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L1 Visa Overview
The L-1 Visa is a non-immigrant “intra-company transfer” visa that allows international companies to transfer their employees from an overseas office to a U.S.-based office. It is designed to facilitate the intra-company transfer of a manager or executive and employees with specialised knowledge.
This visa category aims to promote international business by facilitating the transfer of important personnel to the United States. It enables multinational companies to leverage their global resources and talent by establishing or expanding their presence in the U.S.
Requirements for the L-1 Visa are focused on the applicant’s employment history, the nature of their position, and the relationship between the U.S. and foreign companies. The requirements vary depending on whether the applicant is applying for an L-1A or L-1B Visa.
There are two primary purposes for the L-1 Visa:
- Intra-Company Transfers: This allows companies to transfer executives, managers, and employees with specialised knowledge to yourr U.S. branch for a temporary or long-term period.
- Business Expansion: The L-1 Visa assists companies in establishing or expanding their operations in the United States, promoting economic growth and job creation.
An advantage is that L1 Visa holders have the flexibility to be on the payroll of either a US-based company or the overseas company.
The L-1A Visa is for executives and managers transferred to the United States. To qualify for an L-1A Visa, the employee must be working as a manager or executive in the overseas company and be transferred to work in a similar capacity in the U.S. branch or affiliate. The L-1A Visa allows for a maximum initial stay of three years, with the possibility of extensions of up to seven years.
The L-1B Visa is for employees with specialised knowledge being transferred to the United States. These individuals possess knowledge or expertise that is unique and not readily available in the U.S. labour market. The L-1B Visa allows for a maximum initial stay of three years, with the possibility of extensions of up to five years.
Note that both L-1A and L-1B Visas require the applicant to have been employed by a qualifying foreign company for at least one continuous year within the past three years. The U.S. and foreign companies must also have a qualifying relationship, such as a parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch office.
Eligibility Criteria for the L1 Visa
Below is the eligibility criteria to qualify for the L-1 visa:
- Qualifying relationship: The U.S. company and the foreign company must have a qualifying relationship, which can be in the form of a parent-subsidiary, branch office, affiliate, or joint venture relationship.
- Employment qualification: You must have been employed by the qualifying foreign company for at least one continuous year within the past three years. The employment must have been in an executive, managerial, or specialised knowledge capacity.
- Position requirement: You need to be working in an executive, managerial, or specialised knowledge position in the U.S. branch or affiliate.
- Specific job duties: Your job role in the company must involve executive, managerial, or specialised knowledge responsibilities that are crucial to the company’s operations.
- International transfer: You must be coming to the United States to provide services to the company. The purpose of the transfer should be to benefit the company.
- Substantial presence: The overseas and U.S. companies must be actively conducting business operations. Start-up or newly established companies may need to provide additional evidence to demonstrate your viability.
Required Documents for the L1 Visa
To support an L-1 Visa application, you must provide the following documents:
- Proof of employment: Documents demonstrating your employment history with the foreign company.
- Job offer letter: A letter from the U.S. employer detailing the position, responsibilities, and remuneration offered.
- Passport and photographs: Valid passport with at least six months of validity beyond the intended stay in the U.S. and recent passport-sized photographs.
- Form I-129: The petition form submitted by the U.S. employer on your behalf.
- Supporting letters: Letters from both the U.S. and foreign companies explain the purpose of the transfer, job responsibilities, and qualifications.
- Education and work experience: Diplomas, degrees, and relevant certifications, along with employment letters and performance evaluations.
- Financial documents: Evidence demonstrating the financial standing of both the U.S. and foreign companies.
- Corporate documents: Evidence establishing the relationship between the U.S. and foreign companies.
- Business plan: For new offices, a comprehensive business plan outlining the company’s operations, market analysis, and financial projections may be required.
Accurate and complete documentation is important for a successful L-1 Visa application. Inconsistencies in the application can lead to delays or even a denial. IAS offers services like documentation checking to ensure that all your documents are updated and complete.
If you need assistance to ensure that your documents are updated and complete, for an L-1 visa application, reach out to us for immediate assistance. Call us today on +23413438882 or +44 (0) 3316300929
Benefits of the L1 Visa
The benefits of an L-1 Visa are:
- Flexibility: The L-1 Visa allows for both temporary and long-term assignments, with the option to extend the visa as needed.
- Dual Intent: Unlike many other non-immigrant visas, the L-1 Visa allows holders to have the intention of applying for permanent residency in the future.
- Family Accommodation: L-1 Visa holders can bring their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to the U.S., who may also be eligible for work authorisation.
- Eligibility for Green Card: L-1 Visa holders may qualify for the EB-1C immigrant visa category, which offers a path to permanent residency.
L1 Visa Application Process
Below are the steps to take for the L1-Visa application process
- Employer’s petition: File a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the employee. You will be required to include all supporting documents.
- USCIS review: The USCIS will review your petition and supporting documents to determine your eligibility and the qualifying relationship.
- Consular processing: Apply for an L-1 Visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate in Lagos. You need complete the online DS-160 application and schedule a visa interview.
- Visa interview: You need to attend the visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate. During the interview, you may be asked questions about your qualifications, job position, the purpose of the transfer, and the U.S. and foreign companies.
- Visa decision: The consular officer will review the application, supporting documents, and the interview to make a decision on the visa application. If approved, your passport will be stamped with the L-1 Visa, allowing entry to the United States.
- Entry to the United States: Once the L-1 Visa is issued, you can travel to the United States and present the visa to the immigration officer at the port of entry. The immigration officer will verify the employee’s documents and make the final determination regarding admission to the United States.
Note that the L-1 Visa application process can be complicated which is why you need the assistance of an immigration attorney. Immigration Advice Service has a team of qualified immigration experts to ensure all requirements are met and to navigate the process smoothly. Call us today on +23413438882 or +44 (0) 3316300929 for immediate assistance.
What To Do If Your L1 Visa Application Is Rejected
If your L-1 Visa application is rejected, it is important to understand the reasons for the refusal, especially as a failed application can have potentially a long-term impact on immigration status.
If you are not sure what to do next if your L-1 Visa application has been rejected then reach out to us for assistance. Call us on +23413438882 or our US office on +44 (0) 3316300929 for advice and support.
How Can IAS Help?
IAS Services has been instrumental in assisting many Nigerians with their visa applications to the United States. We understand the distress that comes with a visa denial, and we are committed to ensuring our Nigerian clients avoid such situations.
For further guidance and assistance with your L-1 Visa application, then call us at +23413438882 or on +44 (0) 3316300929. Our dedicated team is equipped to provide you with the information and support you need to make your application a success. At IAS, we strive to make the process of immigrating to the United States from Nigeria as straightforward as possible.
Last modified on October 26th, 2023 at 11:48 am
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The filing fee for an L-1 Visa is $460, which is paid by the employer. Note that the fees should be paid at the same time a petition is filed, along with the submission of supported documents.
The processing time for an L-1 Visa is typically between 2 and 4 months. It is recommended that you begin the process early enough in order to be ahead of time. This will help to ensure that the application is processed as quickly as possible.
They both involve similar steps. However, the emphasis on the L-1B Visa is on demonstrating your specialised knowledge and its relevance to the role in the U.S. branch.