Eligibility: The following individuals or entities might be eligible for the L-1 visa.
- Foreign national executives transferred to the U.S. to manage an organization.
- Foreign national managers transferred to the U.S. to supervise the work of employees or who manage a vital function, department or subdivision.
- Employees with specialized knowledge that are part of companies outside the U.S. that have related branches, subsidiaries, affiliates or joint venture partners in the U.S.
- Employees and partners of international accounting firms.
- Multinational companies transferring foreign national executives to manage an organization or a major function or division of an organization in the U.S.
- Multinational companies transferring foreign national managers to supervise the work of other supervisory, professional or managerial employees or to manage a vital function, department or a subdivision in the U.S.
- Multinational companies transferring employees with specialized knowledge as to its products, research methods and marketing techniques.
- The foreign national must be continuously employed abroad for one of the past three years by a parent, affiliate, subsidiary, or branch of a U.S. company before he applies for admission to the U.S.
- A foreign national entering the U.S. on a temporary basis to continue with work for the same employer or an affiliate or subsidiary of the employer.
If a person is transferred by an employer who has filed a blanket L, the transferee must only have worked for the company abroad for six months.
An individual can maintain an L-1 status while his immigrant visa petition is pending.
One-Year Employment Requirement:
- The one-year requirement is not met by working for part of the year at a U.S. affiliate or branch of the company.
- Blanket Ls: Blanket L employees must show that they worked for the company abroad for one year.
“Employee”: An employee will be considered to be one who is:
- A majority or substantial stockholder of a U.S. or foreign corporation.
- A sole stockholder.
- A sole proprietor.
- Compensation- A salary is not necessary for consideration of employment. Whether payment is by a foreign or domestic company is not material. There is no wage requirement.
- Outsourced or Agency Employment: There are few situations in which an employee who has L-1B specialized knowledge status will be allowed to be outsourced to another company. The USCIS demands that the employer of the L-1B individual maintain ultimate authority over the worker.
- The USCIS and the DOS do not focused on whether the L-1 transferee is coming to the U.S. temporarily.
- Joint ventures: Majority ownership is not a requirement but a showing of control will be sufficient to be considered a relationship as a subsidiary or an affiliate.
- If two parent companies as a joint venture own 50% of a company then that company as a joint venture will be qualified as a subsidiary of both of the parent companies.
- If the parent company or owners can establish that control over the company exists then less than 50% ownership would be sufficient for the subsidiary.
- Contractual relationship: A franchising or licensing relationship is usually not sufficient to establish a necessary relationship.
- Proprietorships: If the business is not its own entity the petitioner’s claim of ownership and control must be proven. Evidence might be a license to do business, record of registration as an employer with the IRS, business tax returns etc.
- Ownership By Common Group: For an affiliate each member of the group must have an equal share or proportion of each part.
- Church Organizations: A church might qualify as a parent, subsidiary or affiliate.
- Affiliates are partnerships which market accounting or marketing services operating under an internationally recognized name and under an agreement with a worldwide coordinating organization, which is owned and monitored by the member firms.
- A branch is an operating division or office of the same organization simply in a different location. It is not a separate business entity.
Rendering Services To Same Employer:
- There must be an employment relationship with the U.S. company. The transferring of an employee to work in the U.S. cannot be made if the U.S. business entity does not maintain control and salary.
- If the U.S. company is less than one year old, there must be proof of physical premises, for example, a deed or a lease.
- Both the U.S. and the foreign company must be active.
- L classification is not for self-employment
Must Work In Managerial, Executive or Specialized Skill:
- The work performed abroad must have been as a manager, executive or in a specialized skill.
- Managers and executives will be grouped as L-1A. Individuals with specialized skills will be grouped as L-1B.
- An individual with specialized knowledge will need a labor certification when applying for LPR status.
- Specialized knowledge includes any person who has unique knowledge of a product, company, service, research, equipment, techniques, management or other interests as well as its application in the international market. This includes an individual who has an advanced knowledge of the processes and procedures of a particular company.
Job Shops and Offsite Work: An L-1 visa holder is not eligible for specialized knowledge worker status (L-1B) if he/she will be working primarily at the location of an employer other than the petitioner itself, an affiliate, subsidiary or the parent company.
Nature and Size of The Company:
- The parent and subsidiary companies do not have to be involved in the same field.
- There is no size limit on the company but there might be different forms of evidence required for different size companies.
- There is no country limitation.
- There can be a transfer from one U.S. affiliate to another and there will have to be a new I-129 filed.
New Office: USCIS provides detailed regulations as to when a new parent, branch, affiliate or subsidiary is opened in the U.S. and seeks to employ a manager or executive but does not have evidence of extensive business activity in the U.S. It is typical that a new office petition will be granted for a period of one year and after that time the petition may be extended when evidence shows the business is still active and functioning. A new office is one that has been conducting business in the U.S. for less than one-year through a parent, affiliate, subsidiary or branch.
- I-129: Filed by the employer (petitioner) at the service center, with the exception of Canadians who are under NAFTA or emergency expedited applications with the DD (District Director) where the individual will be working.
- Special Fraud Fee: There is a fraud protection and prevention fee to be collected for a new petition and is a one-time fee for a petition pertaining to an employer and the beneficiary. CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection (DHS)) will collect the fees for L-1s present at the Canadian border under NAFTA.
- Petition Approved For 3 Years: When determining an extension after the first year, the USCIS will look to the number of employees of the business, whether there has been a significant increase in cash flow, and the presence of important clientele etc. There will be a maximum of 7 years for executives and managers and a 5-year maximum for individuals with specialized knowledge, unless they are in the U.S. only for seasonal or sporadic work of less than six months each year.
- Admission: The beneficiary of an individual petition will be admitted for 3 years or the period of the petition, whichever is shorter.
- Part-Time Employment: Transferees may work part-time for multiple subsidiaries of the same international corporation. A new petition must be filed, establishing the relationship of the second subsidiary to the international corporation.
- Amendments to Petition: If there are changes in an approved relationship, an additional qualifying organization or any information that could affect an employee’s employment, an amended petition must be filed with the USCIS.Revocation: Revocation is automatic when the petitioner withdraws his petition or does not request an indefinite validity pertaining to a blanket petition. Intent to revoke notice will be sent to the petitioner when one or more of the entities are no longer eligible.Filing During Pendency of LPR Applications: An L-1 visa holder may apply for an E/S, a C/S to H or another L status or a new L-1 petition. If the L-1 has a pending A/S and applies for an EAD based on the application and is currently working for another employer he has violated his L-1 status.
- These changes require an amended petition: transfers from one company to another within the same organization when the beneficiary becomes an employee of the new company and where there is a major change in his job function.
- Blanket Procedure: Requirements:
- Petitioner must have an office in the U.S. and has been conducting business in the U.S. for at least one year;
- The petitioner must have 3 or more domestic and foreign subsidiaries, affiliates or branches. The petitioner and its entities must be engaged in commercial services or trade.
- The petitioner should have combined U.S. annual sales of $25 million, either a U.S. workforce of 1,000 or has received approval of a minimum of 10 L petitions over the past year.
- Nonprofit organizations will not be eligible for blanket petitions.
- The employee must work abroad for the parent, a subsidiary or an affiliate for one year.
- Blanket approval must be given by the service center. Extensions, or C/S must be filed at the service centers.
- The petition will first be approved for a period of three years, then one must apply for an extension.
- Form I-129S must be filled out and have an attached I-171C showing blanket approval was given and it must be submitted to a consular officer to receive a visa.
- Those specialized knowledge positions that are not professional in their nature will not be applicable to blanket L procedures.
- A new Certification of Eligibility, I-129S is necessary if one is reassigned to an organization that was listed in the approved petition but will have a different job than previously.