Non-immigrant L-1 intra-company transfer visas are available for people who are transferred by their current employer to a branch of the company that is located in the United States. Once issued an L-1 visa, employees may pursue permanent United States residency status.
In order to qualify for an L-1 intra-company transfer visa,
Definitions: executives and managers
An executive is defined as a person who directs the management of the company, or a major part of the function of the company. Executives are typically presidents, vice-presidents and controllers. A manager directs the organization, a department or a function of the organization. Neither an executive or a manager typically oversees the primary functions of tasks.
Important information for those coming to open a new office in the United States:
People who are coming into the United States to establish a new office will only be allowed to stay in the country for one year. The USCIS may require proof that office space has been rented or otherwise obtained, that the applicant has sufficient background with the company for whom he or she will be working, and that the company plans to remain in business throughout the duration of the applicant’s stay in the country. If the company wishes to apply for an extension beyond that first year, they must demonstrate that they have acted in accordance with the intentions of the original application.
If the applicant is an owner or part-owner of the company, his or her application will be very closely scrutinized by the USCIS. The employer will be required to prove that the its need for the employee to be present in the United States is only temporary, and that the employee has compelling interests in his or her home country.
Companies that have large numbers of applicants may apply for blanket L-1 visas for those employees who are to be transferred.
To qualify for a blanket petition,
An important difference to note is that employees included in blanket petitions need only have worked for the company outside the United States for six months, instead of one year.
What about spouses of L-1 visa holders?
Spouses of L-1 visa holders may be granted L-2 spouse visas for the duration of the L-1 visa. Permission to work may also be sought by spouses. Approval of work authorization for L-2 spouses can take as long as three months.