The L-1A visa, also known as the intracompany transferee visa is a valuable pathway for international executives and managers seeking to work in the United States.
If you’re considering applying for this visa or have questions about its eligibility requirements, benefits, and application process, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll address some of the frequently asked questions surrounding the L-1A visa, providing you with essential information to navigate the complexities of this visa category.
What is the L-1A Visa?
The L-1A visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows multinational companies to transfer qualified executives or managers from overseas branches to their U.S. offices. Eligibility requirements include having worked for the foreign company for at least one year in a managerial or executive position and being offered a similar role in the U.S.
What are the Benefits of the L-1A Visa?
1. Ability to work in the U.S.: The L-1A visa allows you to live and work legally in the United States for an initial period of up to three years, with the ability to apply for extensions.
2. Path to permanent residency: L-1A visa holders may be eligible for a green card through the EB-1C multinational manager or executive category, offering the opportunity for permanent residency.
3. Opportunity for international business expansion: The L-1A visa facilitates the expansion of international businesses into the United States, allowing executives or managers to establish oversee U.S. operations.
How to Apply for the L-1A Visa?
1. Verify your eligibility: Ensure that you meet the criteria for an L-1A visa. This visa is for executives or managers who will be transferred to the United States by their employer.
2. Obtain a job offer: Your employer must offer you a qualifying position in the U.S. company or a related entity.
3. File the petition: Your employer needs to file a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, with the USCIS. This petition should include supporting documents that demonstrate your eligibility as well as the sponsor’s eligibility.
4. Pay the fees: Pay the required filing fees for the petition.
5. Wait for a decision: Once your petition is submitted, USCIS will review it and make a decision. If approved, you will receive a Notice of Action (Form I-797) indicating that your L-1A visa petition has been approved.
What documents are needed from the employer?
For an L-1A visa, the following documents are typically required from the employer:
1. Form I-129: This is the Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, which must be completed and signed by the employer.
2. Supportive documentation: The employer needs to provide supporting evidence to establish the qualifying relationship between the U.S. and foreign entities, as well as proof that both companies meet the eligibility requirements.
3. Organizational documents: These include articles of incorporation, bylaws, partnership agreements, or joint venture agreements.
4. Financial documentation: The employer must provide evidence of the ability to pay the beneficiary’s wages and support their employment.
5. Job offer letter: A detailed letter explaining the position offered to the employee.
6. Employment contract: A signed employment agreement between the employer and the employee.
What documents are needed from the employee?
1. Valid passport: The employee’s passport should be valid for at least six months beyond their intended period of stay in the U.S.
2. Form DS-160: This is the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form, which must be completed by the employee. This is used if the employee is outside of the U.S.
3. Form DS-160 confirmation page: The employee should keep a copy of the DS-160 confirmation page, which will be needed for the visa interview. This is used if the employee is outside of the U.S.
4. Photograph: The employee must provide a recent passport-sized photograph that complies with the U.S. visa photo requirements. This is used if the employee is outside of the U.S.
5. Resume: The employee should provide a current resume or curriculum vitae (CV).
6. Education and work experience documents: These include degrees, diplomas, transcripts, professional certificates, and letters documenting past employment history.
7. Documentation of qualifying relationship: If the employee is being transferred within a multinational organization, they should provide documentation demonstrating the qualifying relationship between the U.S. and foreign entities.
Can I Bring My Family on the L-1A Visa?
Spouse and children eligibility: L-1A visa holders can bring their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to the U.S. under the L-2 dependent visa category.
Benefits and restrictions for dependents: L-2 dependents may study in the U.S. and the spouse will obtain work authorization upon approval.
What is the Duration of the L-1A Visa?
The initial L-1A visa is usually granted for up to three years. L-1A visa holders may request extensions in increments of up to two years, with a maximum limit of seven years for L-1A executives and managers.
How to go from an L-1 Visa to Green Card?
To go from an L-1 Visa to a Green Card, you typically need to follow these steps:
1. Determine your eligibility: Make sure you meet all the requirements for obtaining a Green Card through employment-based immigration.
2. Find an employer sponsor: Look for a U.S. employer willing to sponsor your Green Card application. This employer must submit a petition (Form I-140) to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on your behalf.
3. Wait for the priority date: Depending on your specific circumstances, you may need to wait for your priority date to become current before proceeding with your Green Card application. The priority date is determined by your country of birth and the category in which you are applying. Exceptions do apply with cross chargeability if your spouse is a national of a country that has a shorter wait time.
4. Submit your Green Card application: Once your priority date is current, you can file an application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485) with the USCIS. This form includes various supporting documents and requires payment of relevant fees.
5. Attend biometrics appointment: After submitting your Form I-485, you will receive an appointment notice for biometrics (fingerprinting and photo).
6. Attend an interview: USCIS may schedule an interview with you to verify the information provided in your application and assess your eligibility for a Green Card. Prepare for this interview by gathering all necessary documents and familiarizing yourself with the process.
7. Receive a decision: If your application is approved, you will be issued a Green Card. If it is denied, you may have the opportunity to appeal the decision or explore other options.
If I am managing a group of professionals or other supervisors at a company in my country, do I qualify for the L-1 visa?
To qualify for the L-1A visa, you must demonstrate that you are engaged in a managerial or executive role and meet the specific eligibility criteria outlined by U.S. immigration authorities. Managing a group of professionals or supervisors does not automatically qualify you for an L-1 visa. The specific requirements should be reviewed to determine your eligibility.
Are the requirements for the L-1A the same as the requirements for a green card as a Multinational Manager or Executive?
While there is overlap between the requirements for the L-1A visa and a EB-1C green card as a multinational manager or executive, the criteria for obtaining a green card has additional requirements. The L-1A visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows multinational companies with a U.S. subsidiary, parent company, or branch, to transfer an individual to perform as an executive or manager at the U.S. subsidiary, parent company, or affiliate. On the other hand, the EB-1C green card as a Multinational Manager or Executive is an employment-based immigrant visa category intended for managers or executives who have been employed in a managerial or executive role outside the United States by the same employer, affiliate, or subsidiary for at least one of the three preceding years as well as who will work in the U.S. as a manager or executive.
How much education and experience are required for an L-1A executive or manager visa?
While there is no strict educational or experience requirement for the L-1A visa, it is crucial to demonstrate that you possess the necessary qualifications, expertise, and experience to fulfill the managerial or executive role in the U.S.
If you have questions relating to the L-1A visa, we would be happy to review your case, guide you through the necessary legal procedures, and answer any questions you may have regarding your application.