Did you get a promotion or a location transfer to the U.S.A? Do you intend to change your workplace to states? Congratulations on your career boost! But before packing your things, checkup what do you need to do to get your intracompany transferee Visa, or L-1 Visa.
What is a L-1 Visa?
The L-1 Visa is a temporary non-immigrant visa, given to an alien qualified employee that enables to transfer from a foreign company to its U.S parent, child or sister company, in a managerial or executive capacity or in a position that requires special knowledge. It may also involve the religious, non-profit or charitable organizations. These visas are for employees who want to enter the U.S for a fixed period of time and do not intend to stay any longer. Also the applicant must have been working for the affiliate company for at least one year out of the past three years. The L-1 Visa is also designed to the employees of multi-national companies that develop a new market in another country, or have international rotation of managerial level personnel, in order to give them all the opportunity to advance in their own careers.
- The recent years have marked a notable increase in Requests for Evidence and ultimate petition denials. USCIS statistics show that in the first Quarter of the 2015 fiscal year, the agency processed 3,278 applications. Of the applications processed, 1,020 (or 31%) were denied. The L-1B visa category is further troubled by the large number of Requests for Evidence that are issued prior to final approval or denial.
The Intracompany Transferee Visa or the L-1 visa is a very useful implement for multi-national companies that have the necessity to bring qualified foreign employees to the U.S. Also the L-Visa holders have the right to be eligible for the permanent residency status.
1. CLASSIFICATIONS OF L-1 VISAS:
There are several types of Intracompanee Transferee Visas:
1. The L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager
This type of Visa is issued for the employees with managerial competence coming to work for a subsidiary, parent or branch company in the United States. It also allows the firms, which do not have an office in the U.S to send a worker in order to create one. The employer must file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, with a fee, on behalf of the employee.
2. The L-1B Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge
The L- 1B visa is created for workers with specialized knowledge (for ex. an employee that has some special information about a company’s product and comes to States to share his or her specialized knowledge with the U.S. colleagues).
3. The L-2 Visa
The L-2 visa means that a dependent spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age of the L-1 Visa holder can accompany them to the United States. This non-immigrant Visa allows its holder to attend a school and/or to work full or part time legally on their status. In order to work, the L-2 Visa holder must get an Employment Authorization (EAD). These candidates are eligible to apply for immigrant visas.
There are also several types of L-1 procedures:
- Regular L-1 visas, that must be applied for and approved for each applicant by the USCIS;
- Blanket L-1 visas, which are available to employers that meet the requirements. It is used by the multi-national companies that are frequent users of the L-1 Visas, and qualifies for its issuance. In this case the alien worker that had already received the L-1 visa, needs only to file a copy of the approved blanket petition, along with documents supporting their personal qualifications.
2. PERIOD OF STAY
For the employees that come to the United States in order to create a new office are allowed to stay maximum initial stay of one year. In any other cases, qualified employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of three years. For the L-1A holders the period of stay can be extended up to additional (2) two years, until the employee has reached the maximum limit of (7) seven years.
To be mentioned, the L Visa holders can be eligible to seek permanent residency status.
3. SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS FOR THE L-1 EMPLOYERS:
- The company must be, or will be doing business as an employer in the United States.
- While the business has to be viable, there is no requirement that it has to be engaged in the international trade.
Evidence of doing business means a regular and continuous providing of services and goods by a qualifying firm overseas. When the employer intends to open a new office in the United States, he must have an extended pack of documents such as: signed lease agreements, business plan, marketing description or other description of the business connecting the activity of the business with the space acquired, bank statements, purchase orders contacts or other evidence of commercial activity, financial reporting documents showing monthly income, media coverage of the business, continued venture capital or other third party investment contribution based on achieved milestones, mortgages or other proof of real estate purchase (sometimes when it comes to business incubator, some additional documentation confirming the evidence of establishment of the new office, will be required).
When a company is well-established and well-known, there are no special requirements and there is no need in extensive recommendation, but when it comes to a start-up, they must be prepared to encounter long procedures in order to establish their eligibility. It is suggested to find a qualified attorney.
Additional Requirements for New Offices
- The new firm must secure a sufficient physical basis to house the new office;
- The L-1 applicant must be employed for a manager or an executive position for a year in the three years preceding the filling petition;
- The new office must support the said managerial, executive and specialized knowledge position within one year of receiving petition approval.
- The company must have a qualifying relationship with a parent, child or affiliate or branch office of the foreign company, also known as qualifying organizations or qualifying entities.
5. SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS FOR THE L-1 EMPLOYEES:
The requirements for the L-1A applicant are:
- The applicant must have been employed abroad in an executive or managerial position also known as a qualifying position. This job includes managing the department, subdivision or function, supervising the work of other employers; the authority to hire, fire or recommend the employers directly supervised.
- The foreign employee must have worked for the abroad company for the term of one year within the three years immediately preceding his or her admission to the United States.
- The employee must be qualified for the position. This aptitudes have to be based on his or her prior education and experience.
- The applicant’s intend to depart from the U.S. upon completion of his or her authorized stay.
- The applicant coming to the U.S. has to provide executive or managerial capacity
Executive Capacity - means the employee’s capacity to make decisions of wide aptitude without much failure.
Managerial Capacity - means that the employee has to be able to supervise and control professional employees and to manage the organization department, subdivision, function or the component of the company.
The requirements for the L-1B applicant are:
- The applicant has to possess specialized knowledge, which basically means the employee’s expertise about organization’s product, service, techniques, research and equipment or an advanced know-how about the organization process and procedures. It may also mean the alien unusual qualification and not generally known by practitioners in the alien industry.
- The foreign employee must have been working abroad for a continuous period of one year within the three years immediately preceding his or her admission to the United States.
- The applicant’s intend to depart from the U.S. upon completion of his or her authorized stay.
6. THE APPLICATION PROCESS:
- The employer must file a Form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigration of the L-1 non-immigration visa program, with a fee, on behalf of the employee – $325.
- The employee can apply for the visa after the Petition for Non-immigrant worker (Form I-129) was approved by the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services).
YOUR APPLICATION STEPS
1. Complete The Online Visa Application
Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 –You must:
- Complete the online visa application
- Print the application form confirmation page to bring to your interview.
Photo –You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160
2. Schedule an interview
You must schedule an appointment for your visa interview, generally, at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. You may schedule your interview at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but be aware that it may be difficult to qualify for a visa outside of your place of permanent residence.
3. Prepare for your Interview
Pay the non-refundable visa application fee, if you are required to pay it before your interview. When your visa is approved, you may also pay a visa issuance fee, if applicable to your nationality. Fee information is provided below:
Application Fee Pay, non-refundable visa application fee - $190;
Some petitioners must pay a $500 Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee and Border Security Act Fee $2500.
Review the instructions available on the website of the embassy or consulate where you will apply to learn more about fee payment.
4. Gather Required Documentation
Gather and prepare the following required documents before your visa interview:
- Passport valid for travel to the United States – Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States (unless exempt by country-specific agreements). If more than one person is included in your passport, each person who needs a visa must submit a separate application.valid for 60 days beyond the expiration date printed on the immigration visa;
- Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page.
- Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview.
- Photo– You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. If the photo upload fails, you must bring one printed photo in the format explained in the Photograph Requirements.
- Receipt Number for your approved petition as it appears on your Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I-129, or Notice of Action Form I-797, from USCIS.
- L blanket petition – If you are included in an L blanket petition, you must bring Form I-129S Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition, to your interview.
Additional Documentation May Be Required
Review the instructions on how to apply for a visa on the website of the embassy or consulate where you will apply. Additional documents may be requested to establish if you are qualified.
All visa applicants, except H-1B and L, will generally need to show proof of compelling ties to your home country to demonstrate your intent to return after your temporary stay in the United States. Examples of compelling ties include:
- A residence abroad which you do not intend to abandon
- Your family relationships
- Your economic situation
- Your long term plans
- Attend your Visa interview
While attending your interview, a consular office will conclude whether you are qualified to receive your visa, and what kind of L-type Visa you are qualified for, based on your travel’s purpose. Ink-free, digital fingerprint scans will be taken as part of your application process. They are usually taken during your interview, but this varies based on location. After your visa interview, your application may require further administrative processing. You will be informed by the consular officer if further processing is necessary for your application.
When the visa is approved, you may pay a visa issuance fee if applicable to your nationality, and will be informed how your passport with visa will be returned to you. Review the visa processing time, to learn how soon your passport with visa will generally be ready for pick-up or delivery by the courier.
- The fact that you are on the application process does not necessarily mean that you will get a visa, so don’t make any plans and don’t buy tickets until you know for sure that you will get the visa
- With the exception of Cultural Exchange Visitor Q-1 visa applicants, your spouse and unmarried, minor children may also apply for the same visa category as you to accompany you. You must be able to show that you will be able to financially support your family in the United States.
- Unless canceled or revoked, a visa is valid until its expiration date. Therefore, a valid U.S. visa in an expired passport is still valid. If you have a valid visa in your expired passport, do not remove it from your expired passport. You may use your valid visa in your expired passport along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the United States.
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