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The L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa Eligibility
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If your business is looking to open a new branch in the United States or transfer an upper-level manager or executive to an already existing branch, the L-1 intracompany transferee visa may be the visa for you. THe L-1 visa is one of our favorite visas. Not only does it require a smaller investment than most visas, such as the E-2, but it also allows you to apply for a Green Card a year after moving to the U.S. and receive it a year after that.
Of course, there are requirements you have to meet in order to be eligible to apply for an L-1 intracompany transferee visa. Let’s go through the requirements one by one:
1.You must have been working in the company for a full year.
Before moving to the United States, you must have been working in a foreign country for your company for a continuous year. You don’t need to have been working full time, but on a regular basis for more than part time. If you’ve been working part time for several affiliated companies, you may be able to combine the part-time work to meet the one-year requirement. You must have worked for the full year within three years prior to submitting your L-1 intracompany transferee visa.
We understand this requirement is not possible for everyone to meet. If not, an E-2 treaty investor visa may be the better choice of visa for you. Feel free to give us a call at (877) 233-4684 if you have any questions.
2. You must be working in a high-level position for the company.
You must have been an executive or high-level manager of the company while abroad. As an alternative, you may have been a worker with specialized knowledge. You do not have to be transferring into the exact some position you held while abroad, but you must continue to work in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge position.
An executive refers to someone who oversees the managerial positions in a company, often the brains or direction of the enterprise. A high-level manager refers to someone who manages an entire department or firm, supervising other professionals, supervisors, or managers in the company. This person should have the power to hire and fire personnel.
There are two types of specialized knowledge applicable: 1. an employee who has a complex understanding of the way the company operates, or 2. an employee who has specialized knowledge about the company’s product/service(s), research/equipment, or methods and how they work in international markets.
Important Note: A manager or executive of a company will be able to remain in the United States up to 7 years. A person with specialized knowledge will be limited to a total of 5 years and also be unable to obtain an EB1 or EP1 Green Card.
3. You must be transferring or opening a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate office.
This means the office or location in the U.S. must have the same owner as the office where you were working in while abroad. However, it is not required to be the same type of company. For example, you could open a software consulting firm in Los Angeles and own a pub in London. As long as you possess ownership of both companies, you would be eligible for an L-1 intracompany transferee visa.
Another important note: your foreign company must continue to operate after you move to the United States. You can’t shut down the company once you re-locate.
4. A sufficient amount of physical space must be purchased for the office or location in the U.S.
A home office does not count as an office space under the conditions of the L-1 intracompany transferee visa. The new or existing branch, subsidiary, or affiliate office must reside in an executive building and there must be an appropriate amount of space for the business.
5. If you are opening a new office, it must be actively operating within 1 year of the L-1 visa request.
If you are an executive or upper-level manager opening a new branch, subsidiary, or affiliate office within the United States, you have one year in order to get your new business up and running. After one year, the L-1 intracompany transferee visa may be renewed if you can prove that your office is active and operating. This may include hiring on additional employees, producing a strong stream of revenue, or fulfilling contract orders.
A few other additional requirements for L-1 intracompany transferee visa eligibility:
- You must intend to depart from the United States once your L-1 intracompany transferee visa expires. (However, you do have the option to apply for a Green Card to stay in the country once you’ve held the L-1 visa for at least one year.)
- You, the employee, must be qualified for your company position through past education or business experience.
In order to apply for an L-1 intracompany transferee visa, you will need the following documentation:
- Non-immigrant visa application.
- One recent passport photo.
- A passport valid for at least six months beyond the period of time the L-1 intracompany transferee visa will be valid.
- L-1 Approval Notice
- A copy of the L-1 visa application already filed with USCIS.
- Documents proving there is a corporate relationship between the U.S. and foreign countries.
- Documents proving your eligibility as an executive, upper-level manager, or employee with specialized knowledge.
- Any other documents supporting your L-1 visa case.
If you have any questions about the required documentation or the application process for the L-1 intracompany transferee visa, feel free to give us a call at (877) 223-4684. You may also learn more about the L-1 intracompany transferee visa’s eligibility requirements on the official website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Have more questions, or ready to get started? Give us a call today for a consultation!
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