The L-1 visa facilitates the transfer of key employees from a foreign corporation to a U.S. branch, parent/subsidiary or affiliated entity. The purpose of the visa, also known as the intra-company transferee visa, is to give U.S. corporations the ability to bring in top level managerial or specialized employees into the USA.
The entity in the USA can be a branch office of a foreign company. Or it could be a parent/subsidiary. To establish the parent/subsidiary relationship one entity must own more than 50% of the shares of the other, and must also be able to control it.
Or the U.S. and foreign entity can also be siblings (or affiliates) i.e. they are owned by the same owner or same group of owners in similar proportions.
The employee must have also worked in an executive, managerial or specialized knowledge capacity for the foreign entity for at least one year in the past three years and is being sponsored to work in the same capacity for the U.S. entity.
The L-1 visa is valid for seven years, but is convertible to permanent residence before this time period. The specialized knowledge L-1 is valid for only five years. The specialized knowledge L-1 cannot be converted to permanent residence. A person under the specialized knowledge L-1 would still be able to obtain permanent residency through other avenues.
For new entities, the L-1 visas is issued for one year and then the petitioning entity must again re-apply for another two years.
There is no minimum investment requirement. However, there must be enough revenues to pay the salary of the company's officers and to support a leave and other expenses. Essentially, the U.S. entity must be able to support the employee in a managerial/executive capacity. If the U.S. entity has just been formed, it must demonstrate that it would be able to support the foreign national in a managerial/executive capacity.
Any type of corporate organization is recognized, so long as the qualifying relationship is created.
The L-1 visa takes about two months or longer to be approved after it is filed with the USCIS, Premium processing is available for the L-1 visa.
All kinds of businesses are permissible, so long as they are not illegal. The U.S. entity does not even have to be in the same line of business as the foreign entity.
The spouse and minor children can accompany the principal on L-2 dependent visas. While one can study in the U.S. as a dependent, an L-2 can obtain employment authorization and work for any employer.
The company/firm have to be in business in the country of origin for At least one year, to establish that the applicant has worked in the qualifying capacity for one year.
The Documents requires are as follows:
It should be shown that the foreign company is a viable entity. Its memorandum/articles of association or partnership deed, recent balance sheets, tax filings, payroll evidence, brochures, government permits for exports are essential.
There is also a need to establish the existence of a qualifying entity in the USA. Therefore a branch, subsidiary or parent should be organized in the USA. The company's representative should have done this, as well as acquired a lease for business premises. It is essential to show imminent business activity.
A description of the representative's job duties in the foreign company and prospective duties in the USA is also required. It is essential that the representative was employed for at least one year or more in a managerial, executive or specialized knowledge capacity in the foreign company.
It is imperative for the foreign national to seek advice of corporate and tax counsel of certified public accountant. The U.S. entity should be structured so as to minimize tax liabilities in the U.S. and foreign country. After the corporation is established, it must also file periodic reports with the IRS and file federal, state and local taxes.
We at the Law Offices of Prashanthi Reddy, PLLC have filed several L-1 petitions and are well versed in what kind of cases the USCIS approves. Because of our experience in this field we are able to anticipate problems and find solutions.
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