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L-1 Visa – FAQ

What are the options for qualifying companies?

To qualify for L-1 status, the foreign (non U.S.) company for which the L-1 employee works must have a specific relationship to the prospective employer (petitioner) in the United States. The two companies must have common control.

In relation to the foreign (non U.S.) company, the petitioner (U.S. Company) must be one of the following:

Parent or subsidiary. USCIS recognizes four distinct business structures as subsidiaries. The common element in all four cases is control by the parent company of both the alien employee’s foreign employer and future U.S. employer.

1) Any legal entity of which a parent company owns, directly or indirectly, more than 50% and controls the entity.

2) A business owned 50% by a parent company with control of the entity.

3) A 50-50 joint venture directly or indirectly owned 50% by the parent company and equally controlled by the parent company, in which the parent company has veto power.

4) Any entity of which, directly or indirectly, a parent company owns less than 50% but over which the parent company exercises actual control.

Affiliate (includes partnerships organized in the U.S.). An affiliate is really a type of subsidiary. L-1 affiliates are usually either:

1) One of two subsidiaries of a common parent.

2) One of two entities owned by a common group of individuals. Each owner must own approximately the same share of each entity.

50-50 joint venture. Must be directly or indirectly owned 50% by the parent company and equally controlled by the parent company, in which the parent company has veto power.

Branch. Any office or division of the same organization located in another country is considered to be a branch.

What is the L-1A Visa?

The L-1A Visa is for Executives and Managers.

Executive:

To qualify as an executive, the alien employee’s primary functions should have included direction of the management of the entire organization or one of its major components.

The employee must have had broad discretion in decision making and have been subject to only general supervision by supervision by superiors.

Employees actually involved in the production of goods or services are not eligible. The employee must have supervised some staff. Executive capacity does not include those who perform high-level but personnel-remote functions.

An executive does not necessarily have to manage a large number, or tiers of employees. This fits into the description of manager.

Manager:

“Managerial” describes a position in which the alien employee directs the organization, a department, or a subdivision. The manager must have the authority to control, direct, hire, and fire other employees. He or she must have discretion over day-to-day operations.

The law excludes first-line supervisors, except for those in charge of professional-level workers. It excludes employees primarily responsible for production of goods or provision of services. The general rule is that a manager must direct other managers or supervisory-level personnel. If this requirement presents a problem, one alternative is to show that the manager supervises people who have specialized degrees at the bachelor’s level, required for their jobs.

Managers no longer need supervise layers of people if they are functional managers.

A functional manager is a person who is a senior person within the organization and/or who manages an essential function. These functional managers need not manage a department with employees. They may manage a function.

How can L-1A Visa holders apply for a green card (permanent residence)?

A benefit of being on an L-1A visa is the ability to apply for a Green Card (Permanent Residence), without going through the process of Labor Certification, after only one year in L-1A status.

However if you were a manager or executive with the overseas branch for one year, you do not have to be in L-1A status for 1 year to apply for the multinational executive green card unless you are starting a new company in the U.S.

What is the L-1B Visa?

The L-1B Visa is for specialized knowledge employees. L-1B visa applicants must have specialized knowledge of the company’s products or procedures.

Specialized-knowledge employees must have a detailed understanding of the company’s products / services and the international markets for those products / services, OR they have advanced knowledge of company processes and procedures.

It must be knowledge that can be obtained only through experience with that employer, such as experience with proprietary software or methodologies unique to the company, which is also important to the competitiveness of the company.

Knowledge which is widely held or related to common practices or techniques and which is readily available in the United States job market is not specialized for purposes of L classification.

The level of knowledge required and the employment of the specific alien must directly relate to the proprietary interest of the petitioner. To be proprietary, the knowledge must relate to something which relates exclusively to the petitioner’s business.

USCIS has identified the following characteristics of an employee with specialized knowledge, all of which should be present to ensure success. The L-1B beneficiary must:

1) Have knowledge that is valuable to the employer’s competitiveness in the marketplace.

2) Be especially qualified to contribute to the U.S. employer’s knowledge of foreign operation conditions.

3) Have been a key employee somewhere other than in the United States, with significant assignments that have enhanced the employer’s productivity, competitiveness, image, or financial position.

4) Have special knowledge that can usually be gained through extensive prior experience with the employer.

I am the President of a foreign (non U.S.) company. Can I open a U.S. subsidiary of my foreign based company and apply for an L-1A visa for myself?

Yes you can. The USCIS will initially approve your L-1A Visa for a period of one year. It can be renewed twice, 3 years at a time, for a total of 7 years. The USCIS will want to see evidence of a business plan including financial projections for both the U.S. subsidiary and the foreign parent company.

The L beneficiary who is coming to the United States to open a new office may be classified as a manager or executive during the one year required to reach the “doing business” standard if the factors surrounding the establishment of the proposed organization are such that it can be expected that the organization will, within one year, support a managerial or executive position.

The factors to be considered include amount of investment, intended personnel structure, product or service to be provided, physical premises, and viability of the foreign operation.

It is expected that a manager or executive who is required to open a new business or office will be more actively involved in day-to-day operations during the initial phases of the business, but must also have authority and plans to hire staff and have wide latitude in making decisions about the goals and management of the organization.

What documentation must I show to obtain the L-1A Visa for 1 year to open my branch office in the US?

Sufficient physical premises to house the new office have been secured (a lease for office space);

The beneficiary has been employed for one continuous year in the three year period preceding the filing of the petition in an executive or managerial capacity and that the proposed employment involves executive or managerial authority over the new operation (copy of foreign tax return);

Proof that the intended United States operation, within one year of the approval of the petition, will support an executive or managerial position (business plan);

The proposed nature of the office describing the scope of the entity, its organizational structure, and its financial goals (business plan);

The size of the United States investment (business plan);

The financial ability of the foreign entity to remunerate the beneficiary and to commence doing business in the United States (copies of foreign company bank statements);

The organizational structure of the foreign entity (organizational chart).

How much capital does the law require that I have for our new U.S. subsidiary?

    There is no set capital amount required by law. Whatever is normal for your industry is recommended.

Can my spouse and children work in the U.S. on the L-2 visa?

The L-2 spouse of an L-1 visa holder can obtain a general Employment Authorization. This employment authorization must be applied for separately using form I-765. Eligibility under 8 CFR 274a.12 is (A)(1)(8). The L-2 child is not permitted to work.

How does the petitioner (U.S. Company) prove the ownership relationship?

The shareholders’ register is the best way to show ownership, since it shows all outstanding shares. The shareholders’ register should be in the corporate Minute book. The updated shareholders’ register should be provided for each company in the ownership chain.

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Client Reviews

I've had the pleasure of conducting business with this law firm for the last 10 years. They have been nothing but the best for every aspect of immigration need I had. From F1 all the way to citizenship. They're probably the most affordable, knowledgeable, and most efficient immigration law firm out there. Plus, they always provide responses to questions in a very timely manner. Trust me, other immigration law firms will cost you an arm and a leg for the same or less of a service compared to this law firm. Give them a call, check out their website. You will not regret it.
Andy Glasgow
Andy Glasgow
17:26 27 Mar 17
Because of John and his team my wife and I were able to travel back to the states, get married and have a Green Card without any headaches. John’s efforts were amazing and it shows because my wife and I didn’t have to go to the Green card interview. We had a strong enough case to receive the Green card in the mail. If you’re seeking a Lawyer that will be impartial, he’s your guy.
T M
T M
19:18 23 Feb 17
Me & husband went through immigration process which thankfully was made easy with the help and services of Marc Tyler Inc. Our direct contact was John which i want to personally say Thank You ! The service provided was efficient, fast, affordable prompt answers in a timely fashion. I would recommend Marc Tyler Inc to anyone who need immigration done fast, easy, friendly & with no hidden charges.
Aleksandra Stoycheva
Aleksandra Stoycheva
15:27 26 Jan 17
I could not have asked for better service. I will definitely be coming back to get the green card process done. The fees are extremely reasonable and they stick with their clients the entire way. I had so many questions during this process, and each one of them were answered very quickly and with out most professionalism. This firm is a pleasure to work with and I highly recommend them to anyone.
bryan mowrey
bryan mowrey
06:41 25 Nov 16
Marc and John Dorer worked on our case to file for AOS after our L1A was approved.Marc and John are professionals and extremely reasonable-priced. The reason they are able to cut the price is because they don't spend time consulting you or guiding you and will never get on call.All communications are email only, so if you know precisely what you want they will do all the paper-work, follow the trail and get the job done. If you are confused and need advice and consulting, they may not be the right lawyers.But since we were doing our AOS, it worked out perfectly well and they did their job extremely professionally.Would recommend them every time to get the work done.
hardik parikh
hardik parikh
01:58 08 Feb 17
At first I thought I could have very well gone through the green card application process on my own and saved all lawyer fees. Its funny how some lawyers can charge in excess of 2K for this. However at Taylor and Associates the price seemed more reasonable and felt it made sense to go with one at that price. There were some doubts that arose in our mind which they cleared in a timely manner and seemed very knowledgeable in this area. Its for moments like these when having a professional around helps. While we can get busy with our lives and with laws constantly changing, I would definitely recommend them - a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Callistus Pereira
Callistus Pereira
17:51 06 Jun 17
I am US citizen. We hired Marc's firm for my wife's Green Card process, We are extremely happy with their services.They are one of the best service providers in the country. Price is very affordable. John is awesome. He responded to our queries on time with very useful information. We highly recommend this firm to anybody looking for affordable and the best immigration services. it was an awesome experience working with this team.
Narsimha M
Narsimha M
13:57 04 Aug 17
Mark and team went above all my expectations of an 'online' service agency I went in with very low expectations to match the low cost of the service and was amazed that the experience was no different than going through an expensive attorney. They were very prompt on responses, very patient and also very knowledgeable on every facet of the application (including a follow up checklist). I would highly recommend them considering the low cost they charge and the high risk we take by doing this ourselves
First Dhalsite
First Dhalsite
22:27 01 Sep 17
USVISANOW streamlined the paperwork which saved us so much time. This also reduced the stress involved in filling out the paperwork. They also are very understanding and respond very quickly to questions and emails. Jackline is now a US citizen which took less than 5 months. Thank you Mr. Taylor and your team. From Brian and Jacky.
Jackline Osero
Jackline Osero
17:32 12 Sep 17
The best law agency I have ever worked with. Very responsive, experienced. I trusted my green process to them and it was done perfectly without and issues in minimum possible period. Thank You Very much Marc, John and others!!!
Hrach Gyulzadyan
Hrach Gyulzadyan
16:38 30 Sep 17
My husband and I worked with John Dorer from Marc Taylor's office, and his services exceeded our expectations. He was very knowledgeable, responsive, and our Green Card process and interview from start to finish went smoothly. Thank you so much, John, for your dedication to our case and all your help. I would highly recommend USAVISANOW to all!
Sophia Nguyen
Sophia Nguyen
17:26 09 Oct 17
Marc and John helped me apply and get my green card. They are very specific about needed documents and other details. Also, they are very responsive when you have a question. I know I emailed them several times just to ask questions that I could have found answers online myself. They are very patient and professional. If you want to get great services with reasonable fees contact them!
Amin Bagheri
Amin Bagheri
11:54 12 Oct 17

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