Weston L-1A Visa Attorney

The world is becoming increasingly international, and multinational businesses have proliferated in recent years. Communication and flexibility are important when running a company, and sometimes that means transferring employees from branches or affiliates in one country to another. The L-1A intra-company transferee visa is a non-immigrant classification that allows a U.S. employer to bring a manager or executive to the U.S. office from an affiliated foreign office, or a foreign company to send an executive or manager to establish a branch in the States. An experienced Weston L-1A Visa Attorney can help you file your application.

Employer Qualifications

In order to qualify to bring a foreign employee to the U.S. under an L-1 visa, a U.S. company must:

  • Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company or office; and
  • Currently be doing business in both the U.S. and the foreign country.

Qualifying relationships between U.S. and foreign offices include parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, or branches of the U.S. company.

To be considered to be doing business in the U.S., the company must be regularly providing goods and/or services. Merely having an agent or office in the U.S. is not sufficient. The foreign company may conduct is U.S. business directly or through a qualifying organization. The company must conduct its business through the entire term of the employee’s U.S. residency under L-1A status.

Employee Qualifications

The employee must also meet certain qualifications to be eligible for the visa:

  • The employee must have been working for the foreign company for at least one continuous year during the three-year period immediately preceding application for the L-1A visa; and
  • His or her purpose in entering the U.S. must be to provide managerial or executive services for the U.S. employer.

To be considered an executive or managerial employee, the employee must have broad decision-making authority or direct or manage a subdivision or component of the organization. Low-level managerial authority is not sufficient, but a qualified employee may have supervisory duties over professional employees’ essential functions. There are no wage minimums for qualified employees.

Establishing a New Office

In order to bring an employee to the U.S. in order to establish a U.S. office, several requirements must be met:

  • The company must have secured physical premises sufficient to establish the new office;
  • The employee must have worked in an executive or managerial capacity for at least one continuous year in the three years preceding the visa application; and
  • The new office must support an executive or managerial position within one year of the visa approval.

Duration and Family

L-1A visas are generally valid for three years. However, if the executive or manager is coming to the U.S. to start a new office, the visa is only valid for one year. Two-year extensions may be granted, up to a cumulative maximum of seven years.

Employees may bring spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 under an L-1A visa. Spouses may apply for work authorization, which, if approved, carries no employment restrictions.

Blanket Petitions

If a U.S company wishes to facilitate the transfer of employees from foreign offices, it may file a petition for blanket L certification, establishing the qualified relationship with the foreign company in advance of any individual L-1A visa applications. Blanket L certification approval does not guarantee that any specific L-1A application will be approved, but it does make the process of transferring international employees simpler and faster.

If you are a Florida employer wishing to transfer a foreign employee to your U.S company, please contact a Weston L-1A Visa Attorney at the Weston Law Offices of Alex T. Barak for a free initial consultation.