L-1 MULTINATIONAL EXECUTIVE & MANAGER VISA
On April 7, 1970 Congress created the L nonimmigrant visa classification. It was created to permit international companies to temporarily transfer qualified employees to the United States for the purpose of improving management effectiveness, expanding U.S. exports, and enhancing competitiveness in overseas markets.
According to the Foreign Affairs Manual, the following elements are considered in evaluating entitlement to L-1 classification in individual petition cases:
(1) The petitioner is the same firm, corporation, or other legal entity, or parent, branch, affiliate or subsidiary thereof, for whom the beneficiary has been employed abroad.
(2) The beneficiary is a manager, executive, or an alien having specialized knowledge, and is destined to a managerial or executive position or a position requiring specialized knowledge.
(3) The petitioner and beneficiary have the requisite employer-employee relationship.
(4) The petitioner will continue to do business in the United States and at least one other country.
(5) The beneficiary meets the requirement of having had one year of prior continuous qualifying experience within the previous 3 years.
(6) If the beneficiary is coming to open, or be employed in, a new office, the additional requirements discussed below are also met.
(7) The beneficiary is not subject to the limitation on readmission for former L and H aliens, or the two-year foreign residence requirement for certain former exchange visitors who were on J visas.
L aliens are allowed to have "dual intent," which is both immigrant and nonimmigrant intent at the same time. Thus, L aliens are not required to have a residence abroad which they have no intention of abandoning. In addition, the fact that the alien intends to apply or has already applied for a U.S. green card does not prevent him or her from obtaining an L visa.
In order to qualify for the L visa, the beneficiary must have had one year of prior continuous qualifying experience within the pervious 3 years. Generally speaking, periods of time spent in the US during the period preceding the transfer do not prevent the transfer, but those periods do not count towards the one-year-abroad requirement. In addition, part-time employment does not satisfy this requirement.
If the alien is coming to the United States to establish a new office related to the foreign entity, it is necessary that the location of the business be secured. Usually this means a lease for the office space must be presented at the time of applying for the L petition with the INS. Individual L petitions, except those involving new offices, are initially valid for the requested period, not to exceed 3 years. New office situations may not exceed 1 year. Extensions of L-1A managers and executives is permitted for a total continuous period of 7 years. Extensions of L-1B specialized knowledge personnel is permitted for a total continuous period of 5 years. After the maximum duration is reached, there is a 1 year foreign residence requirement before being admitted in L or H status. Aliens who want to remain longer should consider the E visa and applying for a green card as a multinational manager/executive.
The spouse and unmarried children under 21 of an L-1 nonimmigrant are entitled to L-2 visas. L-2 dependents are not authorized to work in the United States. They are allowed to study in the United States. In California, many public colleges and universities will permit L-2 aliens to pay in-state tuition after 1 year. Students in this situation should check with their schools and ask them if they treat F-1 students differently than L-2 students.
Personal or domestic servants seeking to accompany L nonimmigrant employers may be issued B-1 visas.
When entering the United States make sure that you present your L visa
and complete a white (not green) I-94 Arrival/Departure Card. In addition,
make sure that you do not overstay the time indicated on the I-94 card.
If you notice that you were admitted in the wrong classification by mistake the INS will sometimes correct this for you if you go to Deferred Inspections at 300 North Los Angeles Street. You should do this within a few days of your admission into the US. In addition, the INS usually wants to see your original boarding pass and airline ticket.
If you want to remain in the United States longer than the time indicated on your I-94 card it is important that you apply for an extension of stay with the INS prior to the expiration date on your I-94 card.
step 1. INS PETITION
step 2. VISA APPLICATION AT US EMBASSY / CONSULATE
Include a self-addressed envelope with sufficient postage so that the passport can be mailed back to you for options (b) and (c).
Changing the status from L-1A to permanent resident status