L-1A Executive Intracompany Transferee Visas
An executive intracompany transferee visa can be obtained by foreign nationals working for an overseas company that has a branch or affiliate office in the United States.
The L-1 visa differes from the classic work visa in that the process of obtaining it requires proof that the foreign company is indeed (or will be) structurally related to the US company. To prove such connection, you need to show that both companies are owned by the same person (either the same founder owns more than 50% in each company, or one company owns part or all of the other company). To apply for an L-1 visa, you will also need to provide documents confirming that both companies are “doing business”, and do not exist only on paper. There are two types of L-1 visa: L-1A or L-1B.
The L-1 A category applies to aliens who work for a company with a parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate in the U.S. These workers come to the U.S. as intracompany transferees who are coming temporarily to perform services in a managerial or executive capacity (L-1A) for a parent, branch, subsidiary or affiliate of the same employer that employed the professional abroad. Compensation level is not prescribed, but U.S. income must be sufficient to prevent the alien from becoming a public charge.
A manager’s visa can also be obtained for a newly opened subsidiary of a foreign business. In practice, you will need to show that the branch is actively preparing for doing business: for example, an office has already been rented, there are contracts, or negotiations are underway. All such activities to set up company operations should be documented. For a newly opened company, the L-1A visa will initially be issued for only 1 year, and not for 3 years.
L-1 A visa is available only to applicant who:
- has been employed abroad continuously for one year out of the last three years by a firm or corporation or other legal entity,
- in a managerial or executive capacity, and
- seeks admission to the U.S. to be employed in such capacity by a qualifying organization that is a parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of the foreign employer.