What Is L1 Visa
With an L-1, visa companies can relocate foreign workers to their U.S. subsidiary or parent company. You are eligible for the L-1 visa if you worked for a branch office, subsidiary or parent company for at least “one continuous year within the three years immediately before your admission to the United States.”
Foreign workers working for affiliate foreign offices of nonprofits, charitable organizations and religious organizations. Companies use this visa to expand their business and services to the United States, or transfer highly skilled managers or executives with direct knowledge of their operations to run their U.S. based company
The L-1 Blanket Petition Program
Is a program designed to make it easier for U.S. employers to sponsor a large number of work visas for alien workers. Only multinational companies or organizations can use this program. A company that qualifies for this program can get one “blanket” approval of visas for an appropriate number of executive, managerial, and professional employees.
This program has the following requirements:
- You must already be employed with a multinational company that has a plant or office in the United States for the blanket petition program to apply to you
- Once a foreign employee has completed the maximum allowable period in the U.S., they are supposed to leave the U.S. for one year, and
- The foreign employee can only renew their L-1 visa if they continue working for the U.S. company during that one year out of the U.S.
- You don’t have to work for the U.S. company full time to qualify for an L-1 visa but you must be hired by the U.S. company full time. But you need to be working for them on a regular basis
- You can get an L-1 visa even if you divide your work between the U.S. and your home country.
The company has to meet the following requirements to petition for L-1 visas for its employees:
- The company must be engaged in commercial trade or services
- The company has an office from which it has been conducting business for a year or more
- The company must have at least three foreign and domestic subsidiaries, branches, or affiliates
- The company must have successfully sponsored foreign workers through the L-1 visa in the previous 12 months
- The number of U.S. based employees of the company must be at least 1,000 or the company must have U.S. affiliates or subsidiaries that have not less than $25 million in sales.
Attending conferences, meetings and attending training is not engaging in regular and systematic activities, which means you are not eligible for an L-1 visa if these activities are the reason why you are coming to the United States.
Limitations Of The L-1Visa
The following are some disadvantages of the L-1 Visa:
- The L-1 visa allows holders to work for up to seven years but after that period has expired they only have one extension
- L-1 visa is only available for multinational companies and excludes small businesses and small business owners that are too small to have branches in other countries
- People that carry L-1 visas are not allowed to start their own businesses and must only work for the employer that sponsored them. You cannot work part-time for another employer simultaneously
Since immigration law is always changing, talk to an experienced immigration lawyer to update you about any alterations to the law.