L-1A is reserved to facilitate the transfer of employees within a company. This visa is referenced as intra-company transferees. This visa can be used by a small business or start-up in order to expand their company. This L-1A Intra-Company transferee under the Executive or Manager level allows a company’s parent or subsidiary abroad to transfer their executive or manager for the purposes listed below.
Requirements and Eligibility
An employer must:
- Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate, collectively referred to as qualifying organizations)
- Be doing business (or will be) as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the employees stay in the United States as an L-1.
- While the business must be viable, there is no requirement that it be engaged in international trade.
Doing business means the standard systematic and continuous provision of goods and/or services by a qualifying entity. It does not mean the mere presence of an agent or office of the qualifying entity in the United States and abroad.
An employee must:
- Be abroad for one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding his or her admission to the United States and have been working for a qualifying organization.
- Be providing executive or managerial duties to the branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations and seeking to enter the United States to render services in particular.
The definition of executive capacity means: the employee’s ability to make decisions based on a wide latitude of expectations. Managerial capacity means: the employee’s ability to supervise and control the work of other professional employees and to manage the organization, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the organization. It may also refer to the employee’s ability to manage an essential function of the organization at a high level without direct supervision.
Establishing a New Office
New offices being established by foreign employers seeking to send an employee to the United States as an executive or manager, must show the following:
- Sufficient physical premises to house the new office.
- The employee has been employed as an executive or manager for one continuous year in the three years preceding the filing of the petition; and
- The U.S. office must show support of the executive or managerial position within one year of approval of the petition.
Period of Stay
A maximum stay of one (1) year is allowed for employees entering the U.S. to establish a new office. Thereafter, all other employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of three (3) years. All other L-1A employees may be granted an extension of stay in increments of up to and additional two (2) years, until the employee has reached the maximum limit of seven (7) years.
Family of L-1 Workers
Spouses and unmarried children under age 21 may accompany the transferring employee. Such family members may seek admission in L-2 nonimmigrant categories, and if approved, will generally be granted the same period of stay as the employee.
If the family of L-1 workers are already in the United States, and seeking change of status or extension of stay, then they must all apply on Form I-539. Spouses may apply for work authorization permit by filing Form I-765. If approved, spouse may work in any field.