The L visa is a nonimmigrant status. This classification is very practical for international companies that need to send individuals to the United States. The L-1 visa is subdivided in two categories: L-1A and L-1B. The first one is addressed to owners, executive, managerial staff of the company. The second one is for the skilled workers.
In order to qualify for this category, a few fundamental requirements must be met but the advantages of this visa are considerable.
Requirements to meet by the foreign company and its individuals
The foreign company must have been in existence for more than a year;
The foreign company’s annual gross revenue should exceed $250 000, 00;
The foreign company must remain in operations after the opening of the U.S. division;
The foreign company must have a minimum of three direct employees (meaning employees on payroll);
People eligible in the transfer are: owners, executives, managerial staff and specialized knowledge workers;
The transferee must have been employed with the foreign company for at least one year over the past three years as a direct, full-time employee.
Depending on certain criteria, the first admission to the U.S. under the L-1 category may be for a period of stay of up to three years. The total period of stay for an L-1A can be seven years and for an L-1B five years.
Qualifying organization for
The abroad company and the U.S. entity must be qualifying organizations, which means that one is doing business in the U.S. and the other in another country. At any time after the L-1 status is obtained, both companies must remain in activity. The following corporate formats are acceptable: subsidiary, affiliate, and branch.
If the company is Canadian and the employees being transferred are Canadians, the visa may be obtained at the port of entry.
If the company is in a country other than Canada, the application must go through a agency first. Once the application is approved by this agency, the applicant to be transferred will need to obtain his or her visa at the U.S. Consulate in their country of origin, or in any country where they have legal status.
Family members such as spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of the L-1 status holder are entitled to receive a legal status for the duration of stay of the L-1 status holder, commonly called L-2 status. The spouse may also apply for an Employment Authorization Document, which will permit him or her to work. Certain condition must be met.
Please note that, under L-1A Visa status, people
may be eligible for permanent residence status.
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