L1 Visa

L1 Visa Attorney at Saint Charles, Missouri

Employers can initiate intracompany transfers of personnel overseas to their firms in the United States using an L1 visa.

Entrepreneurs or start-ups can also apply for an L1 visa to do business in the United States. Please call our Missouri L1 visa attorney to schedule a consultation if you are interested in an L1 visa. Our immigration law firm offers a comprehensive range of immigration legal services.

What is an L1 Visa?

The L1 visa category allows a foreign corporation to transfer a foreign employee, with specialized knowledge, to an affiliated U.S. company for the intracompany transferee to perform the same or comparable functions at the U.S. affiliate as they do at the related foreign company.

To transfer the foreign national to work in the United States for a limited time, the U.S. employer must file a petition with the Department of Homeland Security. Personnel classified as L1 fall into two categories:

Managers or Executives (L-1A)

The L-1A visa is for managers and executives visiting the United States temporarily. A foreign worker may be admitted to the United States under L-1A status for as long as the company requires, up to three years during the first stay. For executives and managers, the total visit period may be up to seven years.

Specialized Knowledge (L-1B)

Professionals with a unique understanding of the company’s product(s) or services and their application in foreign markets and an advanced level of experience in the company’s processes and procedures are eligible for L-1B status. An L-1B can stay for a maximum of five years. A specialized knowledge employee has the following characteristics:

  • Knowledge that is valuable to the employer’s competitiveness in the marketplace
  • Unique qualifications to contribute to the U.S. employer’s knowledge of foreign operating conditions
  • Utilization as a critical employee abroad, having been given significant assignments that have enhanced the employer’s productivity, competitiveness, image, or financial position
  • Knowledge that can be gained only through extensive prior experience with that employer

What Are the Qualifications for an L-1 Visa?

L-1 visa attorneyThe foreign employee must have worked for the overseas firm for one consecutive year outside of the United States within the previous three years. Each day spent in the United States from a year earlier adds one day to the total time the immigrant must have worked for the firm.

The firm for which the person worked overseas must have a special relationship with the American company. The following forms of business relationships will be considered:

  • Parent
  • Subsidiary
  • Affiliate
  • Different branches of the same company

The two businesses do not have to be in the same industry. During the alien’s stay in the United States, both the U.S. firm and the foreign company must continue to do business.

The foreign worker may be the only or majority owner in one or both companies.

If the L-1 visa petition is accepted, the foreign worker’s spouse and children under 21 may join them in the United States on an L-2 visa. The spouse can also apply for work permission in the United States.

What Are the Benefits of an L-1 Visa?

No Quotas

There are no yearly limitations on the number of visas granted to particular nations, unlike other visa categories.

Fast Processing Times

Three to six months is the average processing time. Premium processing is also offered for an extra charge. USCIS is expected to process the visa application within 15 working days if you choose premium processing.


On the L-2 visa, L1 visa holders are allowed to bring their spouses and dependent children to the United States.

Work Authorization

Once in the United States, spouses can apply for work permits to work for any U.S. company.

Tax Advantages

The L-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa, which means it does not allow you to stay in the country permanently (Green Card). Nonimmigrant visa holders usually are not taxed on their international income, although Green Card holders are. (If you want to be sure you won’t be classified as a U.S. tax resident, you should still see a tax specialist.)

Transition to Green Card

The L-1A visa category allows for a smooth transition to a Green Card. The L-1A standards are highly similar to those for the EB-1C Multinational Managers or Executives category, making it more straightforward for L-1A holders to become permanent residents. The L-1 visa type is sometimes referred to as a dual-purpose visa.

What is an L-1A Visa?

The L-1A visa category is for managers and executives who are being transferred from an overseas office to a company’s U.S. office. It’s critical to record specific managerial roles and power inside the firm.

If the U.S. company has been in existence for at least one year, the L-1A is valid for up to three years. The L-1A can, after that, be renewed every two years for a total of seven years. This is a New Office L-1A application if the U.S. firm has not been in existence for at least one year, and the initial validity is just one year.

The L-1A holder must either return home or move to another visa program after seven years. The EB-1C visa allows qualified management and executive-level personnel to permanently stay in the United States.

What is an L-1B Visa?

Employees with specialized expertise are transferred from an overseas office to a company’s U.S. location under the L-1B visa category. “Specialized knowledge” leaves a lot of room for interpretation, so it’s crucial to engage with an experienced immigration lawyer who can help you figure out if you have grounds to claim an L-1B visa.

We provide free initial consultations with an experienced L-1 visa attorney at Gateway Immigration Law Firm to determine whether you have a good case for applying for the L-1B visa.

The L-1B visa is valid for three years at first unless the U.S. office has been open for less than a year, in which case the visa is good for one year. The L-1B visa can be extended for five years in two-year increments.

What Materials Do You Need to Prepare for Your L-1 Visa Application?

U.S. Company Documentation

The petitioning U.S. employer is often requested to provide the following:

  • Description of company business
  • Articles of incorporation or association
  • Application for Employer Identification Number (Form SS-4)
  • Stock certificates
  • Lease of business location
  • Bank statement or wire transfer evidencing initial investment
  • Audited accounting reports (e.g., balance sheets, profit and loss statements, cash flow reports, etc.)
  • Corporate income tax return (Form 1120), if any
  • Employer’s quarterly tax filings (Form 941), if any
  • Documentation of business transactions (e.g., commercial contracts, invoices, bills of lading, letters of credit, etc.)
  • Company letterhead with company logo, name, and address (several sheets)
  • Company structure and plan for acquiring and maintaining new employees
  • Interior and exterior photographs of the main office

Foreign Company Documentation

The following is often anticipated of an international company entity:

  • Articles of incorporation
  • Business license
  • Income tax filings for the past three years
  • Audited accounting reports (e.g., balance sheets, profit and loss statements, cash flow reports, etc.)
  • Organizational chart, which should include the total number of employees and indicate the position held by the transferee
  • Company brochure or product introduction
  • Documentation of business transactions (e.g., commercial contracts, invoices, bills of lading, letters of credit, etc.)
  • Bank statements or transactional records
  • Company letterhead with company logo, name, and address (several sheets)
  • Pictures of the company’s main office, factories, or buildings (disregard if already included in the company brochure or product introduction)

L-1 Visa Beneficiary Documentation

The alien beneficiary is often required to bring the following:

  • Resume
  • Diploma
  • Employment verification letter from the foreign company
  • Board resolution or appointment documents validating the transfer of the alien to the U.S.
  • Any other documents showing the transferee’s ability to conduct business in the executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity

How Can an L-1A Visa Holder Get a Green Card?

You can apply for permanent residency (Green Card) using the EB-1C visa if you are a management or executive in the United States on an L-1A visa.

The EB-1C visa is for management and senior-level personnel seeking permanent residency, commonly known as a Green Card, in the United States. It is a wonderful alternative for business executives from all over the world who aspire to migrate to the United States with their families. Because there are restrictions, it is essential to get legal counsel from an experienced L-1 visa attorney to identify the best immigration option for you.

To be eligible for an EB-1C visa, you must have worked for at least one year outside the United States in the three years before the petition, or the most recent lawful nonimmigrant entry if the petitioning employer already employs you in the United States.

The petitioner in the United States must have been in business for at least one year, have a qualifying relationship with the company you worked for outside of the United States, and intend to hire you in a management or executive role.

What Are the Different Benefits of an EB-1C Visa?

There are various compelling reasons to pursue an EB-1C Green Card.

No Large Minimum Investment

Unlike several other types of visas, the EB-1C visa does not require a high minimum investment to qualify. Instead, the U.S. firm asking for the visa just needs to demonstrate that it is well-capitalized in its field and will continue to operate for the following two to three years.

No Labor Certification Requirement

Similarly, there are no restrictions for firms to generate new employment or go through the labor certification procedure, which can take time and effort. An EB-1C applicant firm can recruit a foreign worker directly instead of showing that it attempted and failed to hire a suitable U.S. employee.

Family Members Can Be Included

Successful EB-1C visa applicants can also apply for green cards for themselves and qualifying family members, such as spouses and unmarried children under 21. Green card holders are allowed to travel freely inside the United States and to and from the country. Green card holders are also permitted to work and pursue education in the United States.

Simple Process for Workers

Another advantage for potential immigrants and their family is that the visa process is relatively straightforward. The applicant employer, not the employee, is responsible for compiling, submitting, and paying the requisite filing fees. The immigrant worker does not need to come up with a large sum of money to secure a visa.

Unconditional Status

Other visas (such as those granted under the EB-5 category) have a conditional term, after which more paperwork and filings are necessary. Permanent residency under an EB-1C visa is, however, unconditional once acquired.

What Are the Requirements to Apply for an EB-1C Visa?

Five essential EB-1C conditions must be met to qualify for a visa in this category.

Qualifying Relationship Test

When transferring an eligible employee from a foreign employer to a U.S. firm using an EB-1C visa, there must be a tie between the employers, such as a parent-subsidiary or affiliate relationship. This relationship must exist at the time the EB-1C petition is submitted. It’s also worth mentioning that the U.S. employer, the visa applicant, cannot be organized as a sole proprietorship.

Work Duration Requirement

In the three years preceding submitting the petition for the visa, the employee who will be the beneficiary of the EB-1C visa must have worked for the foreign firm for at least one year consistently. This condition applies regardless of whether a U.S. or international company already employs the individual.

Work Capacity (Role)

There are additional conditions based on the job the person did for the foreign company. The individual must have predominantly worked in a managerial or executive position. Working as a front-line manager is usually ineligible. Instead, the person must have worked as a function manager, accountable for an important function, department, or organization component, and exercising discretion over operations.

Full-Time Job Offer

EB-1C candidates must additionally establish that they have a full-time employment offer with a U.S. firm to work in an executive or managing capacity and have worked for the foreign employer in an executive or managerial capacity.

U.S. Company Background Requirement

The EB-1C visa petitioner must have been actively conducting business in the United States for at least one year before filing the petition.

Other immigrant visa categories may be explored if a U.S. corporation that wishes to apply for an EB-1C visa is unable to present adequate paperwork that fulfills all five of these conditions.

What Are the EB-1C Visa Application Process and Processing Times?

The applicant corporation must produce specific papers when applying for an EB-1C visa, including:

  • Statements signed by both the U.S. and foreign companies documenting their relationship.
  • Both businesses’ articles of incorporation, bylaws, tax reports, organizational charts, and stock ownership information.
  • The U.S. company’s business license, leasing agreement, or other paperwork to demonstrate that it has been in operation for at least a year.
  • Signed declarations from international and domestic firms describing the employee’s work description and daily tasks.

Our knowledgeable L1 visa attorney can assist you in determining whether your documents match the minimal standards. We can also help you prepare and submit your papers with the EB-1C immigration petition utilizing Form I-140.

The next step in the process would be either an “adjustment of status” from nonimmigrant to immigrant or visa processing, which involves obtaining a visa through a U.S. consulate in another country, depending on the immigrant employee’s status (whether the employee is currently in the U.S. or a foreign country).

EB-1C visa processing time frames vary. Unfortunately, this visa category does not allow accelerated or “premium” processing. Depending on the number of applicants, the first petition may take six months to five years to be entirely processed.

Our experienced L-1 visa attorney can help you avoid needless delays by ensuring that the material you provide with your application is comprehensive and satisfies the minimum standards for the visa type you’re after.

How Can an L-1B Visa Holder Get a Green Card?

Employees with specialized knowledge are granted L-1B visas for a maximum of five years, after which they must leave the country or change visas. For managers and executives, this means typically using the EB-1C path. L-1B visa holders are unlikely to have this choice.The L-1B holder may be able to make a case for an EB-2 (advanced degree) or an EB-3 visa (highly skilled worker). The EB-2 and EB-3 visas are immigrant visas, meaning they confer permanent status (Green Cards).

EB-2 Green Card

This immigrant visa is for those with remarkable skills in their area or a masters degree in that subject. You must have a job that clearly demands your exceptional talent or advanced degree to qualify for the EB-2.Learn what proof qualifies you for this green card by speaking with our experienced L1 visa attorney. According to the USCIS, you must meet at least three of the following requirements to qualify for an EB-2 green card:
  • Official academic credentials demonstrating that you hold a certificate, diploma, degree, or another equivalent award from a recognized educational institution in your area of outstanding skill.
  • Letters demonstrating at least ten years of full-time experience in your field.
  • A license or certification that allows you to practice your profession or occupation.
  • Proof of a big salary and other pay for services rendered, demonstrating your extraordinary skill.
  • Evidence of affiliation with one or more professional organizations.
  • Awards and recognition from government agencies, corporations, and professional organizations in your sector.

EB-3 Green Card

Professionals (bachelor’s degree holders), skilled (experienced) employees and unskilled (inexperienced) laborers are all eligible for the EB-3 green card. A professional is an applicant who has at least a bachelor’s degree from the United States or an equivalent foreign degree.A skilled worker has at least two years of experience or training in their field. An unskilled worker needs fewer than two years of training for their job. Each of these three EB-3 candidate groups has its own set of requirements.To qualify as a professional, you must first:
  • Show that you hold a bachelor’s degree from the United States or an equivalent foreign degree. You must also show that a bachelor’s degree is the standard admission qualification for the position. A bachelor’s degree cannot be replaced by experience or education.
To be considered a skilled worker, you must first:
  • Have at least two years of experience, training, or education matching the labor certification’s employment criteria. Training may be defined as having appropriate post-secondary education.
  • You’ve received a job offer in your profession.
To be considered an unskilled worker, you must meet the following requirements:
  • Demonstrate the capacity to carry out unskilled labor.
  • Have a permanent employment offer rather than a seasonal or temporary one.
Because of the specialist nature of their professions, most L-1B holders may fall under this group.

What Are the Steps From L-1B Visa to Green Card?

Moving from L-1B nonimmigrant status to a green card usually involves three phases. Regardless of the green card you pick, the first step will be to ask your workplace to sponsor you.

If that is not an option, you will need to find a sponsoring employer. The EB-1C and EB-2 with a National Interest Waiver are the only exceptions to this requirement. The following are the three steps:

PERM Labor Certification Process

Now that you’ve found a sponsor, they will need to apply for a PERM Labor Certification on your behalf. This entails going through a recruiting procedure with your employer to guarantee that no competent U.S. employees are available to fill your position and that you will be paid the prevailing salary in your region.

I-140 Form (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker)

Your company will have to file an I-140 petition for you when the PERM procedure is completed. Your “priority date” is when the USCIS receives your petition. You’ll have to wait until that priority date coincides with the Department of State’s monthly visa bulletin’s final action dates. The length of time you must wait is determined by the type of green card you apply for and your country of origin.

I-485 Form (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status)

You can submit your I-485 form to have your status changed to that of a lawful permanent resident once your priority date is current. If you live outside the United States, you must go through consular processing, which entails meeting with an immigration official at a U.S. consulate or embassy.

You’ll get your green card if you complete all of these stages. However, each step is tough to master the first time around. Before beginning the L-1B to green card procedure, we recommend that you consult our experienced L-1 visa attorney.

What is the Processing Time From L-1B Visa to Green Card

It usually takes eight months to complete the PERM Labor Certification. This covers the 30-day job order requirement, the additional 30-day waiting period following the job order, and the ETA-9089 application’s six-month processing time.

If your company is exposed to monitored recruiting or an audit, the PERM processing period may be two years.

Depending on the Service Center handling your petition, the I-140 may take up to 6 months to process. However, it will be best to wait until the priority date is current after filing your petition.

There is no wait time for EB-1 and some EB-2 regions. On the other hand, most others will have to wait for a few months to many years.

The I-485 form takes an average of 8-14 months to process. You will be an official legal permanent resident after it has been reviewed and accepted, albeit the USCIS may take another six months to mail your green card.

Overall, an L-1B to a green card processing period of a year and eight months is the best-case scenario. The worst-case situation is determined by how long you have to wait for your priority date.

Why Should You Seek Our Experienced L1 Visa Attorney?

Our experienced L1 visa attorney can help determine whether the U.S. office and the foreign entity are qualifying organizations, guide qualifying businesses or enterprise types, and develop a long-term strategy to ensure that all family members, including children, can obtain and maintain L1 visa benefits.Not all businesses are suitable for L1 visas, and a competent lawyer can explain the benefits and drawbacks of various company structures. Gateway Immigration Law offers company formation services for their investor visa clients.Our office has a stellar track record of L1 visa approvals. Please have a look at some of our results and client testimonials.If you are interested in obtaining an L1 visa for one of your employees, please call us or complete the online form on this page, and a Missouri L1 visa attorney will contact you as soon as possible. We value your privacy and will keep all of your personal information private.

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