L1 Visa: Visas For Employees of Foreign Companies

What is an L1 Visa?

An L-1 visa is a type of nonimmigrant visa that allows foreign workers to enter the United States to work in a managerial or executive capacity, or to work in a position that requires specialized knowledge, for a company that has a parent, affiliate, or subsidiary company in the United States.

The L-1 visa is available to employees of international companies who are being transferred to the United States to work in a related company. The visa allows the employee to work in the United States for up to five years.

To qualify for an L-1 visa, the employee must have been working for the international company for at least one year in the three years preceding the application. The employee must also be coming to the United States to work in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge position.

The L-1 visa allows the employee to bring their spouse and children under the age of 21 to the United States on an L-2 visa. The spouse of an L-1 visa holder may also be eligible to apply for work authorization in the United States.

It is important to note that the L-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa, which means that it is temporary and does not lead to permanent residency in the United States. The employee must return to their home country when their L-1 visa expires.

What is the difference between an L1A and an L1B visa?

The L-1A and L-1B visas are types of nonimmigrant visas that allow foreign workers to enter the United States to work in a managerial or executive capacity, or to work in a position that requires specialized knowledge, for a company that has a parent, affiliate, or subsidiary company in the United States.

The main difference between the L-1A and L-1B visas is the type of position that the employee will be working in.

The L-1A visa is for employees who will be working in a managerial or executive capacity in the United States. To qualify for an L-1A visa, the employee must have been working for the international company in a managerial or executive capacity for at least one year in the three years preceding the application.

The L-1B visa is for employees who will be working in a position that requires specialized knowledge. To qualify for an L-1B visa, the employee must have specialized knowledge of the company’s products, services, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the company’s processes and procedures.

Both the L-1A and L-1B visas allow the employee to bring their spouse and children under the age of 21 to the United States on an L-2 visa. The spouse of an L-1 visa holder may also be eligible to apply for work authorization in the United States.

What is the process to obtain an L1 Visa?

Pre-filing stage: The first step in the process is to determine whether you are eligible for an L-1 visa. To be eligible, you must be an employee of an international company that has a parent, affiliate, or subsidiary company in the United States. You must also be coming to the United States to work in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge position.

  1.  Filing the petition: If you are eligible for an L-1 visa, the next step is for your employer to file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The petition must include evidence of your employment with the international company, as well as evidence of the relationship between the international company and the U.S. company.
  2. Consular processing: If the petition is approved, the next step is for you to complete consular processing. This involves making an appointment at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country to have your visa application processed. You will need to bring certain documents with you to the appointment, including your passport, Form DS-160, and a copy of your approved petition.
  3. Interview: At the visa interview, a consular officer will review your application and ask you questions about your employment and the purpose of your trip to the United States. You may also be required to provide biometric information, such as fingerprints.
  4. Visa issuance: If your visa application is approved, you will be issued an L-1 visa. You can then use the visa to travel to the United States and begin working for the U.S. company.

It is important to note that the process for obtaining an L-1 visa can be complex, and it may take several months to complete. You should consult with an immigration attorney for more information about the process.

What evidence do I submit to USCIS to receive an L1A Visa?

To obtain an L-1A visa, you must first have your employer file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The petition must include evidence that you are an employee of an international company that has a parent, affiliate, or subsidiary company in the United States, and that you are coming to the United States to work in a managerial or executive capacity.

Here are some examples of evidence that you may need to submit to the USCIS as part of your L-1A visa petition:

  • Proof of your employment with the international company: This may include copies of your employment contract, pay stubs, and job description.
  • Evidence of the relationship between the international company and the U.S. company: This may include documents such as articles of incorporation, tax returns, and financial statements.
  • Proof that you have been working in a managerial or executive capacity for the international company: This may include copies of your job title, performance evaluations, and any awards or recognition that you have received.
  • Evidence that you have the necessary qualifications to work in a managerial or executive capacity in the United States: This may include copies of your educational transcripts, professional licenses or certifications, and any relevant work experience.

It is important to note that the evidence required for an L-1A visa petition may vary depending on your specific circumstances. You should consult with an immigration attorney for more information about the evidence that you will need to submit.

What evidence do I submit to USCIS to receive an L1B Visa?

To obtain an L-1B visa, you must first have your employer file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The petition must include evidence that you are an employee of an international company that has a parent, affiliate, or subsidiary company in the United States, and that you are coming to the United States to work in a position that requires specialized knowledge.

Here are some examples of evidence that you may need to submit to the USCIS as part of your L-1B visa petition:

  • Proof of your employment with the international company: This may include copies of your employment contract, pay stubs, and job description.
  • Evidence of the relationship between the international company and the U.S. company: This may include documents such as articles of incorporation, tax returns, and financial statements.
  • Proof that you have specialized knowledge of the company’s products, services, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the company’s processes and procedures: This may include copies of your educational transcripts, professional licenses or certifications, and any relevant work experience.

It is important to note that the evidence required for an L-1B visa petition may vary depending on your specific circumstances. You should consult with an immigration attorney for more information about the evidence that you will need to submit.

Can a company I own sponsor me for an L1 Visa?

Yes, it is possible for a company that you own to sponsor you for an L-1 visa. To qualify for an L-1 visa, you must be an employee of an international company that has a parent, affiliate, or subsidiary company in the United States, and you must be coming to the United States to work in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge position.

If you are the owner of the international company, you may be eligible to apply for an L-1 visa if you meet the above requirements. However, it is important to note that the L-1 visa is intended for employees of international companies who are being transferred to a related company in the United States, and it may be more difficult to demonstrate that you meet the requirements for an L-1 visa as the owner of the company.

To apply for an L-1 visa, your company will need to file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The petition must include evidence of your employment with the international company, as well as evidence of the relationship between the international company and the U.S. company.

It is important to carefully review the eligibility requirements for an L-1 visa and to provide all of the necessary documentation and evidence when applying for the visa. You should also consult with an immigration attorney for more information about the L-1 visa process and to ensure that you have a strong application.

What is better, an L1 Visa or H1B Visa?

The L-1 visa and the H-1B visa are both types of nonimmigrant visas that allow foreign workers to come to the United States to work. However, there are some key differences between the two visas that may make one a better option for you depending on your specific circumstances.

Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether to apply for an L-1 visa or an H-1B visa:

  • Purpose of the visa: The L-1 visa is for employees of international companies who are being transferred to a related company in the United States to work in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge position. The H-1B visa is for workers who have at least a bachelor’s degree in a specialized field and are coming to the United States to work in a position that requires that level of education.
  •  Duration of stay: The L-1 visa allows the employee to work in the United States for up to five years. The H-1B visa allows the employee to work in the United States for up to six years, but it may be possible to extend the visa for additional periods.
  • Family members: Both the L-1 and H-1B visas allow the employee to bring their spouse and children under the age of 21 to the United States on a dependent visa. The spouse of an L-1 or H-1B visa holder may also be eligible to apply for work authorization in the United States.
  • Path to permanent residency: The L-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa, which means that it is temporary and does not lead to permanent residency in the United States. The H-1B visa may be a stepping stone to permanent residency, as it allows the employee to apply for a green card while they are in the United States.

Ultimately, the decision of which visa is better for you will depend on your specific circumstances and goals. You should consult with an immigration attorney for more information about the L-1 and H-1B visas and which one may be the best option for you.

What is the denial rate for L1 visa applications?

It is difficult to determine an exact denial rate for L-1 visa applications, as the rate may vary depending on several factors, including the specific country, the company, and the individual circumstances of the applicant.

According to data from the U.S. Department of State, the overall denial rate for nonimmigrant visas, which includes L-1 visas, was about 10% in the fiscal year 2020. However, it is important to note that this is an overall denial rate, and the rate for L-1 visas specifically may be different.

In general, the denial rate for L-1 visas may be higher if the applicant or the company has a history of immigration violations, if the applicant does not meet the eligibility requirements for an L-1 visa, or if the petition is not properly documented.

It is important to carefully review the eligibility requirements for an L-1 visa and to provide all of the necessary documentation and evidence when applying for the visa. You should also consult with an immigration attorney for more information about the L-1 visa process and to ensure that you have a strong application.

How do I go from an L1 Visa to a Green Card?

Yes, an L-1 visa holder can apply for an EB-1 green card, which is a type of employment-based green card that allows foreign workers with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, or multinational executives and managers to live and work permanently in the United States.

To qualify for an EB-1 green card, you must meet certain eligibility requirements, such as having an extraordinary ability in your field, being a recognized researcher or professor, or being a multinational executive or manager. You should consult with an immigration attorney or a designated school official to determine if you are eligible for an EB-1 green card.

If you are an L-1 visa holder who meets the eligibility requirements for an EB-1 green card, you can apply for the green card by following the steps outlined in the previous answer. The process involves filing a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), waiting for the petition to be approved, and then filing for adjustment of status.

It is important to note that the process for applying for an EB-1 green card can be complex and time-consuming, and it may vary depending on your specific circumstances. You should consult with an immigration attorney for more information about the process and ensure that you have a strong application.

It is also important to explore the EB-2 and EB-3 categories.  Although the EB-1 category is the most natural for an L-1 to use for a green card, the other two categories may present you an opportunity to stay in the U.S. permanently.

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