How to Establish an American Office With the L-1 Visa
The L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa allows for the transfer of certain classes of employees from foreign offices to U.S. counterparts with relative ease. Learn how the L-1 Visa can help you fulfill your business goals, and how Jurado & Farshchian immigration attorneys can help.
The L-1 Visa SubcategoriesDepending on the type of employee you plan to transfer, you will have to choose from two L-1 Visa subcategories:
- L-1A for executives and managers.
- L-1B for employees with specialized knowledge.
You should think carefully about what skill set or experience is needed to set up your U.S. office, since each subcategory has specific criteria for defining who is a manager, executive, or employee with specialized knowledge.
For example, to qualify for the L-1A Visa, the candidate must either have duties overseeing and directing other employees (manager) or must have wide latitude to make business decisions (executive), while an L-1B Visa candidate must demonstrate skills or knowledge that is pertinent to the business (such as of its goods, services, operations, equipment, etc.).
Both subcategories require that the candidate had previously served in the same capacity for one continuous year within the last three years prior to applying.
The L-1 Visa Blanket PetitionIf your U.S. office needs an entire team of personnel to help establish it, you have the option of submitting blanket petition. Unlike a L-1 Visa for an individual * which requires an application from the candidate as a well as a petition from the U.S. employer * the blanket petition is far simpler and more affordable, requiring each employee to present a copy of the blanket petition and some supporting documents, rather than extensive information for each candidate.
The Duration of the L-1 VisaThe L-1A Visa is usually granted for at least one year initially, with extensions in two-year increments, for a total maximum of seven years. The L-1B Visa also has an initial duration of up to one year, although its maximum extension is five years.