Genesis Law Firm represents clients in all kinds of employment-based immigration matters, including the L-1 non-immigrant visa category.
The L-1 non-immigrant visa provides an “immigration-like” option for foreign nationals who have companies in their home countries and who want to start a new affiliate, branch or subsidiary office in the U.S. This visa category also enables U.S. companies to bring existing foreign employees to the U.S. for multi-year projects, or simply to try out life in America for several years.
To qualify for an L-1 visa, the following basic requirements must be met:
(1) The employee must have continuously worked outside the U.S. for a petitioning U.S. company or its affiliate for at least one of the past three years;
(2) The company abroad for which the employee works is related to the U.S. company in the correct way;
(3) The employee being transferred to the U.S. affiliate is currently working in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity abroad and will be working in such a capacity in the U.S.-based affiliate;
(4) If the foreign national is exposed to technology that is controlled under federal law, an export control license must have been obtained;
L-1 visas come in two categories: (1) L-1A visas for managerial or executive-level employees, and (2) L-1B visas for employees with specialized knowledge. The L-1A visa is slightly preferable to the L-1B counterpart as the L-1A visa type allows its recipients to remain in the U.S. for seven years as opposed to five. At the expiration of either time limitation, both types of visa holders can often apply for a change of status and remain in the U.S. for a longer period under a different visa classification, if so desired. In some cases, lawful permanent residence may also be sought.
If the alien who qualifies for L-1 status is already in the U.S. in a different non-immigrant category, the alien may be able to apply for change of status as opposed to leaving the U.S. to apply for the L-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad. For example, many times B-1 business visitors enter the U.S. for the purpose of setting up a new office for their foreign-based company. Once the new office has been set up the alien may be transferred to the new office in an executive or managerial capacity to oversee the creation of the new office. Thus, a change of status from B-1 to L-1 is permissible. It is important for the alien to change status before her I-94 expires. If the L-1 petition is filed before the I-94 expires, but the I-94 expires while the employee is waiting for the petition to be approved, she will be “out of status,” but will not accrue “unlawful presence” under INA Section 212(a)(9)(B). USCIS, as a matter of discretion, may (but not necessarily will) defer any removal proceedings until after the petition is adjudicated. If your change of status is approved, your status while waiting for adjudication will be considered lawful. If, however, your application is denied, you may be required to leave the U.S. immediately.
The typical procedure for applying for an L-1 visa includes the filing of the following: (1) Form I-129; (2) L Classification Supplement to Form I-129; (3) the petitioning company’s letter supporting the petition, and documents supporting the petition; and (4) the appropriate government filing fees.
We encourage you to contact Genesis Law Firm to learn more about this and other immigration opportunities. The attorneys at Genesis Law Firm enjoy top credentials and provide superior legal counsel for substantially less than many comparably-skilled attorneys elsewhere. Free Mandarin Chinese interpretation available upon request.