L-1: Intra-company Transferee Visa

Which companies are qualified to transfer employees to the United States?

Only those companies that exact meet the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) definitions of a parent, branch, subsidiary or affiliate qualify to petition for an L1 intra-company transfer visa. Both the foreign and U.S. operations must be doing business for the entire time that the L1 employee is working in the United States.

These provisions allow a new office to open in the United States provided that evidence is submitted to USCIS to prove that the new office has a suitable place to do business, that the qualifying business structure exists, that a viable business plan is in place and that the employer has the ability to pay the employee to begin doing business in the United States.

Each case must be well documented with evidence proving that or the required criteria are met.

The L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa which enables companies operating both in the US and abroad to transfer certain classes of employee from the foreign operations to the USA for up to seven years. The employee must have worked for a subsidiary, parent, affiliate or branch office of the US Company outside the US for at least one year out of the three years preceding the Application.

There are two types of employees who may be sponsored for L-1 visas:

Managers/Executives

The legal definition of management and executive roles for these purposes is quite strict, and a detailed description of the duties attached to the position will be required. In particular, the executive or manager should have supervisory responsibility for professional staff and/or for a key function, department or subdivision of the employer. Such personnel may be issued an L-1A visa, initially for a three year period that may be extended in increments of two years up to a maximum of seven years.

Specialized Knowledge Employees

This category covers those with knowledge of the company’s products/services, research, systems, proprietary techniques, management, or procedures. Employees in this category may be issued an L-1B visa, initially for three years extendible to a maximum of five years.

L-1 vs. EB-5:

EB-5 Visa Program provides a direct way to permanent residency for the whole family, which would allow the ability to live and work in any state or US territory. Contrary, the L-1 Intra-company Transferee Visa, is a temporary work visa for an executive or manager of a foreign subsidiary in the United States.