About L-1 Visa
A. What is an L-1 Visa
As more and more companies choose to expand their businesses overseas under the background of global integration, the L-1 Visa has become a favored choice for international businessmen.
The L-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa designed for senior personnel who are temporarily deployed to US-affiliated companies (parent, affiliate, subsidiary, branch office) by the employer company to provide managerial and executive services or specialized knowledge.
The L-1 Visa has two categories: L-1A and L-1B. L-1A is designed for managers or executives of multinational companies, and L-1B is designed for senior staff with specialized knowledge from multinational companies. The validity of the L-1A Visa lasts up to 7 years, whereas the L-1B Visa lasts up to 5 years; the two categories have slightly different background requirements on beneficiaries.
The USCIS also provides “blanket petition” application channels to large multinational companies with a high demand for dispatching transnational personnel, who could apply on behalf of multiple beneficiaries with one application and provides much convenience to these enterprises.
B. Who Can Apply for the L-1 Visa
The L-1 applicant is the employer (petitioner), and the multinational executive is the beneficiary. The USCIS has set forth requirements for both the applicant and the beneficiary.
It is required that 1.) The applicant to maintain a qualifying relationship with the company’s entity outside of the US; 2.) During the beneficiary’s stay in the US, the applicant shall continue its business operations within and outside of the US, meaning that the applicant cannot stagnate its business in the original location due to the dispatchment of the beneficiary to the US; 3.) The USCIS may also assess the feasibility and necessity for the company’s business in the US.
The beneficiary coming to work in the US must have been consecutively employed for at least 1 year by the foreign company within the last 3 years before filing the L-1 petition (the period of employment by the company’s US entity cannot be counted). To meet the requirements of “senior personnel”, the USCIS also assesses the past management experience and professional ability of the beneficiary.
C. Dual Intent
The L-1 Visa is also a non-immigrant visa that allows the beneficiary to have the intent to immigrate to the US. The L-1 beneficiary can later adjust their status by using EB1-C route to apply for a Green Card. As a special-talent immigrant visa, EB1 does not require scheduling when being used for other immigrant visa and takes less time to apply. Therefore, adjusting to Green Card through applying for the L-1 Visa has become one of the most preferred paths for many immigrants.
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