US Immigration Law
INTENDED PURPOSE OF VISA

The transfer of international managers, executives and persons with specialized knowledge from foreign companies to their related companies in the United States.

VISA TERMINOLOGY

L-1 (INTERCOMPANY TRANSFER VISA)
L-1A (Intercompany Transfer of Managers or Executives)
L-1B (Intercompany transfer of persons with specialized knowledge)

IN ORDER TO QUALIFY

  1. The applicant must have worked for the foreign company in an executive, a managerial or a position of specialized knowledge for at least one full time year in the past three years. These definitions can be strict. Please consult the attorney to see whether your experience qualifies.
  2. A related company in the U.S. must exist or be established. The company can be a subsidiary (the foreign company owns all or most of the shares of the U.S. company), or a parent company (the U.S. company owns all or most of the shares of the foreign company), or an affiliate (the same people or entities must own and control both companies with approximately the same proportion of shares held in each), or a branch (different office locations of the same company).
  3. The foreign company must actively be carrying on business and must have other employees to assume the role of the applicant while he or she is on assignment in the United States.

LENGTH OF VISA

This visa is valid for between one and three years with extensions possible in two-year increments after the initial stay. The maximum stay for managers or executives is seven years. It is five years for employees with specialized knowledge. The initial stay is one year in the case of a new U.S. company and three years in the case of a U.S. company that has been conducting business in the United States for at least one year at the time of application.

ITEMS NEEDED

The following list contains items that are recommended and generally included in this type of application. Not all items may apply to your particular situation. In addition, you may have items and materials that would support your application that are not listed here. You should consult with the attorney to be certain:
  1. Documents Regarding the U.S. Company

    1. Articles of incorporation and corporate resolutions
    2. Share certificates
    3. Lease for business space
    4. Photographs of business space

      (Please note that if a U.S. Company does not currently exist, the attorney can prepare the necessary documents to establish a new corporation.)


      (The following items only apply to U.S. businesses that currently exist and are operating. The items are not necessary in the case of an L-1 visa based upon a new company situation.)

    5. Corporate financial statements
    6. Corporate tax returns
    7. Corporate bank statements for the past three months
    8. Title to company owned property
    9. Payroll report for company’s employees
    10. Promotional materials
    11. Several invoices to customers
    12. Several invoices for goods or services purchased by company

  2. Documents Regarding the Foreign Company

    1. Articles of organization including share designation
    2. Corporate financial statements
    3. Corporate tax returns
    4. Corporate bank statements for the past three months
    5. Title to company owned property
    6. Lease for business premises
    7. Payroll report for company’s employees
    8. Letter from company president as evidence of applicant’s employment
    9. Description of beneficiary's job duties abroad (including the titles of employees supervised)
    10. Promotional materials
    11. Photographs of company premises
    12. Several invoices to customers
    13. Several invoices for goods or services purchased by company

  3. General documents

    1. Copy of the alien’s passport
    2. Alien’s resume as evidence of business background

PROCEDURE

If the applicant is lawfully present in the United States, he or she may be able to apply for a change to L-1 status at one of two regional Service Centers that processes these cases of US Immigration (USCIS). The location, of course, will depend upon the location of the U.S. Company. This process is handled entirely by mail and no appearance by the applicant is necessary. If the applicant is outside of the U.S., the application is still processed at a Service Center. When it is approved, though, notification is sent to the U.S. Consulate in the country of the applicant’s residence. There, the process is relatively straightforward to obtain the visa to enter the U.S. in L-1 status.

ADVANTAGES

The L-1 is a non-immigrant visa. This means that it has a definite duration and the applicant must either leave the U.S. upon conclusion or change to another appropriate visa status. In the case of the L-1A manager or executive, an application for permanent residence can be made after the U.S. Company has been in existence for at least one year. The requirements and items needed are nearly identical to that of the L-1A visa. Before attempting to apply for this status, please contact the attorney for an evaluation of your situation. Note that this option is not available to L-1B employees with specialized knowledge.