L-1A Visa Introduction
The purpose of L-1A is to enable qualified multinational corporations to easily transfer a foreign executive or manager to a related entity in the U.S.
The purpose of L-1A is to enable qualified multinational corporations to easily transfer a foreign executive or manager to a related entity in the U.S. To qualify for an L-1A petition, the employer must typically show the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that the foreign national employee will begin working as a manager or executive in the U.S. as soon as they are transferred from their foreign company to the U.S. company.
Most multinational companies with operations both in the U.S. and overseas can qualify their senior leaders for the L-1A as long as they meet the statutory criteria. For companies with no well-established branch or U.S. entity, the U.S. has special rules in place if the U.S. petitioning employer is opening a new office.
Establishing New Offices
To transfer a senior manager or executive employee to the U.S. to establish a new office, the sponsoring employers must demonstrate that they have a physical location for the office in the U.S, which has sufficient space for the proposed hires. The employee being transferred needs to hold an executive or managerial position continuously for at least one year in the three years before filing the petition. The new office will need to support an executive or managerial position within one year of the petition's approval.
U.S Employer Requirements:
There must be a qualifying relationship between the U.S.-based employer and its foreign parent, subsidiary, or affiliate office in the foreign country where the applicant is employed. This demonstrates that the ownership or organization relationships between the two entities are properly related.
Additionally, the company must conduct business in the U.S. and at least one foreign nation during the visa holder's whole time in the U.S.
The applicant for an L1A visa must have worked for the foreign employer for at least one continuous year within the previous three years prior to being admitted to the U.S.
In addition to the one-year requirement, the applicant's employment for the foreign company must have been in a senior managerial or executive capacity. The employee who is transferred to the U.S. must be coming to the U.S. to work as a senior manager or executive for the U.S. employer.
Period of Stay
An initial L-1A petition is given for a maximum initial stay of three years. If you are coming to the U.S. to open a new office for your overseas company, the initial period of stay is for a maximum of one year. Unlike the L-1B visa, which is for workers with specialized knowledge and has a maximum stay of five years, the L-1A visa has a maximum stay of seven years. L-1A visa extension can be issued in two-year increments at a time.
L-1A Extension Process
Similar steps are taken to obtain an L-1A visa extension as you do to obtain the initial L-1 visa. Your employer must submit an I-129 on your behalf directly to USCIS. If you are also applying for any dependent family, you can do so at the same time you file the I-129 petition by filing form I-539 for any L2 dependent.
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