L-1A Visa Options for Intra-Company Transferees
The L-1A visa – also known as the intra-company transferee – applies to executive managers or high-ranked managers within a foreign organization outside the U.S. These executive managers can be reassigned from their foreign company or employer to work in the U.S for a period not to exceed seven years in a branch office of the foreign company in the U.S.
Key requirements for the L-1A visa include:
- At least one continuous year of employment with the foreign company within the preceding three years
- A legal relationship between the foreign company and the U.S. entity, such as parent, affiliate, subsidiary, or branch
- Transferee must have direct management skills or hiring/firing authority over other employees
Accompanying Spouse and Children: The spouse and any unmarried children/minors are entitled to admission into the U.S. with an L-2 visa status. The spouse can obtain employment authorization during the entire period of their L-2 status.
Doing Business and Qualifying Relationships: The organization must be “Doing Business” through entities within both the U.S. and one foreign country that qualify under a “qualifying relationship” such as affiliate or branch. The definition of “Doing Business” means the continuous, systematic, and regular provision of goods and or services.
Qualifying for a Green Card: The L-1A has no annual limitations on the number of petitions that can be granted, unlike other petitions such as the H-1B. There are no specific wage requirements for L-1A employees. Although an L-1A applicant may qualify for a Green Card petition after one year, the U.S. Department of Immigration requires that the L-1A petitioner prove that this executive manager will depart the country after completing their temporary employment in the U.S.
New Office Requirements: For new offices, the following must be met to satisfy statutory requirements:
- Leasing or buying physical premises to house the new operation
- Securing enough financial support to sustain the new office
- A credible and well-structured business plan
- Ensure the office doesn’t require certain licenses or governmental approvals
- Obtain a federal employment number to facilitate opening bank accounts, hiring employees, etc.