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Business Immigration

L-1A Visa: Executive and management opportunities in the United States

The L-1A visa is a subtype of the L-1 non-immigrant visa and is meant for executives or managers moved from parent or subsidiary companies, as well as branches outside the United States. Furthermore, the L-1A visa allows foreign corporations who do not yet have linked operations in the United States to send staff to create a new office.

An employer must do the following to obtain an L-1A visa:

  • Have legal ties to a foreign corporation (head office, branch, or subsidiary);
  • Currently doing business in the United States and at least one other country, either directly or through a recognized entity. The company must be in operation for the duration of the employee’s L-1 visa stay in the United States. International trade is not required, but businesses must be viable.

To do business means to actively and constantly look for goods and/or services, and to do so on a regular and systematic basis. Having an office or an agent is not regarded as adequate for conducting active business in the United States and abroad.

You must meet the following requirements to get an L-1A visa:

  • Worked for the applicable organization abroad for at least one year in the three years preceding entry in the United States (work confirmation may include payment records, wage data, tax statements confirming employment, and so on);
  • The objective of entering the United States must be to give executive or managerial services to a subsidiary or subsidiaries of the same employer.

Executive capabilities are an employee’s ability to make critical decisions and operate freely on a broad level without constant supervision and monitoring.

Controlling and guiding other employees, as well as managing an organization or department, are all examples of management abilities. This includes the ability to undertake high-level organizational work without constant supervision or control.

Foreign employers who desire to deploy a manager or manager to the United States to create a new office must meet the following requirements:

  • The employer is required to offer physical space for the establishment of a new office.
  • The employee must have worked as a manager or supervisor for at least one year in the three years before the application submission.
  • After the petition is authorized, the applicant’s executive or managerial position will be retained by the alleged US office for one year.
  • The L-1A is initially issued for up to three years, with the option of extending it for another four years. The L-1A visa allows for a maximum stay of seven years.
  • Employees who visit the United States to create a new office are allowed a one-year initial stay.

Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of L-1 visa holders may apply for an L-2 visa to live and work in the United States. The spouse or child of an L-1A visa holder must apply to the US Embassy or Consulate in their native country to receive an L-2 visa. A copy of the visa holder’s L-1A visa, as well as a document establishing the relative relationship with the visitor, must be submitted with the application. The L-2 visa allows you to stay in the United States for the same amount of time as an L-1 visa holder. L-1 visa holders’ spouses may be eligible for EAD.

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