Success! We recently had an L1A Visa for New Office Approved for the CEO of a small recruitment company in Florida with offices in Estonia. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approved the L1 visa for 1 year, the maximum period allowed for a new office.
USCIS approved the L1 for new office in this case after issuing a Request for Further Evidence (RFE). The RFE raised various issues and requested additional evidence to prove:
- Beneficiary’s employment abroad in an executive position
- Whether the US company has secured sufficient physical premises in the United States
- Whether the US company will support an executive position within one year of the L1 visa for new office approval
- The size of the investment in the United States and financial ability to pay the foreign employee
- Additional evidence if beneficiary is owner or major stockholder of the foreign company
The overall processing time for the L1 visa was 4 months. USCIS approved the case within 5 days after receiving the response to RFE.
Sufficient physical premises to house the new office
The immigration officer in the RFE claimed that the company did not secure sufficient space for the new office because the lease agreement did not cover the entire period requested. Despite the one-year lease term the company had in place, it did not cover the entire requested period, and the expiration date of the lease fell short of the one-year validity of the L1 visa status. This prompted the officer to conclude that the physical premises were not adequately secured. Additionally, the lease agreement was subject to automatic renewal.
Beneficiary is owner or major stockholder of the company
The immigration officer incorrectly asserted in the RFE that the Beneficiary, who was one of the owners of the foreign parent company, held the position of an owner or major shareholder and was therefore subject to a heightened burden of proof. The officer required the Beneficiary to provide additional evidence demonstrating their temporary presence in the United States. The immigration officer cited 8 C.F.R. 214.2(l)(3)(vii), which mandates that a majority shareholder must provide more substantial proof that their services are temporary and that their assignment abroad is of a limited duration.
Despite holding an ownership interest in the foreign company, the Beneficiary held a minority stake in the company and was not subject to additional requirements applicable to majority shareholders. As a result, they did not need to furnish additional evidence to support their temporary presence in the United States.
US company will support an executive position within one year
In the RFE the immigration officer requested additional evidence to show that the US company will support an executive position within one year of the L1 approval. The company successfully addressed this concern by showing that the CEO’s responsibilities would be supported by a team of employees from their foreign parent company.
Our experienced L1 visa lawyer was able to assist the client with successfully responding to the RFE by devising a case strategy, making legal arguments based on the current law, precedent case law and USCIS regulations and policies, advising client how to implement recommendations and providing general support.
The L1 Visa is a dual intent nonimmigrant visa that allows foreign businesses, investors and entrepreneurs who want to expand their operations in the United States to send an executive, manager or specialized knowledge employee to establish an office in the US.
The L1 Visa also allows US companies to transfer an executive, manager or employee with specialized knowledge from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. Multiple entries into the US are permitted on an L1 Visa. The initial L1 Visa for Canadian citizens can be processed directly at a port of entry or preclearance locations. To find out more about this topic visit our L-1 visa for Canadians page here. The L1 can apply for EB-1C green card if requirements are met.
Malescu Law can assist
Malescu Law P.A. – Business Lawyers