The L-1 intracompany transfer visa is a nonimmigrant visa for people coming to the U.S. to work. In order to be eligible for an L1 intracompany transfer visa, your intended employer in the U.S. has to be a parent or subsidiary of the company you were working for in your country of citizenship. This visa has a variety of advantages that make it stand out amongst the other employment-based visa options. In the information below, we’ll go over some of those advantages as well as how to get an intracompany transfer visa.
Requirements of the L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa
One of the requirements of the L1 intracompany transfer visa is that the applicant has been working and living outside the U.S. for a minimum of one year within the last three years. If you have spent any portion of time working in the U.S. (i.e. for a conference or visiting a U.S. office), it cannot be counted toward your year of employment abroad. During your time abroad, you must have held a position at a managerial or executive level. You can prove these requirements with:
- Pay stubs
- Tax returns
- Work products
The foreign employer you were working for must be a parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of the United States employer. Additionally, both employers must share common control of the company. There are a variety of documents you can provide to prove this type of relationship, including:
- Business licenses
- Annual corporate reports
- Articles of incorporation
- Contracts that define the relationship
- Corporate filings in the U.S. or abroad
- Stock purchase agreements
This requirement can vary depending on the size of the company and the industry of the business. However, you will at least need proof of a secured office space. Accepted evidence of sufficient physical space can include a signed lease agreement or mortgage documentation.
As an L1 employee, you are permitted to remain in the U.S. for a period of up to seven years. In order to receive your L1 visa, you must be able to provide proof that you intend to leave the U.S. after your visa period expires. However, because of dual intent, you are allowed to pursue permanent residency while you are in the U.S. on an L1 visa.
If you are coming to the U.S. on an L1 visa in order to open a U.S. office for a foreign company, you will only be allowed to remain in the United States for a period of one year. If you wish to extend your stay, the U.S. office will have to employ you as a manager or executive and be able to allow you to focus on related tasks. In other words, you may have performed duties that did not fall under your branch of responsibilities in order to get the new office going. However, after the one-year mark, your primary focus should be on executive or managerial tasks.
The L1 Visa Blanket Option
If a company consistently processes multiple employee transfers, they may be able to file for blanket approval. This allows the company to file only one immigration petition for all L1 employees. In order for your U.S. employer to qualify for the L1 visa blanket option, they must meet the following requirements:
- The foreign and U.S. entities are engaged in commercial trade or services.
- The U.S. entity has been doing business in the U.S. for one year or more.
- The U.S. business has three or more U.S. and foreign branches, subsidiaries or affiliates.
- These entities have obtained approval of a minimum of 10 L1 visa petitions within the previous 12 months or have sales or $25 million USD or a U.S. workforce of minimum 1,000 employees.
L1 Visa Family Members
As an L1 visa employee, you may bring your spouse or any unmarried children under the age of 21. They will be required to apply for L2 nonimmigrant status. Should they be approved, they can stay in the U.S. for the same amount of time that you are granted. If your spouse wishes to work in the U.S., he or she may do so by applying for employment authorization via the Application for Employment Authorization form.
How to Get an Intracompany Transfer Visa: Application Process
To apply for an L1 visa, you must submit a nonimmigrant visa application (Form DS-160) to the state department. With your application, you will need to include the following:
- Two copies of a passport-sized headshot that shows your full face clearly.
- A copy of your passport.
- Form I-129 (L1 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) filed by your intended employer on your behalf. It is important to note that this document must be filed a minimum of 45 days prior to your first day of employment. However, you cannot submit it more than six months early.
- Sufficient documentation to prove you meet the requirements of the L1 visa outlined above.
- The application fee, submitted by your employer. (Described in detail below).
- A copy of form I-797 (Notice of Action) to prove that Form I-129 was approved by the USCIS.
There are a variety of fees involved with the L1 visa application. These fees should be paid to the USCIS by your intended employer via check or money order.
- A filing fee of $325 USD
- If your company employs more than 50 workers in the U.S. and half of them are L1 employees, they will be required to pay an additional $2,250 USD with your filing fee.
- An anti-fraud fee for $500 USD
- An option premium processing fee of $1,125 USD. Paying this fee ensures that your application will be reviewed by the USCIS within 15 calendar days from the date they receive it.
Now that you know a bit more about how to get an intracompany transfer visa, you can start collecting the necessary forms and documents. While the L1 visa can be a great option for foreign workers who wish to be employed in the United States, the application process can be overwhelming at times. In order to make sure that you complete all the necessary requirements correctly and in a timely manner, it is in your best interest to seek counsel from an experienced business or immigration attorney. For a free 30-minute consultation, contact the experts at Katz Law Office Ltd. today.