L1 Visa Status Las Vegas
To qualify for an L1 visa, you must have worked abroad for an employer for at least one year within last three years and seek temporary admission to United States to continue work at a branch, affiliate or subsidiary of the same employer. You must work in a capacity that is managerial or executive (L-1A) or that requires specialized knowledge (L-1B). See INA §101(a)(15)(L).
An L1 visa also enables a foreign company that does not have a U.S. office to send an executive or manager to start up a new U.S. Office. One of the advantageous features of L1 work visas for business staff is that no Labor Condition Applicant (LCA) is required, and there is no prevailing wage requirement provided the intended L1 will not become a public charge. Even an owner or majority stockholder of a foreign and U.S. company may be eligible for an L1 visa under certain circumstances. Furthermore no numerical limitation exists on the number of qualified person who may be granted L work visas.
The DOS may grant you an L visa even though you are the beneficiary of a pending or approved immigrant petition or have a pending application for an immigrant visa or permanent residence. See 22 CFR §41.11(a); INA §214(b). The regulations permit dual intent for the L visa category. 8 C.F.R. §214.2 (l)(16).
Filing a Petition
Before a person can get L1 status or an L1 visa, the U.S. employer must first file a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker with the USCIS accompanied by the right fees and required evidence. The petitioner must present evidence that immediately before the filing of the petition the worker met the one-year requirement. The employer must disclose if it filed any previous petitions for the same beneficiary. The employer must also certify that it will not file another petition for the same beneficiary unless the circumstances and conditions in the first petition have changed. See 8 CFR §214.2(l)(2)(i). An employer may also file a Blanket L petition (discussed below) for qualifying positions.
The approval of a petition by DHS does not establish that the beneficiary is eligible to receive L status or an L nonimmigrant visa. The worker must apply for a change of status if in the US under lawful status or for a non-immigrant L visa if the person is outside the United States.
Qualifications of the L-1 Employer and Employees
The L1 Visa Employer
To qualify for an L1 visa, your employer must show that:
1. It has a qualifying relationship with a foreign organization (parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate); and
2. It is now or will be doing business as an employer in the United States and, at least, one foreign country directly or through a parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary for the duration of the L-1’s stay as an intracompany transferee. The regulations do not contain a requirement that the employer must engage in overseas trade.
Doing business means the regular, systematic, and continuous provision of goods or services by a qualifying organization. It does not include just having an agent or office of the qualifying organization in the United States and abroad. 8 CFR §214.2(l)(1)(2)(H).
The employer includes for-profit businesses as well as non-profits, religious or charitable organizations. The form of the entity is not relevant and may include a proprietorship when the enterprise is not a separate legal entity from the owners or a joint venture where the foreign company has control of management and policy but less than a majority stake. In any petition, the qualifying organizational relationship between the foreign entity and the U.S. corporation must be documented.
The Visa L1 Employee
To qualify an L1 visa the beneficiary employee must:
• Have been working for a qualifying organization abroad full-time for one continuous year within the three years immediately before admission to the United States; and
• Be seeking to enter the United States to offer service in an executive or managerial capacity or as a specialist in a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.
Executive capacity refers to an employee who primarily directs the organization or a major part or function with broad discretion. The employee sets goals and policies for the same and receives only general supervision or direction from higher-level executives, the board of directors, or stockholders of the organization.
Managerial capacity refers to an employee who primarily manages the organization, or a department, subdivision, function, or component. Supervisors do not qualify unless they supervise and control the work of other supervisory, professional, or managerial employees. It refers to the employee’s ability to run the day to day activities of an essential function (e.g. Marketing, Finance or IT) of the organization at a high level, without direct supervision of others.
Specialized knowledge capacity refers to a person who has special knowledge (not merely a skilled worker) of the company’s “product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the company’s processes and procedures”. See 8 CFR 214.2(l)(1)(ii)(D). The person must possess knowledge that is different or uncommon compared to that found in the particular industry.
Complete definitions are available at section 101(a)(44) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, and 8 CFR §214.2(l)(1)(ii).
While L1 employee must have worked full-time abroad, there is no requirement that they work full-time in the United States or be in the United States full-time provided they work for their employer on a regular and systematic basis and their purpose in the United States is consistent with L status. See O.I. 214.2(l)(5)(ii)(B).
If you need more information or representation on an L visa petition or L1 visa extension, reach our L1 visa attorney at Goodin Law P.A.. Call702-423-2721 today!
Former Exchange Visitors – J visa
If you are a past J visa holder who is subject to the 2-year foreign residence requirement of INA §212(e), you may be restricted from obtaining an L visa under INA §101(a)(15)(L). To overcome the restriction, you must show that you met the foreign residence requirement or obtained a waiver of the obligation.
L Visa Period of Stay
Qualified employees entering the United States to set up a new office will be allowed a maximum initial stay of one year. All other qualified employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of three years. For all L-1A employees, requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to two years, until the employee has reached the maximum limit of seven years. For all L-1B employees, requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to two years, until the employee has reached the maximum limit of five years.
The maximum period of authorized stay in L1A status is seven years. Only periods in which the L-1A is lawfully admitted and physically present counts towards the seven years cap. There is an exception from this seven-year limitation for L-1As who do not continuously reside in the United States and whose employment in the United States is seasonal, intermittent, or consists of an aggregate of six months or less per year. An exception also applies to L-1A’s who live abroad and commute to the United States to engage in part-time employment. To get the benefit of this exception the petitioner and the employee must give “clear and convincing proof” that the exception applies to the employee. This clear and convincing proof shall consist of evidence such as arrival and departure records, copies of tax returns, and records of employment abroad. See, 8 CFR §214.2(l)(12)(ii).
Family of L1 Visa Workers
The transferring employee may be accompanied or followed by his or her spouse and minor children (under 21 years/unmarried). Such derivatives may seek admission in L2 status and, if approved, are granted the same period of stay as the L1 worker.
Change of Status to L2/L1 Visa Extension
If the spouse and minor children are in the United States, under lawful status, they may seek a change of status to L2 or extension of stay in L2 status. They may apply collectively, on a Form I-539, Application to Change/Extend Nonimmigrant Status.
Working on L2 visa
Spouses of L1 employees may apply for employment authorization (EAD) by filing a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization on form I-765 accompanied by fee and proof of current status of principal including the petition approval notice and the I-94 for L1 and spouse. If approved, the USCIS will issue an EAD card. The spouse may then work for any willing employer in the United States.
Blanket L Petitions
Certain organizations may establish the required intracompany relationship in advance of filing L1 individual petitions by submitting a blanket L petition. Under the blanket petition process, the USCIS is responsible for determining whether the petitioner and its parent, branches, affiliates, or subsidiaries specified are qualifying organizations. 8 CFR §214.2(l)(1)(i). Eligibility for blanket L certifications may exist if:
• The petitioner and each of the qualifying organizations is engaged in commercial trade or services;
• The petitioner has an office in the United States which has been doing business for one year or more;
• The petitioner has three or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates; and
• The petitioner along with the other qualifying organizations meet one of the following criteria:
o Have obtained at least 10 L1 approvals during the past 12-months;
o Have U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of at least $25 million; or
o Have a U.S. workforce of at least 1,000 workers.
The approval of a blanket L petition does not guarantee that an employee will be granted L1 classification. It does, however, provide the employer with the flexibility to transfer eligible employees to the United States quickly and with short notice without having to file an individual petition with USCIS.
Where an L-1 visa is required
In most cases, once the blanket petition has been approved, the employer need only complete Form, I-129S,Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition , and send it to the employee along with a copy of the blanket petition Approval Notice and other required evidence, so that the employee may present it to a consular officer in connection with an application for an L1 visa.
Canadians with an approved blanket L petition seeking L-1 classification
Canadian citizens, who are exempt from the L-1 visa requirement, may present the completed Form I-129S and supporting documentation to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer at certain ports-of-entry on the United States-Canada land border or at a United States pre-clearance/pre-flight inspection station in Canada, in connection with an application for admission to the United States in L-1 status.
Please refer to United States Customs and Border Protection’s website for additional information and requirements for applying for admission into the United States.
Optional filing of Form I-129S with USCIS
If you are a prospective L1 business personnel who is visa-exempt (e.g. Canadian, Bermudan), your employer may file Form I-129S with the USCIS Service Center that approved the blanket L petition, as an alternative to submitting the form and supporting documentation directly with CBP. See 8 CFR §214.2(l)(4) and 8 CFR §214.2(l)(5) for more details regarding blanket petitions.
Contact us for L1 visa attorney services
When applying for L1 status on behalf of a foreign worker, it is important to get legal advice and representation to avoid being overwhelmed by requests for more evidence or RFEs as the USCIS may require additional documentation in individual cases. These RFEs can be so confusing and burdensome that some petitioners have withdrawn their petitions in frustration. Our L1 visa lawyer can help you to clearly and smoothly navigate your L1 visa case. If you are an L1, we can also help you with L1 visa extension or to pursue your green card options.Contact us now for more information.