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Intra-Company Transfers: L-1 Visa

Intra-company Transferee Work Permit - L-1 Visa

Entering the United States is documented in only one of two ways - as an Immigrant or as a Non-immigrant. Obviously, a non-immigrant is someone who will "enter the U.S. on a temporary basis - whether for tourism, business, temporary work, or study. Once a person has entered the U.S. on non-immigrant status, they are restricted to the activity or reason for which they were allowed entry." Contact us today at (403) 452-9515 Ext. 100 or 1-800-932-1190 or email us directly.

Naturally, those who enter on non-immigrant status, and for business or temporary work will fall into a broad range of categories. For example, some people may enter using a business or B-1 visa, and others may enter using an "Intra-company Transferee" work visa. There are two types: the L-1A or the L-1B visas.

The L-1A Visa

The L-1A non-immigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States; It is also a classification that would allow a foreign company without a U.S. office to send one of their executives to the U.S. to open such an office.

As one might guess, there are some specific guidelines for the use of the L-1 classification:

  • There must be a relationship between the employer and the foreign company
  • The employer must be, or must soon be doing business as an employer in the U.S. and one other country, though international trade is not mandatory

Once an employer is deemed qualified, then the employee obtaining the L-1A visa must meet specific criteria:

  • They must have been working for the company for one year within the previous three years
  • They must be entering the U.S. to provide managerial or executive level work for the company

Note that it is of utmost importance to point out that the USCIS goes to great lengths to provide formal definitions of many of the terms used in the criteria. Because of that, it is strongly advised that anyone considering the use of an L visa, should consult with an immigration expert familiar with these visas.

The L-1B Visa

The L-1B visa enables a U.S. employer to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge skills relating to the organization’s interests from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. And just as the L-1A allows the employee to enter the U.S. to help in the establishment of an office, so too, does the L-1B provide entry for the specialist to help in the same way.

The families of L-1 visa holders may be admitted via an L-2 non-immigrant classification and may be awarded the same periods of stay as the worker. Though, this too is something that is best handled in consultation with immigration experts familiar with this area of the law.

If the use of the L-1 visa is frequent, there is an allowance for "blanket petitions" that enable firms to file Form 1-129S and send it to the employee in need of the visa. That form, along with essential documents expedites the Visa process somewhat. Getting expert help is a key to success.

Contact us today at (403) 452-9515 Ext. 100 or 1-800-932-1190 or email us directly.

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