L1 Visa Requirements: Step-by-Step Guide on the L1 Requirements

L1 Visa Requirements: Step-by-Step Guide on the L1 Requirements

 

The L1 visa allows certain foreign workers to transfer from a foreign company to a US branch office, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate company.

 

In this guide, I will discuss the L1 visa requirements.

 

If you have any questions about the L1 visa or if you are looking for a US immigration lawyer to help you file your L1 visa petition, contact me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com. My team and I would be happy to help you.

 

Overview:

 

1. Introduction to the L1 Visa

 

2. Breakdown of 4 Main L1 Visa Requirements

 

3. Qualifying Relationship Between the Foreign Company and the US Company

 

4. Continuous Employment with the Foreign Company for 1 Year

 

5. Employment with the Foreign Company Must be in a Managerial, Executive, or Specialized Knowledge Capacity

 

6. The Employee’s Work for the US Company Must be in a Managerial, Executive, or Specialized Knowledge Capacity

 

7. Special Requirements for New Offices

 

8. Conclusion

 

1. Introduction to the L1 Visa

 

The L1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa which allows foreign companies to transfer a manager, executive, or person with specialized knowledge to a US company.

 

2. Breakdown of 4 Main L1 Visa Requirements

 

In order to get an L1 visa, there are 4 main requirements:

 

  • There must be a qualifying relationship between the foreign company and the US company.

 

  • The employee coming to work in the US must have been continuously employed full-time by the foreign company for at least 1 year within the last 3 years before filing the L1 petition.

 

  • The employment with the foreign company must have been in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity.

 

  • The employee’s work for the US company must be in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity.

 

3. Qualifying Relationship Between the Foreign Company and the US Company

 

The L1 visa is for foreign companies to transfer certain workers to a US company. In order to get an L1 visa, there must be a qualifying relationship between the foreign company and the US company.

 

There are 3 types of relationships that qualify:

 

  • Parent/Subsidiary

 

  • Branch Office

 

  • Affiliate

 

  • For the definitions of branch office, affiliate, and parent/subsidiary, see my guide on the L1 visa.

 

How Long Should the Qualifying Relationship Last?

 

  • A qualifying relationship between a foreign company and the US company must last for as long as the L1 beneficiary stays in the US.

 

  • If the US company has been doing business for longer than 1 year, the US company just needs to maintain a qualifying relationship with any foreign company. The relationship does not need to be with the L1 beneficiary's foreign company. 

 

  • If the US company has been doing business for less than a year, it is considered a new business and special rules apply. The same foreign company that the L1 beneficiary worked for must continue to operate and must maintain a qualifying relationship with the US company for the duration of the L1 beneficiary's stay in the US.

4. Continuous Employment with the Foreign Company for 1 Year

 

Another requirement for an L1 visa is that the L1 visa beneficiary must have been continuously employed by the foreign company, full-time, for at least 1 year within the last 3 years prior to filing the L1 petition.

 

5. Employment with the Foreign Company Must be in a Managerial, Executive, or Specialized Knowledge Capacity

 

  • Another requirement for an L1 visa is that the L1 visa beneficiary must have worked for their foreign employer as a manager, executive, or specialized knowledge worker. 

 

  • Check out my guide on the L1 visa to learn more about the specific L1 definitions for managers, executives, and specialized knowledge workers.

 

  • You can also email me and I'll explain what each position involves.

 

6. The Employee’s Work for the US Company Must be in a Managerial, Executive, or Specialized Knowledge Capacity

 

  • Another requirement to get an L1 visa, is that the L1 visa beneficiary must be coming to the US to work for the US company as a manager, executive, or specialized knowledge worker. 

 

  • The same definitions for managerial, executive, and specialized knowledge capacity apply for this requirement as for the previous requirement.

 

 

Quick Pointers on Managers, Executives, and Specialized Knowledge Workers

 

  • If you plan to work in the US as a manager or executive, USCIS wants to see that you will primarily be working as a manager or executive. In order to prove this, you should show that other workers will be handling the day-to-day operations of the business and that you will be focusing on managerial and executive tasks.

 

  • If you plan to work in the US as a specialized knowledge worker, USCIS wants to see that your knowledge is not commonly held. You should provide evidence of: 1. how long it took for you to acquire your special knowledge; 2. the value your knowledge will bring to the US company; and 3. how your knowledge is not commonly held.

 

7. Special Requirements for New Offices

 

  • New offices are businesses that have been operating for less than 1 year. 

 

  • If the US business that you plan to work for is a new business, there are special rules that apply.

 

If you are coming to the new office to work as a manager or executive:

 

  • You must show that there is a qualifying relationship between the US company and the foreign company that you worked for.

 

  • You must show that the US company has sufficient physical premises to operate.

 

  • You must show that your employment with the foreign company was in a managerial or executive capacity.

 

  • The US company must also support a managerial or executive position within 1 year of your L1 petition approval.

 

 

If you are coming to the new office to work as a specialized knowledge worker:

 

  • You must show that there is a qualifying relationship between the US company and the foreign company that you worked for.

 

  • There must be sufficient physical premises to operate the new office.

 

  • The new office must have the financial ability to pay for the services of the L1 visa beneficiary.

 

  • The foreign company that you worked for must also continue to operate and maintain a qualifying relationship with the US company.

 

Please Note: If you are an owner or major stockholder of the company, you should include evidence that you will be in the US temporarily and that you will be transferred back to your foreign company following the completion of your work for the US company.

 

8. Conclusion

 

The L1 visa is a great option for foreign workers to transfer to a related US company.

 

There are 4 main L1 visa requirements:

 

  • There must be a qualifying relationship between the foreign company and the US company.

 

  • The L1 visa beneficiary must have been continuously employed by the foreign company, full-time, for at least 1 year within the last 3 years prior to filing the L1 petition.

 

  • The L1 visa beneficiary's employment with the foreign company must be as a manager, executive, or specialized knowledge worker.

 

  • The L1 visa beneficiary's work for the US company must be as a manager, executive, or specialized knowledge worker.

 

If you have any questions regarding the L1 Visa, or if you need help filing your L1 visa petition, contact me directly via email at Michael@AshooriLaw.com. I’d be happy to help you.

 

Ashoori Law is a full-service immigration law firm that helps working professionals get visas to the United States.

 

Resources:

 

 

 

  • Business Immigration: Law and Practice, 2nd Ed. Chapter 11 L1 Visas and Nonimmigrant Status

 

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