L1 Manager or Executive

The United States has visas specifically for executives or managers of business entities. International companies that wish to transfer a manager or executives to the U.S. must obtain L-1A status. This classification enables foreign companies to conduct business or establish new offices in the United States.

If you wish to pursue an L-1A visa, you must file a Form I-129 or file for a blanket petition. Both processes can be complex and require important documentation. However, the assistance of an experienced attorney can significantly increase your chances of obtaining L-1A status. 

Attorney for L-1A Visas in The Woodlands, Texas

Do you wish to conduct business in the United States? Are you overwhelmed by the visa process and have no idea where to begin? If so, then it’s recommended you contact Luis F. Hess for trusted legal counsel. He has assisted many clients gain approval by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  

Attorney Luis F. Hess has a passion for immigration law. He thoroughly enjoys helping his clients who wish to start a company or grow their business in America. With Luis F. Hess on your side, rest assured you will have your immigration forms complete and processed correctly.

Call us today at (281) 205-8540 to schedule a free consultation. Luis F. Hess, PLLC accepts clients throughout the greater Montgomery County area including Shenandoah, The Woodlands, Conroe and Splendora.

Overview of L1 Visas in Texas


Qualifications for a L1 Visa in the U.S.

Both employer and employee must qualify to gain L-1A status. Employers who wish to gain L-1A status must:

  • Have a qualifying relationship with the international company;
  • Must currently or will be doing business as an employer in the United States;
  • Must be doing business in at least one other country; and
  • The business must be viable. 

A qualifying relationship can be a parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of a foreign company. The term “doing business” refers to a business’s regular, systematic and continuous provision of goods and services.

Employees who wish to gain L-1A status must:

  • Be generally working for the qualifying organization abroad for one year within three years before their admission into the United States; and
  • Must be seeking to enter the U.S. to work in an executive or managerial capacity for their employer. 

Executive capacity refers to an employee’s ability to make business decisions without oversight. The term managerial capacity means the employee’s ability to supervise and manage the work of a group of professionals. It can also refer to an employee’s ability to manage essential functions of the company at a high level without supervision.

Employers can also send managers or executives to establish new offices in the United States. This also comes with added qualifications for L-1A status. The employer must show:

  • They have secured sufficient physical premises to build or house a new office; and
  • The employee is an executive or manager for at least one continuous year within the three years of filing the petition.

L1 Visas and Form I-129

One way to obtain an L-1A visa is through a Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrants. The employer must file the petition every time a new manager or executive transfers to the U.S. A Form I-129 must contain specific documents for it to be viable. Employers must also pay a $460 processing fee.

The petition must be filed with:

  • Evidence that showing there is a qualifying relationship between the U.S. and the foreign employer.
    • Examples of viable evidence include articles of incorporation, financial statements, annual reports or copies of stock certificates.

  • Evidence that showing the employee has worked abroad in a managerial or executive position for at least one continuous year.
    • Examples of viable evidence include a letter from their employer that detailing the employee’s credentials, job duties and dates of employment.

  • A detailed description of the job’s duties and qualifications. The petition must also include evidence as to why the job is executive or managerial in nature. 

Employers who wish to establish a new office must also show the following. 

  • Evidence a sufficient premise was secured to house or build a new office;

  • Evidence the beneficiary has been employed for 1 continuous year in a 3-year period before filing the petition for nonimmigrants; and

  • The U.S. office will have an executive or managerial position within 1 year of the petition’s approval. This must be supported by the following:
    • Description of the proposed nature of the office including its organizational structure and financial goals;
    • The foreign company’s ability to remunerate the beneficiary and to still conduct business in the United States; and
    • The organizational structure of the international business or entity.

Blanket Petitions for L1 Visas

Most employers try to seek a blanket petition for L1 status. Blanket petitions are incredibly useful because the petition already establishes an intracompany relationship with the USCIS. If the blanket petition is successful, the employer will no longer have to file an I-129 every time a new employee travels overseas.

Only certain companies can qualify for a blanket petition. A foreign company is eligible for a blanket L petition if:

  • Both the employer and qualifying organizations are in commercial trade or services;
  • The employer has a U.S. office that has been doing business for one year or more;
  • The employer has three or more domestic and foreign subsidiaries, branches and affiliates; and
  • The employer meets the following criteria:
    • Obtained at least 10 L-1 approvals in the last year;
    • Have U.S. affiliates or subsidiaries with annual sales of at least $25 million; or
    • Have a workforce in the U.S of at least 1,000 employees. 

If the blanket L petition is approved, that doesn’t guarantee an employee’s L1 status. However, the employer can transfer eligible employees to the U.S quickly without having to file an I-129. Instead they will only need to complete the I-129S Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition.

The employer must send the executive or manager along with a copy of the blanket petition approval and other important documentation. The beneficiary employee will present the information to a consular officer with an application for an L-1 visa.


Can I Get L1 Visas for My Family?

Employees with L1 status may want to bring their families to the U.S. Transferring executives or mangers can seek L-2 nonimmigrant classification for their spouse and minor children. The visa will allow the employer’s family to work in any field they want.

Listed below are the requirements for an L-2 visa. 

  • Completion of the nonimmigrant visa application online called DS-160;
  • Valid passport;
  • Original marriage certificate for your spouse;
  • Birth certificates for each child;
  • Written approval by the primary L1 holder;
  • Primary L1 holder employment verification letter;
  • L1 holder I-1797 form (this form is issued when the employer’s L1 visa is approved); and
  • Visa application and issuance fee.

Duration of an L1 Visa in the U.S.

All nonimmigrant visas have a time limit. Employees who are wishing to establish a new U.S. office can only stay for one year. All other qualified employees can live in the U.S. for up to three years. Family members who have acquired an L-2 visa can also stay for up to three years.

L-1A employees can request extensions in increments of two years. A L-1A has a maximum limit of seven years. Employees who have had a L-1A for seven years cannot reapply. However, L1 visas are considered to have “dual intent.” This means L1 holders can pursue permanent resident status during their stay in the U.S.


Additional Resources

L-1A Transferee Executive or Manager – Visit the official website for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to find more information on L1 visas. Access the site to learn more about L-1A status, optional filing forms and information for other work-related visas.

I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker – Visit the official website for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to find more information on I-129 forms. Access the instructions for the form, where to file the form, the processing fee and special instructions if needed.


Lawyer for Nonimmigrant Executive or Manager in The Woodlands, TX

If you wish to transfer an executive or manager from your business into the U.S, contact an experienced attorney. Luis F. Hess is a skilled immigration attorney with a love for helping his clients. He will analyze your form, collect documentation and assist you throughout the immigration process. 

Call us now at (281) 205-8540 to schedule a free consultation. We accept clients throughout The Woodlands and surrounding communities including Conroe, Shenandoah, Houston and Splendora.


This article was last updated on December 21, 2018.

 

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