L1A visas enable companies to transfer professionals in managerial and executive positions from one of its foreign affiliate offices to an office in the U.S. If the company does not yet have an affiliate office established in the U.S., then the L1 visa allows the executive or manager to establish one for the foreign company.
The application for an L1 visa must be completed by the employer, not the employee.
In order to qualify for the L1 visa, both the employer and the employee must meet certain criteria.
The employer must:
- Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company
- Currently be, or will be, doing business as an employer in both the U.S. and a foreign country for the duration of the beneficiary’s (employee’s) stay in the U.S. under L1 visa status
According to USCIS, “Doing business means the regular, systematic, and continuous provision of goods and/or services by a qualifying organization and does not include the mere presence of an agent or office of the qualifying organization in the United States and abroad.”
The employee must:
- Have been working for the qualifying organization for at least one continuous year within three years immediately preceding his or her admission to the United States (admission to the U.S., not submission of L1 visa application.)
- Be seeking to enter the U.S. in an executive or managerial capacity for a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.
USCIS defines executive capacity and Managerial Capacity as follows:
Executive capacity generally refers to the employee’s ability to make decisions of wide latitude without much oversight.
Managerial capacity generally refers to the ability of the employee to supervise and control the work of professional employees and to manage the organization, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the organization. It may also refer to the employee’s ability to manage an essential function of the organization at a high level, without direct supervision of others. See section 101(a)(44) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, and 8 CFR 214.2(l)(1)(ii) for complete definitions.
If the employee will be establishing a new branch in the U.S., then the employer must also:
- Already have sufficient premises to house the new office
- Have or will have the required qualifying relationship to the foreign employer
- Have the financial ability to compensate the beneficiary (employee) begin doing business in the U.S. Evidence that is crucial to showing this includes:
o Size of the investment in the U.S.
o The organizational structure of both firms
o The financial size and condition of the foreign employer.
It is important to note that a salary must be paid to the employee, and the financial investment must be demonstrated when opening a new office in the U.S.
If you believe that you have an employee who qualifies for an L1 visa, then contact Boyer Law Firm, P.L. today.