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L1 Visa Lawyer: Experts on Employee Transfers

For over 25 years, ILG’s L1 Visa Lawyers have been dedicated to providing strategic and robust legal representation for US immigration to clients worldwide. Every client and every case is of utmost importance to us, as we strongly believe in the significant benefits that immigration brings to the United States.

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What is an L1 Visa

L Visas are used by American employers to transfer their employees from related companies abroad to the US operations. One qualifies for an L-1 visa if you have been employed full-time, outside the US as a manager, executive (L-1A) or person with specialized knowledge (L-1B) for at least one of the last three years, and you are transferred to the US to be employed in a similar position. The US company to which you are transferring must be a branch, subsidiary, affiliate or joint venture partner of the non-US company.  The non-US company must remain in operation while you have the L-1 visa. Said company may be either a foreign division of an American-based company or it may have originated outside the US. Any form of business is adequate, including but not limited to corporations, LLCs, LLPs, partnerships, joint ventures and sole proprietorships.

There are two main types of L-1 visas:

  • L-1A Visa: Designed for employees in executive or managerial capacities, the L-1A visa enables the transfer of key personnel to the U.S. company’s main office. It also allows for the establishment of a newly established office, providing the opportunity to obtain permanent residency
  • L-1B Visa: Tailored for employees with specialized knowledge positions, the L-1B visa is suitable for those transferring to the U.S. to work in a capacity that requires unique skills or expertise. This includes positions crucial for the success of the U.S. company, such as those in research, development, or technical roles.

Visa Requirements

Qualifying Relationship

Establishing a clear and recognized relationship between the foreign company and the U.S. entity is fundamental. The qualifying relationship could be in the form of a parent company, branch office, subsidiary, or affiliate connection. This relationship is a cornerstone for a successful L-1 Visa application.

Employment in Executive or Managerial Capacity

The L-1 Visa caters specifically to employees who will be working in an executive or managerial capacity within the U.S. company. This entails roles that involve decision-making at a high level and overseeing significant aspects of the organization.

Specialized Knowledge Position

Alternatively, employees with specialized knowledge critical to the company's product, services, or business transactions may also qualify for the L-1 Visa. This pertains to individuals possessing unique skills or expertise not readily available in the U.S. job market.

Time Requirements

To be eligible, the applicant must have been employed by the foreign company for at least one continuous year within the past three years. Additionally, the U.S. entity, whether it's a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate, must have been in operation for at least one year.

Visa Application Process

Start Your Application

Begin your L-1 Visa process by submitting the Form I-129 petition to the USCIS. This foundational step sets the stage for your visa application. To expedite the process, consider opting for premium processing, ensuring a quicker turnaround and timely commencement of your U.S. venture.

Documentation Reinforcement

Strengthen your petition by providing thorough documentation that verifies the eligibility of both your U.S. and foreign companies. This step is critical to ensure that your application aligns with the necessary qualifying criteria. To navigate this process with confidence, consider leveraging the expertise of immigration services for meticulous preparation.

Anticipate Approval

Once you've submitted Form I-129, patiently await USCIS approval. This approval is typically conveyed through Form I-797, a pivotal notice supporting the progress of your L-1 petition. This notice signifies a significant step forward in your visa journey, bringing you closer to realizing your goals in the United States. Stay informed and prepared for the subsequent stages of the process.

Note that applicants already in the U.S. during the I-129 filing can request a change in non-immigrant status, with L-1 Visa approval allowing dependents to apply for an L-2 Visa.

For those exploring a blanket L-1, the company must have three or more branches and meet specific criteria, such as 1,000 employees, annual U.S. sales of $25 million, or at least 10 approved individual L visa applications in the past twelve months.

Should your company meet these criteria, an L-1 Blanket Petition streamlines the process for multiple employees with a single petition.

Why ILG and How We Help

Navigating immigration law, especially concerning L-1 visas, can be complex. Here’s why engaging an experienced L-1 Visa attorney is crucial:

In-depth Knowledge of Immigration Law

An experienced L-1 Visa attorney specializes in immigration law, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the intricate legal nuances involved in the entire application process. This expertise is invaluable in crafting a robust application that meets all requirements. We are a DC Immigration Law firm with at least 20 years of experience in immigration law, knowing them inside and out.

Tailored Immigration Solutions for Your Unique Situation

Every L-1 Visa case is unique, requiring a personalized approach. An experienced immigration attorney assesses your specific circumstances, whether you’re establishing a new office, transferring employees, or seeking permanent residency. This tailored approach increases the likelihood of success.

Extensive Success Track Record

Glen Wasserstein is a Lawyer who has been interviewed by NBC, BBC and Fox News, frequently appearing on National Television on immigration matters. An experienced L-1 Visa attorney with a track record of success demonstrates their ability to navigate the complexities of the immigration landscape. This history of achievement instils confidence in clients seeking reliable immigration solutions.

Visa Documents

Preparing for an L-1 Visa filing demands careful documentation from both the foreign company and the beneficiary. Here’s a concise checklist of required documents:

Documentation for the Foreign Company

• Certification of Good Standing from your legal representative (anticipated by consular staff) Articles of incorporation
• Business license
• Income tax filings for the preceding three years
• Audited accounting reports (e.g., profit and loss statements, balance sheets)
• Organizational chart indicating employee numbers and the position of the transferee
• Company brochure or product introduction
• Documents reflecting business transactions (e.g., letters of credit, invoices)
• Bank statements or transaction records
• Company letterhead featuring the logo, name, and address
• Photographic evidence of the main office, factories, or buildings

Documentation for the L-1 Beneficiary

• Present passport
• Recent passport-size colored photograph
• Resume
• Diploma
• Form DS-160
• Original and photocopy of the interview appointment letter
• Demand draft for the visa issuance fee
• Employment verification letter from the foreign company
• Information about the U.S. company
• Bank records from the preceding six months
• Letter of reference from a colleague
• Board resolution or appointment documents confirming the transfer
• Physical copy and receipt number of the I-129 petition
• Any additional documents highlighting the transferee's business proficiency in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity.

Visa Duration

Visa Duration or Validity

The initial L-1 visa (for newly formed companies) is good for only one year, as the CIS wants to make certain that the company is still actively engaged in business. The visa can be extended for up to 7 years. After the first year of business, through our extension application, the CIS examines whether the business has developed enough so as the L-1A manager is only managing and supervising other professional employees, as opposed to performing the core tasks of the business.

Visa Renewal 

Extending your stay in the U.S. is a seamless process with L-1 Visa renewals. Businesses can benefit from the L-1 Visa's total duration of up to seven years. It's essential to note that renewals are contingent upon the continued need for the employee's services and their compliance with L-1 Visa regulations. While standard filing fees apply to L-1 Visa renewals, it's essential to be aware of any additional fees that may be associated with specific situations.

Client Reviews

What an amazing team to work with. SO grateful for Jen, Catherine and the whole team, who worked so hard and were so patient with us through this whole process of obtaining our green cards. They are truly experts and can be trusted without a doubt to help you with your immigration needs! Utmost professionals and a pleasure to work with.

Sarah C.

Immigration Law Group has a wonderful team of lawyers. They handled my h1b and permanent residence paperwork in a way that really made me feel comfortable and brought me peace through a very stressful time. they are on top of things and always answered my questions in a timely manner. I highly recommend them if you want to make sure everything goes perfectly.

Kiran M.

Everyone at Immigration Law Group, from the attorneys to support staff, have been nothing but helpful, well-informed, and courteous to me from the start until now. Jen, and Catherine in particular, have been super helpful in explaining complicated procedures and processes in easy to understand ways–yet not dumbing down to the level where they are leaving out important details. I feel confident and knowledgeable with ILG working on my case, and there’s a personal level of communication and trust, which also puts me at ease during a difficult and tricky process. I highly recommend Immigration Law Group–I’m so glad I found them!

Andrew O.

We are very satisfied with the Immigration Law Group and the services they had provided us so far. They have very capable staff that is always on top of our cases and help us navigate them successfully. We have had great success with all cases and their rates are very reasonable. They know Immigration law better than any other law firm we worked with. I would recommend them without hesitation!

Alina T.

L1 Visa FAQs

Yes, L-1 Visa holders can bring their spouse and unmarried children under 21 to the U.S. under the L-2 dependent visa category.

While the L-1 Visa itself does not directly lead to a Green Card, it can serve as a stepping stone. Employers may choose to sponsor L-1 Visa holders for a Green Card during their stay.

While there is no specific monetary requirement, establishing a new office may involve an initial investment to ensure the success and sustainability of the U.S. entity.

No, the L-1 Visa is specific to the sponsoring employer. If you wish to change employers, the new employer would need to file a new L-1 petition on your behalf.

As stated above, the L-1A visa is available for executives and managers of companies which transfer them to a US branch, subsidiary, affiliate or joint venture of that company. The L-1A applicant must show that they have worked for one of the last three years for the sponsoring company abroad.  The non-US company must remain in operation for the visa to be valid.

A key component to an L-1A filing is that the 1990 Immigration Act provided L-1A visa holders with a fast-track (EB-1) green card (US Permanent Residence). After 1 year of L-1A status (and an extension approval) for new businesses, or immediately upon L-1A approval for established businesses, we are entitled to file for permanent residence as an “international executive/manager”, (EB1) which is the highest category of permanent residence filing. This category does not require “labor certification”, which is the lengthy and complex part of the normal permanent residence process. The alien has an approved permanent residence petition approximately 8-12 months after filing. Other categories carry waits of 2-14 years. Accompanying relatives (defined as spouses and children under 21) are entitled to L-2 visas (which are work authorized for spouses only) and green cards. ​

We’re ILG, your Immigration Specialists

We Believe in Immigration. We ensure that all our clients get the best chance to a new life in the United States.