Generally, foreign nationals who are employed with a company abroad and who wish to enter the United States to continue working for the same employer, subsidiary, branch office, or affiliate may enter the United States via the L-1 Nonimmigrant Visa for Intracompany Transfer. There must be a relationship between the U.S. company and the foreign company abroad in order to transfer the foreign employee to the United States. Documentation to show the relationship may include:

  • common ownership documents;
  • similar name of the two companies;
  • 50% common ownership, although there may be situations where there is less than 50% ownership but the evidence shows that the parent company controls them.

  In order for the foreign national to obtain an L-1 visa, certain requirements must be met. The requirements include:

  • the foreign national must have worked continuously abroad for one of the past three years by the parent, subsidiary, branch office, or affiliate of the U.S. company;
  • there’s a qualifying relationship between the company abroad and the U.S. company;
  • the foreign national will continue working in a managerial capacity or executive capacity or a capacity requiring a specialized knowledge.

  Examples of employees being employed in an “executive capacity” include:

  • president,
  • vice president,
  • CFO
  • CEO.

  Employees in a “managerial capacity” are those who:

  • manage the organization, department, subdivision, or function;
  • supervise the work of other professional employees.

  Foreign nationals with “specialized knowledge” include individuals with an advanced knowledge of the company’s product, business, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other activity that is not readily available in the U.S. labor market.   Once it’s established that the foreign employee may be transferred to the U.S. company, obtaining L-1 nonimmigrant status requires the U.S. employer to file a Form I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It takes USCIS approximately three months to render a decision. Upon approval, the employee must apply for an L-1 visa at the U.S. consulate abroad. Depending on the employee’s position, the foreign national will be issued either an L-1A visa if working in an executive or managerial capacity or an L-1B visa for those continuing to work in the capacity requiring a specialized knowledge.   For more information on L Visas Intracompany Transfer visas or any other area of immigration law, please contact us at 214-999-9999.