How the L-1 Visa Benefits Companies of All Sizes
The L-1 Visa allows companies across the world to send the crucial personnel they need to open or expand their operations in the U.S. Learn what the L-1 Visa can do for your enterprise.
The Basics of the L-1 VisaThe L-1 Visa enables a U.S.-based employer to transfer an executive, manager, or employee with specialized knowledge from an affiliated foreign office * be it a subsidiary, branch, or joint partner * to an office in the U.S. It can also be utilized by a foreign company without an American presence to send an executive or manager to the U.S. to help establish an office. In either case, the U.S.-based entity can be different as far as goods and services, allowing companies to create or develop their U.S. office around a certain market.
This makes the L-1 Visa extremely versatile, whether it is helping foreign firms break into the large U.S. market, or helping U.S. firms draw from their talent abroad to develop their domestic operations. Companies large and small have a lot to gain from expanding or developing their presence across borders. Bear in mind that whether the U.S. office is already established or in the planning stage, it must be a legally registered business that is actively engaged in commercial activities.
Who Can Be Transferred Under the L-1 VisaNot just any employee can be transferred under the L-1 Visa. The personnel for whom you are applying must meet very specific criteria set forth by U.S. immigration authorities. They must be a foreign national who has worked for the business for at least one year out of the three years prior to applying for the L-1 Visa. They must also be either a manager, executive, or employee with *special knowledge,* which are defined as follows:
- A manager oversees and directs the work of other staff.
- An executive demonstrates a capacity to make important business decisions with broad discretion.
- An employee with specialized knowledge has information or skills that are pertinent to operations and success of the business.
Moreover, the L-1 Visa does not need to be limited to an individual employee: if developing a current office or launching a new one requires a team of managers, executives, and/or employees with specialized knowledge, you may be allowed to apply for a blanket petition for the entire team, provided you explain why each candidate is needed and what role they will play. There are stricter requirements for approval for blanket petitions, and smaller companies are usually disqualified from the process because of those restrictions, but our firm can help better your chances.