The L-1A is a visa which allows a US employer to transfer an executive or manager from an affiliated overseas office to a wholly owned subsidiary in the USA.
This visa type is also for a foreign company which is not currently operating in the USA to send an executive or manager there with the intention of establishing one. The foreign company must employ over four people and have been trading for over a year.
An L-1A allows a visa holder to move to the US with their spouse and unmarried children under the age of twenty one
Through L-1A the opportunity exists to become a permanent resident, – a holder may petition for a green card depending on the success of the business
The spouse of an L-1A holder may apply for authorisation to work.
This visa can be used by an executive or manager who wishes to move to the United States in order to start and develop a new business currently operating outside of the USA for at least twelve months, and employs more than four people
An L-1A allows a US company to transfer an executive or manager over from an affiliated office overseas, in order to develop the business.
An L-1A manager is defined as an individual who manages people, or an essential function of the organisation.
An L-1A executive is defined as an individual who directs the management of the organisation itself, or a major component or function, establishes the goals and policies of the organisation and exercises the capacity to make wide latitude decision making within the enterprise, without direct supervision.
The L-1A visa holder may apply for a green card after twelve months of residency, and a successful green card application will depend upon the success of the business.
Unlike the E-2 visa, the L-1A can provide a route to permanent residency and eventually citizenship depending on the success of the business through creating employment.
There is no minimum educational requirement for the L-1A visa; however the applicant must have managed an essential function of the business for at least one year in the three years prior to submitting their L-1A application.
There is no minimum investment capital for an L-1A business; however a successful application depends on proving the US enterprise’s capacity for growth, and this takes into consideration capital investment.
The first visa is valid for one year, with the opportunity to extend in increments of up to two years, up to a maximum stay of seven years.
You must employ three full time US workers before the end of the first year.
Qualified employees transferred to an established US office through L-1A will be eligible to stay for an initial three years, with requests of extension granted in increments of up to two years, up to a maximum stay of seven years.
The USCIS filing fee in full is $825, and for the expedited route $1225, which ensures the application will be processed within fifteen days following the submission of all documents.
You may travel to the USA during your L-1A application for vacation purposes. If you travel to the US for business during your L-1A application, you must be careful not to engage in any employment based activity, and are limited to activities stipulated by the B-1 visa:
Attending or holding business meetings
Attending exhibitions or conventions
Negotiating and signing contracts.
You need to have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary or affiliate) and intend to undertake business as an employer, which means the regular, systematic and continuous provision of goods or services, in the US and in at least one other country either directly, or through a qualifying organisation, for the duration of the L-1A visa
An applicant needs to have been in a managerial role within the company for at least one continuous year within the three years prior to applying for an L-1A visa
They must be seeking to enter the USA to provide services in an executive or managerial capacity
L-1A visa applications require a detailed five year business plan to outline strategies for growth
The company needs to have a pre-arranged space for the new office headquarters
The office in the USA will need to support the applicant in their executive role within a year of the application approval.
An L-1A applicant can move to the USA with their spouse and any unmarried children under the age of twenty-one, and dependents will receive an L-2 visa.
No nationalities are directly excluded from the program, however for some countries additional requirements or checks may be imposed by the US Citizen and Immigration Service.
Yes, children of L-1A holders may attend public school in the USA.
The spouse of an L-1A visa holder may apply for permission to work.
The L-1A visa allows you to start and grow any kind of enterprise in the USA: you are not limited by your current business activity overseas, and can start or purchase a new or existing business in the US.
Step 1 – Gather a list of documents to be submitted
Step 2 – Prepare the L-1A application and submit to the USCIS
Step 3 – Attend an interview conducted by a US immigration official in your home country
Typically applications will take three months to be processed by USCIS. You may also opt for the expedited route which will take fifteen days and costs more.
Step 4 – L-1A visa application is accepted or denied, and residency cards are issued.
From the submission to USCIS, an L-1A application will take approximately three months.
USCIS also offer an expedited service which ensures that the application is processed within fifteen days.
You may visit the US during your application for L-1A, either for vacation purposes through a tourist visa, or for business meetings. If you do visit for business purposes however, you must not undertake activity other than meetings.
You can move to the USA with an L-1A visa as soon as you have received your residency card(s).
Yes. As a part of the L-1A application process, you will be contacted to attend an interview by a US immigration official within your home country.
For executives or managers moving to the USA with the purpose of establishing a business, an L-1A visa is valid for an initial year, with the opportunity to extend in increments of up to two years.
You are able to renew an L-1A visa for a maximum of seven years. If a holder wishes to change their visa status, they should do so before this seven year period terminates.
After the maximum initial stay of one year, L-1A visas must be renewed every two years, with a maximum total stay of seven years.
An L-1A visa may be renewed on the basis that the business’s performance has matched or exceeded the targets set out in the business plan. The business must be able to demonstrate growth, and must employ US nationals.
If the business’s performance does not match or exceed that outlined in the business plan, and the business is proving to be unsuccessful, an L-1A holder may be denied an extension to their visa.
You are able to live anywhere in the USA.
You can transfer L-1A employees around the US, providing they remain under your control and management.
If the L-1A holder is away from the USA for less than six months per year, there will rarely be an issue: for extensive periods of time spent outside of the US, your residency may be called into question, however it is down to the discretion of the USCIS to review your terms of residency.
If an L-1A visa holder intends to leave the US for more than a year, they can apply for a re-entry permit before they depart. With this, you can return to the USA even after one year, or at least until the permit expires.