L-1A petition to set up a branch office in the US
US Immigration Question:
I entered the US on the visa waiver program which is valid for 3
months. The purpose of the trip is to prepare for setting up a branch
office of the company for which I have been working for 10 years as
a manager in import/export department. Is there any way to remain in
the US for more than 3 months for the purpose of setting up a branch
Since its inception in 1970, the L visa has been one of the most useful
visas available to international companies needing to bring foreign
employees to the United States. In fact, Japanese nationals account
for approximately 20% of all L admissions each year. Obtaining an L
visa for a new office is a two step process.
STEP 1: File petition with the INS
PROCESSING TIME: Approximately 2 months
EVIDENCE REQUIRED FOR NEW OFFICES:
- Proof that sufficient physical premises to house the new office
have been secured.
Example: Office lease for location in the United States
- Proof that the transferee has been employed by the company overseas
for at least one year within the three years immediately preceding
the filing of the petition in an executive or managerial position.
Example: Payroll records, tax records of employee, business card,
resume of employee, organization chart.
- Proof that the proposed employment involves executive or managerial
authority over the new operation.
Example: Letter from company in Japan explaining the purpose of the
transfer. The letter should also include a discussion about the legal
relationship between the company in Japan and the new business in
the US, and the executive/managerial background of the employee
- Proof that the company in the US is financially viable.
Example: Evidence of capitalization of the US company or evidence
of financial resources committed by the foreign company, articles
of incorporation, corporate bank statement, profit and loss statements,
tax returns, and annual report.
STEP 2: File visa application with the US Embassy in Tokyo
PROCESSING TIME: Approximately 10 days
- Proof of INS approval
- Visa application (Form OF-156) with photo
- $45 "MRV" fee receipt obtained at any Bank of Tokyo branch
- Passport for each applicant
DURATION OF VISA: 1 year, but renewable
for up to 7 continuous years.