The United States has visas specifically for executives or managers of business entities. International companies that wish to transfer a manager or executives to the U.S. must obtain L-1A status. This classification enables foreign companies to conduct business or establish new offices in the United States.
If you wish to pursue an L-1A visa, you must file a Form I-129 or file for a blanket petition. Both processes can be complex and require important documentation. However, the assistance of an experienced attorney can significantly increase your chances of obtaining L-1A status.
Qualifications for a L1 Visa in the U.S.
Both employer and employee must qualify to gain L-1A status. Employers who wish to gain L-1A status must:
- Have a qualifying relationship with the international company;
- Must currently or will be doing business as an employer in the United States;
- Must be doing business in at least one other country; and
- The business must be viable.
A qualifying relationship can be a parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of a foreign company. The term “doing business” refers to a business’s regular, systematic and continuous provision of goods and services.
Employees who wish to gain L-1A status and obtain an L1 visa in The Woodlands or other areas in the US must:
- Be generally working for the qualifying organization abroad for one year within three years before their admission into the United States; and
- Must be seeking to enter the U.S. to work in an executive or managerial capacity for their employer.
Executive capacity refers to an employee’s ability to make business decisions without oversight. The term managerial capacity means the employee’s ability to supervise and manage the work of a group of professionals. It can also refer to an employee’s ability to manage essential functions of the company at a high level without supervision.
Employers can also send managers or executives to establish new offices in the United States. This also comes with added qualifications for L-1A status. The employer must show:
- They have secured sufficient physical premises to build or house a new office; and
- The employee is an executive or manager for at least one continuous year within the three years of filing the petition.