  • The foreign company and a U.S. entity have a qualified relationship. There are a number of ways to create the requisite relationship: The Company may (1) open a branch office in the U.S., (2) incorporate a subsidiary in the U.S., or (3) enter into a qualified joint venture in the U.S.
  • The foreign Company must “control” the US company, which typically requires it owns at least 51% of the stock of the US entity.
  • The prospective transferee must have worked continuously for the parent foreign employer for at least one year of the last three years in an executive, managerial or key employee capacity.
  • This means that the person must manage or direct other employees within the company structure, or have specialized knowledge as an employee, and the US company must be ready to hire the employee on its payroll.
  • The employee must be qualified to assume the executive, managerial or key employee position in the U.S.
  • The foreign company must continue to conduct business while the transferee is in the US

Executive or managerial transferee workers (L-1A Visa holders) and their designated immediate family members may remain in the U.S. for a period not exceeding seven (7) years, key employees (L-1B Visa holders) for a maximum of 5 years. If the U.S. company is a “new” office (i.e. has not been active for more than one year), the initial L visa will be granted for 1 year. After this one year period, the petitioner must show that the company is actively doing business (such as by showing growth in the number of employees, increase in revenues and increase in the volume of goods sold or services provided). If the U.S. company is not a new office, then the initial period of stay will be 3 years.

The US employer of a manager or executive may elect to convert the foreign national from an L-1A to a permanent U.S. resident. Permanent U.S. residence enables foreign nationals to reside, work, and study in the U.S. as well as enter the U.S. freely.

Spouses and children under the age of 21 years may accompany the L-1 visa holder employee to the U.S. As dependents of the L-1 visa holder,  spouse may obtain work authorization once in the U.S. and children can remain in the U.S. legally and study.

Contact Donald Gross Law for a free 30-minute consultation to start the application process for your L-1 visa.