The L1 visa is a work visa granted to executives or directors of a foreign company who wish to establish themselves in the United States to run their company’s branch, branch, or subsidiary.
It is also possible to request the L1 visa for companies that have not yet been incorporated, but for this, it will be necessary to prove in the filing file that the project for its incorporation is in a very advanced stage and that the premises have already been found for its functionality.
For executives and directors. It is not required that the applicant is currently working as a manager, but it must be their designated job title when they start working in the United States.
The applicant must have the executive capacity, which means that the employee will make important decisions without supervision, such as the implementation of plans and actions.
In addition, you must have the managerial capacity, which means that the employee will supervise and control the work performed by other professional employees who have at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent level of education in the field related to the work performed and can manage the organization as a whole or to a department of it.
For professionals with “specialized skills.”
To qualify for an L1-B visa, the applicant must demonstrate that they possess a specialized skill that is “highly valued” in the United States. This ability is understood as the knowledge about the product, service, research, or other interests of the company and the application of this knowledge in international markets. Specialized ability is also understood as the advanced level or expertise of knowledge in the organization’s processes and procedures.
Some of the occupations that are considered specialized skills are the following: researchers, engineers, accountants, and doctors.
– The applicant must have a managerial or executive position in the company or a type of specialized knowledge.
– You must have worked for the same company for at least one of the three years before the visa application.
– The foreign company that the applicant works for must be legally established in the United States.
– The foreign company and the U,S. branch, affiliate, or subsidiary must be related in such a way that the latter is considered an extension of the former.
– The applicant must demonstrate that they intend to return to their country of origin once their visa expires.
– Applicants must meet all U.S. immigration and visa requirements.
Two different situations are depending on the maturity of the company.
For workers of emerging companies, the validity is 1 year. On the other hand, for employees of companies that have been operating in the United States for more than 1 year, the initial validity is 3 years.
In turn, in both situations, the L1 visa can extend up to 5 or 7 years, depending on the knowledge and positions of the applicants.
When used for business creation, the L1 visa is considered a “new office L1” visa.
After the first year in the U.S., the individual must demonstrate that operations have grown to the point where a managerial or executive position is required, or have specialized knowledge to perform such work.
To apply for this work visa, the employer must submit Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, on behalf of the employee, to the Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form is used by employers to apply to enter the United States for one of their nonimmigrant employees. This permit is temporary and will allow the employee to work and also receive training. Along with this form, you must also submit the fee payment of $460.
Form I-129 can be filed by mail or through the online E-Filing system. If the E-Filing service is used, you will receive an electronic confirmation containing a tracking number (receipt number). This form is also used to request an extension of stay or a change of status to some other visa category.
The employer will need to save this number to track the status of the application.
Once Form I-129 has been successfully filed and the fee has been paid, USCIS will review the application and determine if the requirements for the L visa are met.
If USCIS approves the visa, it will issue an approval letter called an “Approval Notice” or “Notice of Action.” This document contains the visa number assigned to the applicant, the expiration date of the visa, and other important information.
The applicant must present this letter along with a valid passport, recent passport-size photographs, and a confirmed Form DS-160 (Application for Nonimmigrant Visa) at the time of scheduling an interview at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
You may be required to present other documents during the interview, such as evidence that the applicant meets the requirements for the L visa.
The visa officer will determine if the applicant is eligible to receive a nonimmigrant visa based on the documents submitted, the answers given during the interview, and all other available information.
In some cases, an “offer of employment” may be requested from the U.S. employer. This offer must include detailed information about the job position, benefits, salary, and other compensation.
These are just some general documents that are requested in the procedure. However, additional documentation may be required if necessary.
There is no limit to the number of visas that can be applied for within a company. To expedite this process, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services allows the creation of “bundles” of L1 petitions. In this way, companies must present the individual requests of each of the workers and these will be evaluated individually, but they may present them jointly.
be related to employees working on the same project
be related to employees who will work in the same place
have the same specialized duties in terms of knowledge
The cost of the visa is paid by the employer, not by the applicant.
Additional charges that include medical expenses and Social Security must also be paid directly by the employer.
L1 visa processing time varies depending on the country in which you are applying and the USCIS center that is handling the application.
In general, processing usually takes approximately 30-90 days.
If necessary, the USCIS can send a notification in which it requires more documentation or evidence to support the visa application
Premium processing is an optional service that USCIS offers for some of your applications.
With premium processing, you can reduce your response wait time from USCIS to 15 days or less.
However, this service has an additional cost.
To request premium processing, it is necessary to complete Form I-907 and submit it along with the corresponding payment.
Once confirmation has been received that the application for premium processing has been accepted, USCIS will give priority to the application.
Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 may accompany or join the L1 visa holder in the United States.
These family members will be able to apply for an L2 nonimmigrant visa, which will allow them to study, work, and live freely in the United States. This visa is granted for the same duration as the L1 visa holder.
For the spouses to work in the United States, they must apply for and obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
To apply for a work permit, they must complete and submit Form I-765.
Along with this form, they must also submit recent passport-size photographs, copies of the L1 visa holder’s passport and L1 visa, as well as the USCIS approval letter or “Approval Notice.”
Children under the age of 21 do not need to apply for a permit to study in the United States. However, if they wish to work, they must apply for and obtain a work permit.
On the other hand, children over the age of 21 cannot be considered “companions” and must apply for their nonimmigrant visa if they wish to travel to the United States.
L1 visa applicants who are already in the United States under another nonimmigrant visa may be able to change their status to an L1 visa if they meet the requirements.
To make the change of status, the employer must file Form I-129 with USCIS and pay the appropriate fee.
The L1 visa can be extended for periods of 2 years up to a maximum of 7 years, as long as the employer continues to meet the visa requirements. Once the L1 visa holder completes 7 years in the United States, he will have fulfilled the maximum time allowed according to his condition and must leave the country for at least one year before he can reapply for the L1 visa. The only possible way in which he will be able to extend his time in the country is by receiving the status of a permanent resident of the United States through a green card.
This means that the applicant may apply for a visa to temporarily stay in the United States, but may also intend to become a permanent resident.
However, it is important to note that this process can take several years and that a green card is not guaranteed.
Minimum investment of the subsidiary or affiliate:*
There is no specific minimum investment that must be made. However, if the USCIS has doubts about the economic solvency of the new subsidiary or affiliate, it may require that evidence be presented stating that it will have sufficient financial resources to operate in the United States.
In addition, the evidence must also be submitted that the new subsidiary or affiliate is established to provide the specific service or product for which the L1 visa was granted.
Finally, it is also important to mention that if the new subsidiary or affiliate does not meet the economic solvency requirements and/or is not established to provide the requested service, the USCIS can revoke the L1 visa of the foreign representative.
What happens if the foreign representative stops working for the US subsidiary or affiliate?
The foreign representative can only remain in the United States while continuing to work for the U.S. subsidiary or affiliate.
Once you stop working for that company, you will also lose your L1 visa and will have to leave the United States.
In some cases, the foreign representative may be able to request a visa change to another type of visa.
However, this will be possible only if you meet the requirements for such a visa.
Benefits of the L1 visa:
*This information corresponds to September 2022