L-1 visas allow non-immigrant workers of an international company to temporarily relocate to the United States, provided certain conditions are met. He or she must have worked abroad for at least one uninterrupted year within the three years prior to admittance. It is a non-immigrant visa that is valid for a period that is determined by a reciprocity schedule. A qualified L-1 visa attorney can provide the details on what this means and what is not included. Note, too, that extensions are allowed, but keep in mind that a stay with this visa cannot be extended beyond seven years. According to www.immigrationhelpla.com, the applicant as well as the international company, must have at least one of the relationships with the United States office as outlined below:
- Parent and subsidiary;
- Brand and headquarters;
- Sister companies owned by a mutual parent; or
- “Affiliates” owned by the same groups or people with similar percentages
It can be an exhausting process, so it’s important to get the application right and filed in a timely manner. This way, there will be fewer interruptions in the work history and fewer problems as the time draws near. Not only that, but there are actually two types of L-1 visas.
Executives and managers should apply for the L-1A visa. While they do this, workers who have specialized knowledge should apply for the L-1B visa. Remember, too, that a foreign employee with an L-1A visa can stay in the U.S. no more than seven years, those with an L-1B can stay no more than five years.
The website www.immigrationhelpla.com also notes that there are two processes for the L-1, though applicants will go through only one of these processes:
- Regular L-1 Visa: Each foreign employee of a company must individually apply for this visa and be approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Blanket L-1 Visa: An employer can qualify all of their employees if they meet certain requirements.
Remember too, that qualifying companies can be issued what’s known as an Intracompany Transferee visa. This means their employee is allowed the opportunity to secure “an L-1 visa just by providing a copy of the approved blanket petition in addition to documents that detail their qualifications for the position.”
Wondering what the process is? Here’s a brief breakdown, but again, a qualified L-1A visa attorney is always the best bet moving forward, especially considering the legalities associated with immigration. The employee must file a petition with the USCIS on Form I-129This begins the process to initialize the L-1 visa application process. This petition must be attached with supporting documentation showing the company and its American counterpart meets the requirements outlined above and otherwise required by immigration laws and regulations. Once approved, it’s at that time the USCIS grants the employee a Notice of Action, Form I-797 and then, it can be used as a supporting document for visa issuance at the jurisdictional US consulate or embassy.
While it can feel a bit tedious, it is important that it gets done right in order to prevent any problems moving forward. Get started today by contacting a L-1A visa lawyer.