6 Tips for Applying for L1 Visa – Why Revenue and Employees Matter

6 Tips for Applying for L1 Visa - Why Revenue and Employees Matter

Looking to apply for an L1 visa?  Then this article is for you.  Indeed, this article will take you through six helpful tips in applying for your L1 visa. 


We are Ashoori Law, led by Michael Ashoori, a U.S. immigration lawyer based in Los Angeles, California.  At our law firm we work with clients from all over the world, and we regularly post articles and videos to make sure that you are up to date with the latest immigration news.  If, after reading this article, you have more questions, then we invite you to contact us at Ashoori Law.  Feel free to call us at +1-818-741-1117 or you may schedule a free consultation by clicking this link.


Overview in Brief – the L1 Visa


The L1 visa is a special non-immigrant visa that allows a company outside of the United States to transfer certain workers to a related company within the United States.  In other words, this visa allows the foreign company to transfer either a manager, executive, or a specialized knowledge worker to work for a U.S. company that has a qualifying relationship with the foreign company.  Some examples of qualifying relationships between two companies include a branch office, an affiliate relationship, or a parent-subsidiary relationship. 


Now, let’s talk about those six helpful tips.


1. Foreign Entity Should Have Gross Revenue of at Least $500k


For an L1 visa application to be successful, the foreign company should have a gross revenue of at least five hundred thousand dollars for the most recent year.  Significantly, this is not a statutory requirement.  If you look through the requirements for an L1 visa, you're not going to see a requirement that the foreign company must have $500,000 in revenue.  But, at our firm, and in our experience handling L1 visa matters, we have seen that when the revenue is too low, USCIS can raise a variety of issues with the foreign entity.  When the revenue is too low, USCIS may examine whether the prospective L1 visa beneficiary's role was truly as a manager or executive.  Additionally, they can raise issues regarding whether the company abroad is actually real and operating.  In short, if the foreign company’s gross revenue is less than $500,000, then it is likely that USCIS will review the L1 application with more scrutiny than if the gross revenue was over $500,000. 


2. Foreign Entity Should Have At Least 10 Full-Time Employees


It is helpful to ensure that the foreign entity has at least 10 full-time employees on staff.  As with the gross revenue tip above, a minimum number of employees is not required by statute.  But again, as a firm that has handled many L1 applications, when the number of employees for the foreign entity is low, USCIS can raise a host of different issues pertaining to the prospective visa beneficiary’s role in the company.  It is important to prove that the beneficiary worked for the foreign employer as either a manager, executive, or specialized knowledge worker.  When a company abroad has very few employees, it is hard to show that the individual beneficiary worked as a manager, executive, or as a specialized knowledge worker.


3. US Company Should Have Sufficient Physical Space to Operate the Business


For a successful L1 application, the U.S. company should have sufficient physical premises to operate the business.  This means that the U.S. company should either have a lease in place or some sort of property ownership entitling it to operate the business out of this location. 


This is an important requirement because the U.S. company should have sufficient space to house all employees projected into year five of the business plan.  For certain types of L1 visa applications, you have to include a business plan that identifies financial projections and projected staffing through year five.  To satisfy that requirement, you should ideally have space in place to house all employees projected through year five.


Notably, when the U.S. company's physical office space is too small, USCIS will point to the business plan and inquire as to how 20 projected employees in year five could work in a space of only 100 square feet.


4. U.S. Company Should Have Infrastructure in Place


The U.S. entity should either already be operational or it should be in position to be operational for a successful L1 visa.  That means the U.S. company should have infrastructure in place so that it's ready to be operational as soon as the L1 visa beneficiary comes to the United States.


5. Foreign Company's Revenue Needed to Support the New U.S. Company


USCIS will also check to see if the foreign company has the revenue or infrastructure in place to show that it can support the U.S. entity during the startup period of the U.S. company.  Stated differently, the L1 visa has an option for L1 new offices (which is a brand-new U.S. entity).  Be sure that you are able to show that the foreign entity has revenue in place or otherwise is set up to support the US entity during the startup phase.


6. Have an Organizational Chart (specific for L1-A managers or executives)


You, as the intended L1 visa beneficiary, should have an organizational chart submitted with your L1 application to show both your role with the foreign entity, which will indicate your prospective position with the U.S. entity.  Ideally, your organizational chart should show that you have subordinates, and that those subordinates are skilled workers with at least a bachelor's degree, which is required to perform the functions of their job.


Taking this tip one step further, your application will be even stronger if you present USCIS with an organizational chart which shows two tiers of workers beneath you.  Having two levels beneath your position is stronger than just one tier. You should have skilled subordinates, and your subordinates should have skilled subordinates. This strengthens the position that you are in fact a manager or an  executive.

6 Tips for Applying for L1 Visa - Why Revenue and Employees Matter
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So, putting it all together, for your L1 visa application be sure that you have (1) $500,000 in gross revenue, (2) at least 10 employees, (3) physical space to operate the business in the U.S., (4) infrastructure in the U.S. that is ready to go, (5) additional revenue that can support the U.S. entity, and (6) an organization chart to show that you are truly a manager, executive, or specialized knowledge worker.


My name is Michael Ashoori and I'm a U.S. immigration lawyer and the founder of Ashoori Law. As an immigration lawyer, I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.  If you have any questions, feel free to schedule a free consultation by clicking this link.

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Michael Ashoori, Esq.

President of Ashoori Law

I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer and I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.

Since starting my law firm, I’ve helped thousands of people from all over the world with their immigration needs. I’m very passionate, hard-working, and committed to my clients.

Got a question? Send me an email.