L-1 Visa for Executive, Manager and Specialized Knowledge Employee
L-1 Nonimmigrant Visa allows a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager or an employee with specialized knowledge relating to the company’s business interests from one of the employer’s affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. For the foreign companies that do not have an affiliated office in the United States, the L-1 Nonimmigrant Visa allows the foreign company to send an executive, manager or a specialized knowledge employee to the United States for the purpose of setting up an affiliated U.S. office. The foreign company can invest in an affiliated office in the United States and send a foreign employee to work for the new U.S. office on an executive, managerial or specialized position, including the Investor or Entrepreneur.
There are two types of L-1 Visas – L-1A for executives and managers and L-1B for employees with specialized knowledge. The L-1A classification is for foreign citizens coming to the United States temporarily to perform services in a managerial or executive capacity and L-1B classification is for foreign nationals coming to the United States temporarily to perform services that require specialized knowledge. Specialized knowledge is either: (a) special knowledge of the petitioning employer’s product, service research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets or (b) an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the employing organization’s processes or procedures.
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The L-1 Visa was initially intended and designed for large corporations to help facilitate easy transfer of employees from abroad to the United States. However, the L-1 Intracompany Visa also provides small and medium-sized companies with an opportunity to expand their business and service to the United States.
In order to be eligible to apply for an L-1 Visa for Executive, Manager or Specialized Knowledge Employee, the U.S. employer must meet certain minimum requirements including:
- The US-based employer must have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company. The foreign company must be a qualifying organization including a parent company, branch, subsidiary or affiliate of the U.S. employer.
- The employer must be doing business or will in the future conduct business in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the L-1 employee’s stay in the United States.
- The foreign company must have been employed the executive, manager or specialized knowledge employee for at least one (1) year within the three (3) years preceding his or her admission to the United States.
In addition to the requirements above, foreign employers seeking to send an employee to the United States as an executive or manager to set up a new office, must also meet the following requirements:
- The employer must have secured sufficient physical premises to house the new office.
- The employee was employed abroad as an executive or manager for one (1) year within the three (3) years immediately preceding the application.
- The intended U.S. office will support an executive or managerial position within one year of the approval of the petition.
The beneficiary of an L-1 Visa can move to the United States to live and work temporarily together with their spouse and children. The spouse is eligible to work in the United States and children can attend school.
Qualified employees entering the United States on an L-1 Visa to establish a new office can be granted a maximum initial stay of one (1) year. All other L-1 Visa qualified employees are allowed a maximum initial stay of three (3) years. After the initial period if over, the L-1 Visa can be renewed for two years at a time. The maximum period of stay on an L-1 Visa status for a Manager or Executive is seven (7) years, while for a Specialized Knowledge Employee is five (5) years.
The L-1 Nonimmigrant Visa is a dual intent visa and L-1 Visa holders can pursue lawful permanent resident status (Green Card) during their stay in the United States.
How to apply for L1 visa? To apply for an L1 visa, the company must file the application with USCIS together with all credible evidence to show that the company and the employees are eligible for L1 visa. If USCIS approves the L1 visa petition, it will issue a notice of action that can be used to apply for a visa at the US Consulate or Embassy in the beneficiary’s home country. If the beneficiary of an L1 visa application, is in the United States, then he or she does not need to go through consular processing but instead has to apply for change of status with USCIS while on US territory.
The processing time for L1 visa at USCIS varies depending on USCIS service centers that processes the L1 application – the California Service Center or the Texas Service Center – which in turn depends on the petitioning company’s primary office location. For example, if the primary office of the company applying for L1 visa is in Miami, Florida, then the application must be sent to the California Service Center. Generally, regardless of the service center, standard processing time for L1 visa is 4 to 6 months, with many attorneys accounting for 6 months when considering processing time.
Canadian citizens, who are exempt from the L-1 visa requirement, may present the completed application form and supporting documents 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.
In addition, L1 visa applications are eligible for premium processing. With premium processing, the processing time for USCIS to review and make a decision on the L1 visa application is 15 calendar days (instead of an average of 6 months) from the date the application was received. The premium processing service for L1 visa is available to applicants for an additional fee.
For more information about the L-1 Visa for Executive, Manager or Specialized Knowledge Employee to speak to our experienced business immigration lawyers in Miami, Florida, contact us now, your Miami L-1 Visa Attorney. We speak Romanian, Bulgarian, Russian and French.
Malescu Law P.A. – Business & Immigration Lawyers
Areas of Practice
- Avocat Viză SUA
- B1/B2 Visa Extension Services
- Complex Business Litigation
- Corporate Law
- Employment Visas
- Engagement Letter Trademark
- Engagement Letter Visa Ext
- International Business Transactions
- Investor Visas
- Mergers and Acquisitions
- Outside General Counsel
- Trademark applications