Rudikh & Associates LLC, is a New Jersey based Law Firm that specializes in employment and business related visas. We assist organizations around the world in obtaining flawless and safe transfers of employees working outside the United States to apply and receive L-1 visas and come to the United States on intra-company transferee status. Contact us to schedule an appointment and discuss an L-1 visa and other employment visa options.
L-1 visa, L-1A visa, and L-1B visas for managers, executives, and specialized knowledge workers
U.S. businesses and organizations with operating facilities in foreign countries may petition a manager, executive, or other worker with specialized knowledge to be transferred to a U.S. facility through the L-1 intra-company transferee visa process. There are many advantages to having an employee apply for an intra-company transferee visa, as opposed to other types of employment visas. Primarily, there is no limit to the number of L-1 visas that are issued every year. An entity only has to demonstrate an organizational need to place an existing foreign employee at a facility in the United States, without having to prove that an American national is not capable of filling the job. In addition, the employee may apply for permanent residency while in the United States on an L-1 visa, and getting a permanent status is often considered easier.
The requirements for an L visas
In order to qualify for L visa status, an applicant must have been employed by the parent U.S. entity or subsidiary in the foreign country for at least twelve months during the three year period immediate prior to filing of the L-1 visa. The entity does not have to be an incorporated business, and may include religious groups and non-profit organizations. There are special considerations for employees who have not continuously worked for the entity, or have worked a part of the time in the United States within a three-year period. Rudikh & Associates LLC can clearly explain the subtleties of L-1 visa law when we meet for a consultation. In addition, the U.S. entity and the foreign operation for which the applicant is employed must share a common owner. The rules in this area can be quite complex, as there are special considerations for organizations in which an owner does not control a majority of the entity.
The employee must intend to leave, but may apply for permanent status
L visas are considered temporary work visas, and the applicants must be willing to state that they intend to return to their home country at the conclusion of the visa period. Despite this, L-1 visa status is considered to be one of the less complicated platforms from which employees may gain permanent residence status. Executives and managers may stay in the United States for up to seven years on an L-1 visa. Specialized workers may remain at the U.S. facility for up to five years. During that time, employment, operational, and even family needs may be used as a legitimate reason to secure permanent residency.
Period of Stay
Qualified employees entering the United States to establish 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 an additional two years, until the employee has reached the maximum limit of seven years.
Family of L-1 Workers
The transferring employee may be accompanied or followed by his or her spouse and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. Such family members are called dependents. Such family members may seek admission in L-2 nonimmigrant classification and, if approved, generally will be granted the same period of stay as the employee. If these family members are already in the United States and seeking change of status to or extension of stay in L-2 classification, they may apply collectively, with fee, on Form I-539. Dependents of L-1 workers may apply for work authorization by filing Form I-765 with fee. If approved, there is no specific restriction as to where the L-2 dependents may work.
Documents Required for L-1 Application
As immigration lawyers, one area in which we focus is ensuring that all documents are in order when someone is applying for an L-1 visa. Some of the necessary documents for applying for an L-1 visa after the L-1 petition has been approved are the following:
- Form DS-156
- A recent passport photograph showing the applicant’s full face. This is taken against a light background and there can be no head covering.
- A passport that’s valid for travel in the U.S. for at least six months past the termination date of the applicant’s visit.
- Employee’s copy of USCIS Form 1-797 Approval Notice.
- Copy of USCIS Form 1-129, which is the Petition for a Nonimmigrant visa, and supporting documents. This form is filed with the USCIS by the applicant’s employer.
The L-1 Petition
This petition is used by the USCIS to decide if the applicant meets the basic qualifications for the visa for which they are applying. As far as the L-1 visa is concerned, the USCIS will utilize the petition to determine specifically if the applicant possesses the training, experience and background to enter the country in the capacity of a manager, executive or skilled and knowledge worker.
Thus, this petition outlines all of the important information as it pertains to the applicant’s past employment, expertise and education.
Information Required with the L-1 Petition
Along with the petition, applicants must submit a letter from their company that at a minimum attests to the following:
- Length of time with the company, positions held and present employment.
- A statement describing what position the applicant will hold in the U.S.
- An acknowledgment that the company knows of the applicant’s transfer to the U.S. and has approved it.
- The document must also contain the U.S. company’s full legal name and address. If the applicant will be at more than one location then all of the addresses involved must be listed.
- An explanation of the need for the transfer
- The document must be signed.