L1 Visa — Ultimate Guide from Application to Approval

Pro Business Plans
Aug 29, 2019 · 8 min read

About the L1 Visa

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Last Updated: 3/30/2021

Purpose of the L1 Visa

Pros

· There’s no minimum investment required for the new office to be established.

· There are no annual limits for L1 visas, therefore a petitioner will not be denied a visa on the basis that the limit of annual visas has been reached.

· The petitioner doesn’t need an academic degree to qualify. Its executive or managerial position in the company applying for the visa is enough to be considered a suitable candidate in that particular area.

· Spouses and dependents can work while they stay in the United States under the L1 visa, after filing the required paperwork.

Cons

· The employee must fill an executive or managerial position at the company.

· The employee must have worked for the company for at least one continuous year of the three years preceding the application for the L1 visa.

· L1 visas are commonly restricted to multinational companies that have or intend to have a branch or a subsidiary in the United States. Small businesses will find it difficult to qualify for this visa.

Speak with a professional to discuss your L1 Visa at Pro Business Plans for free.

Visa Requirements

For the Employer:

o For existing businesses operating in the United States territory, they must prove that they have a relationship with a foreign entity. Such entity could have the status of a parent company, subsidiary, affiliate or branch and they are known as qualifying organizations.

· The company must be actively doing business or intending to do so, in the United States territory and acting as an employer in at least one foreign country for the duration of the stay of the employee under the L1 visa.

o For the purpose of an L1 visa application, doing business refers to being actively engaged in selling goods and services.

o A company that operates or intends to set up an office with no active commercial activity will not be considered as one that is doing business.

· The business must be viable, even though no minimum limits are explicitly mentioned in the L1 visa requirements list.

Speak with a professional to discuss your L1 Visa at Pro Business Plans for free.

Duration of the L1 Visa

Application Requirements for an L1 Visa

Required Documentation for an L1 Visa Application

· A completed Form I-129.

· A completed DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application if the candidate is located overseas.

· L Classification Supplement to Form I-129.

· Evidence that the beneficiary has maintained a lawful status while living in the United States (if applicable).

· Evidence of the qualifying relationship between the company and the foreign entity listed in the application.

· A description of the job duties and the scope of the job to be performed by the employee.

· Evidence that the applicant will be filling an executive or managerial position within the company.

· Evidence that the applicant has maintained an executive or managerial position for at least one year in the qualifying company.

· For petitions that aim to establish a new office in the United States, the following requirements must also be fulfilled:

o A description of the job duties.

o Evidence that a physical location has been secured to carry on with the intended work.

o Evidence that the role to be fulfilled by the applicant is an executive or managerial role within the new office.

o Evidence that the business has the capacity to maintain such executive or managerial position for at least one year.

· The filing fee for the I-129 is $460 for the applicant and $370 for the filing of each I-539 form. If the applicant is abroad, an additional $190 fee must be paid for the DS-160 online form.

· Additionally, certain petitioners are required to pay a $4,000 or $4,500 fee known as the Public Law 114–113 fee.

· Finally, the USCIS charges a $500 one-time fee known as the Fraud Prevention and Detection fee.

Speak with a professional to discuss your L1 Visa at Pro Business Plans for free.

Processing time

L1 Visa Processing Time

Application Process

Renewal Process

These are the basic requirements to apply for an extension of your L1 Visa:

a. File a form I-129.

b. Provide evidence that the employee continues to work at the company originally listed as his sponsor under the L1 Visa Application.

c. If you have traveled overseas during your period of stay and you want to recapture those days on your extension you must provide valid proof that the trips occurred.

d. Pay a filing fee of $460.

e. Pay a $500 Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee.

Speak with a professional to discuss your L1 Visa at Pro Business Plans for free.

Tips for A Good L1 Visa Application

1. Be as detailed as possible when you provide eligibility evidence for your employee.

2. Make sure you demonstrate a clear affiliation between the foreign company and the U.S. branch.

3. Be requested for any additional Request for Evidence (RFE).

Tips for Hiring an Immigration Lawyer for your L1 Visa Application

1. Check the law firm with its local Bar Association.

2. Check if the lawyer or law firm is a part of the American Immigration Lawyer Association (AILA)

3. Check your lawyer with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

4. Know which questions to ask.

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