What is an L-1A Visa?
The L-1A visa allows U.S. employers to transfer managers or executives from one of their offices abroad to their office in the U.S. These offices must have a qualified relationship (parent, subsidiary, affiliate). The L-1A visa also enables foreign corporations to transfer an executive or manager to establish a new office in the United States. Foreign nationals who transfer to the U.S. are allowed to bring their families with them on L-2 visas.
Benefits Of An L-1A Visa
The L-1A visa can be an excellent option for employers with an active office in the U.S. or those who desire to establish a new office in the U.S. The benefits of the L-1A business visa classification include:
- No specific education requirement in comparison to other visa classifications (like the H-1B)
- There are no limits on how many L-1A visas can be granted
- L-1A Visa holders can stay in the U.S. for 3-7 years
- Spouses and dependents of L-1A visa holders can work in the U.S.
- L-1A holders can pursue permanent residency and citizenship based on the EB-1 category (multinational executives/managers)
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Additionally, the L-1A visa offers employers many benefits including the ability to establish a new office, blanket petition options, and the lack of labor condition requirements. It’s important to note that L-1A visas can’t be extended after an employee reaches the maximum allowable stay of seven years.
Qualifications For An L-1A Visa
Both the employer and employee must meet specific requirements to be eligible for an L-1A visa. They include but are not limited to the following conditions:
- Employers: Must have a qualifying relationship with a foreign corporation and must be doing or will be conducting business as an employer in the U.S. and another country simultaneously.
- Employees: Must have worked continuously for their employer abroad for at least one year within the last three years and must be entering the U.S. to provide qualifying services within a managerial or executive capacity for a U.S.-based branch.
Generally, executive capacity refers to an employee’s ability to make high-level business-related decisions without much input from others. Further, managerial capacity refers to an employee’s ability to manage the work of employees within the U.S. branch, division, etc., without the direct supervision of another employee.
L-1A Visa Application Process
There are still many steps that employers and employees must complete. They include:
- Obtain a transfer offer from a qualifying employer
- Complete and file Form I-129, then pay the fees (by the employer)
- File Form DS-160, then pay the L-1A visa application fee
- Schedule the immigration interview and submit required documents
- Attend the L-1A interview
- Await a decision
If you have questions about the L1-A nonimmigrant visa application process, contact Garvish Immigration Law Group today to speak with an experienced Atlanta business immigration lawyer you can trust.
FAQs About L-1A Visas
How Long Can You Be in L-1A Status?
It depends. L-1A employees establishing a new office in the U.S. are allowed a maximum initial stay of 365 days. However, employees transferring to existing branches or offices are allowed a maximum initial stay of three years. For both cases, holders of L1-A nonimmigrant visas can request incremental extensions until they reach the maximum allowable stay of seven years.
Can a Person With an L-1 Visa Change Jobs?
You can change your job title or transfer location, but it must be with the initial sponsor or an affiliated U.S.-based company. Otherwise, L-1A visa holders cannot apply for jobs with another non-affiliated company.
However, depending on the circumstances, L-1A visa holders may be eligible to change their status to an H-1B visa. Contact us today to speak with an Atlanta business immigration lawyer about your situation.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Green Card From L-1A Status?
One of the major benefits of L-1A nonimmigrant visas is they are considered “dual intent visas.” This means that they allow foreign nationals to enter and stay within the U.S. as nonimmigrants, while having the intent of possibly immigrating to the U.S. permanently. Typically, processing an L-1A visa to a green card takes about one year (depending on processing times). However, it can take longer for complicated cases.
Contact An Atlanta Business Immigration Lawyer Today
If you and your company are considering an L-1A visa or other nonimmigrant visas, we can help. Our Atlanta business immigration lawyers can help you determine which option is best for you, assist in filing the petition, and walk you through the L-1A visa process step by step.
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