L-1A Visa for Intracompany Transferee Managers and Executives
Are you a foreign employer looking to open an office in the U.S. or expand an existing U.S. office by transferring an employee? Alcorn Immigration Law can help.
An L-1A visa enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its foreign offices to an existing office in the U.S.—or to set up one in the U.S.
The employer of the executive or manager seeking an L-1A visa must:
- Have a relationship with a foreign company, either parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate.
- Be or will be doing business as an employer in the U.S. and in at least one other country for the duration of the executive or manager’s stay in the U.S. under the L-1A visa.
- Be a continuous, viable business providing goods or services in the U.S.
- Show it has secured real estate if the executive or manager will be opening an office in the U.S., and that the U.S. office will support an executive or managerial position within one year of approval of the L-1A visa.
The L-1A candidate must:
- Have been working for the employer abroad for one continuous year within the past three years.
- Have an executive or managerial position in the U.S. with the same employer that has broad discretion to make decisions, little oversight, supervisory duties, or requires very specialized knowledge.
An employer must apply for an L-1A visa on behalf of the executive or manager. To apply, the employer must:
- File Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) and pay the filing fee to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Provide evidence and supporting documents that it and the executive or manager meet the eligibility requirements above.
Eligibility for Family
An employee transferring to the U.S. may be accompanied or followed by her or his spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21. These family members are eligible for L-2 visas, and if approved by USCIS, will be granted the same period of stay as the L-1 holder.
If family members are already in the U.S., they may apply for L-2 visas using Form I-539, (Application to Change/Extend Nonimmigrant Status).
The spouses of L-1 visa holders may apply for a work permit by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
Organizations may be eligible for blanket L certification before filing for any individual L-1A petitions. An employer’s blanket L certification does not guarantee an employee will be granted an L-1A visa. However, a blanket L enables the employer to transfer employees to the U.S. quickly on short notice. To qualify, organizations must:
- Be engaged in commercial trade or services.
- Have an office in the U.S. that has been doing business for one or more years.
- Have three or more U.S. and foreign branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates.
- Meet at least one of the following:
- Have at least 10 L-1A or L-1B approvals during the past 12 months.
- Have U.S. subsidiaries with combined annual sales of at least $25 million.
- Have at least 1,000 employees in the U.S.
To apply for a blanket L, an organization must submit a statement signed by a company official describing the ownership and control of the organizations included in the blanket petition and supporting evidence.
If approved, the employer will receive a notice, which must be included with the executive or manager’s L-1A application. Once a blanket petition has been approved, the employer needs to submit a Form I-129S (Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition). Usually, the executive or manager may come to the U.S. one week after Form I-129S is filed.
In most cases, once the blanket petition has been approved, the employer need only complete a Form I-129S, Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition, and send it to the employee along with a copy of the blanket petition Approval Notice and other required evidence, so that the employee may present it to a consular officer in connection with an application for an L-1 visa.
We Can Help
At Alcorn Immigration Law, we assist companies in the U.S. and abroad in finding solutions, whether a company is looking to open a new office in Silicon Valley or needs to streamline the process for sending employees to the U.S. If you have any questions, contact us.