Non Immigrant Visa Petition

L-1 visa

Intracompany Transferees (L-1) nonimmigrant visa category is designated for international companies to bring foreign employees to the United States. To be eligible for an L-1 visa, the following requirements need to be met:

• The employee must be employed continuously abroad for 1 of the past 3 years by parent, branch, and affiliate or subsidiary of U.S. company preceding application for admission;
• There must be qualifying relationship between the foreign company and the U.S. company (e.g. parent, branch, affiliate or subsidiary);
• The employee to be transferred must have been working in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity with the foreign company and will work in one of these capacities with the U.S. company;
• The employee must be qualified for the position by virtue of prior education and experience.

“Executive capacity” means responsibilities within an organization including: (1) directing the management of the organization or a component or function within the organization; (2) establishing the goals and policies of the organization or a component or function within the organization; (3) exercising wide latitude in discretionary decision making; and (4) receiving only general supervision or direction from higher level executives, board of directors or stockholders.

“Managerial capacity” means responsibilities within an organization including: (1) managing the organization or a department, subdivision, function or component within the organization; (2) supervising and controlling the work of other supervisory, professional or managerial employees or managing an essential function within the organization or a department or subdivision of the organization if the individual does not have direct supervisory duties; (3) having the authority to hire and fire or recommend personnel actions or functioning at a senior level if the individual does not have direct supervisory duties; and (4) exercise discretion over the day-to-day operations of the organization or the functions of a department or subdivision within the organization.

“Specialized capacity” is defined to include a person who has special knowledge of the company product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management or other interests and its application in international markets or has an advanced level of knowledge of processes and procedures of the company. Characteristics of employee with specialized knowledge include: 1) possession of knowledge that is valuable to the employer’s competitiveness in the market place; 2) unique qualification to contribute to the U.S. employer’s knowledge of foreign operating conditions; 3) having been utilized as a key employee abroad and been given significant assignments which have enhanced the employer’s productivity, competitiveness, image or financial position; and 4) possession of knowledge that can be gained only through extensive prior experience with that employer.

New Office Situation:

A new office is defined as “an organization which has been doing business in the United States through a parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary for less than one year.” To qualify for L-1 in a “new office” situation, the following evidence must be submitted: 1) sufficient physical premises for the office have been secured (usually by providing a lease); 2) the beneficiary meets the one-year continuous employment requirement; and 3) the intended U.S. operation within one year will support an executive or managerial position.

Filing Procedure

The petition is filed on Form I-129 with supporting documentation with the CIS Service Center having jurisdiction over the work site. The petition is approved for 3 years. In a “new office” situation, the petition is approved for one year with extensions upon presentation of evidence that the business is active and operating. The total period of stay for L-1 executives and managers is 7 years and that for specialized knowledge personnel is 5 years. Once the petition is approved, the approved petition is sent to a U.S. consulate where the alien can obtain an L-1 visa to enter the United States. If the alien is already in the United States in a different nonimmigrant category, his or her status will be changed to L-1.

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