Multinational corporations may transfer senior executives and managers from their overseas operations to work in the United States under the L-1A visa, also known as the intracompany transferee visa. This visa is intended to make it easier for international organizations to function effectively by permitting the entry of essential staff members into the United States.
The L-1A visa is part of the broader L-1 visa category, which includes the L-1B visa for specialized knowledge employees. The L-1A visa allows managers or executives to work in a branch, subsidiary, affiliate, or parent company in the U.S., provided the company has employed them for at least one continuous year within the preceding three-year period.
Who qualifies for an L-1A visa?
To qualify for an L-1A visa, the applicant must meet certain requirements of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). These include:
• Being employed in a managerial or executive position at a foreign company for at least one year. This employment must have been within the three years preceding the application.
• Being transferred to a U.S. branch, subsidiary, affiliate, or parent company.
• The foreign and U.S. companies must have a qualifying relationship, such as being the same employer, having a parent-subsidiary relationship, etc.
What are the benefits of an L-1A visa?
The L-1A visa offers numerous benefits to both the employee and the employer. Some of these include:
• The visa is granted for up to three years initially and can be extended for up to seven years.
• The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may accompany the L-1A visa holder to the U.S. on an L-2 dependent visa.
• The visa holder can travel in and out of the U.S. freely during their stay.
• Spouses on an L-2 visa will have automatic work authorization. There is no longer a requirement to apply for it.
• The visa holder can apply for a green card (permanent residency) while staying in the U.S.
What is the application process for an L-1A visa?
The application process for an L-1A visa involves multiple steps and requires extensive documentation. Here are the basic steps:
1. The sponsoring company must file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker with the USCIS.
2. The petition must include supporting documents such as evidence of the qualifying relationship between the foreign and U.S. companies, proof of the employee’s managerial or executive position, etc.
3. Once the petition is approved, the L-1A visa applicant must apply for a visa at their nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
4. The applicant must attend an interview and provide additional documentation as required by the embassy/consulate.
5. If approved, the visa holder may enter the U.S. and begin their employment with the U.S. company.
Overall, the L-1A visa is a valuable option for multinational companies looking to transfer their top-level employees to their U.S. offices. It provides numerous benefits and opens up opportunities for permanent residency in the U.S.
This blog provides background information on what an L-1A visa is, who is eligible for it, the benefits, and the application process. 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.