L-1A Executive/Manager Transfer
L-1A Visa: an executive or manager of a foreign company may be transferred to work at a U.S. company if a qualifying relationship exists between the two companies. Alternatively, an executive of a foreign company may be transferred to the U.S. to open a new U.S. based office for the foreign company.
General L-1A visa requirements:
Requirement 1. The executive employee must have worked abroad for the overseas company for a continuous period of one year in the preceding three years. Executive or manager of a foreign company may be transferred to an executive position in a US company if a qualifying relationship exists between the two companies. One such qualifying relationship is an affiliate
Requirement 2. The company for which the employee has worked for a year abroad must be related to the U.S. Company in a specific manner. (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate).
- A foreign parent must own at least 50% of a US subsidiary, and have veto powers over the subsidiary’s actions
- A US parent must own must own at least 50% of the foreign subsidiary, and have veto powers over the subsidiary’s actions
- Affiliate US and foreign companies must each be at least 50% owned by the same ultimate parent
- A US organization with a branch office abroad qualifies, as does a foreign organization with a US branch (though this must be more than simply an agent or representative)
Requirement 3. Position in the US must be executive or managerial in nature. In the US, the Executive must manage personnel and have executive authority over company policies and goals. USCIS will very carefully scrutinize the nature of the offered U.S. position.
Requirement 4. The transferring company must continue to do business abroad during the entire period of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States as an L-1 transferee. The foreign company cannot seize operations after the transfer of the executive or manager employee. USCIS will often question if the foreign entity is a large enough operation to function without the presence of transferred executive or manager.
Requirement 5. The executive or manager employee must be qualified for the position by virtue of his or her prior education and experience.
An foreign national may be admitted to the United States in L-1 status for the period of time required by the employer, up to a maximum initial period of stay of three years. The total period of stay may reach seven years for an L-1A beneficiary. A special one year initial period of stay applies when the alien is coming to the United States to open a new office. In this case an extension must be filed in one year, and in the extension, the company must establish that it has been doing business both in the U.S. and abroad during the year, before additional periods of stay will be approved.
At present, there is no annual cap on L-1 visas. Spouses and unmarried dependent children (under the age of 21) of the L-1 holder may apply for L-2 status. The L-1 visa is a temporary visa, and total period of stay may reach 7 years.
Note that a substantial amount of evidence will be required from both US and foreign companies to demonstrate eligibility for this visa category.
If you are contemplating an L-1A intracompany transfer, or if your company is looking to expand its business to the U.S., please contact us for an evaluation of your eligibility by clicking here.