The ‘American Dream’ has always fascinated and attracted individuals from all over the world. Most people dream and look forward to working in the United States of America at one time or another. However, dreams aside individuals will have to first get an opportunity to work in the States and once they do, they will have to cross a few hurdles such as visa procurement. Based on the needs of the individual, the visa that has to be availed varies.
What is L1 Visa ?
An L1 visa is one of the most commonly procured visas by individuals who wish to work in the United States of America, under the L-1 category. L-1 is a non-immigrant visa and can be used for a short period of time, i.e., from three months for Iranian nationals, to a period of five years for citizens from India and Japan. This visa is based on a schedule of non-reciprocity and the maximum period for which an individual can stay in the States under this visa, is seven years.
This type of visa is available to those work in companies with offices in the United States of America and overseas. Foreign workers can also move to the company’s US office after working overseas in the same company for a minimum of one year within a period of three years before admission in the States. The relationship between the Non-US employers and US employers must be in either of the four ways - headquarters and branch; subsidiary and parent; affiliates owned by the company or sister companies that is owned by the mutual parent. The L-1 visa allows foreign corporations that do not have an office in the USA to send an employee to the States so as to establish one, but with extra requirements.
Types of L-1 Visa and Procedures:
There are two subcategories of L-1 visa and these are:
L-1A visa that is meant for managers and executives.
- This visa is meant for a period of 7 years and after the visa has expired, the individual can qualify for the status of L-1 only after working overseas for a minimum period of one year for the subsidiary, parent, branch or affiliate of the company in US.
L-1B visa meant for workers who have specialized knowledge.
- This visa is meant for a period of 5 years. Once the visa has expired, the applicant can qualify for L-1 status again only after working abroad for the U.S Company’s subsidiary, branch, affiliate or parent for a minimum of 1 year.
There are two types of procedures for L-1:
Regular L-1 visa which has to be applied for the individual and approved by the USCIS.
- This visa can be procured by filing a petition with USCIS.
- Blanket L-1 visa is provided to those candidates that meet specific criteria. The USCIS would have already decided the company’s eligibility hence the applicant will only have to provide a copy of the blanket petition that has been approved along with necessary documents.
Requirements for L1 Visa
There are a number of basic requirements for l1 Visa and there are also certain specific necessities that are applicable to employers and employees.
The basic requirements include:
- The U.S company(branch, subsidiary, etc.) petitioning for the visa, must have a qualifying relationship with the parent company.
- There must be enough physical space for a new office (if applicable).
- For the entire period of the visa holder’s stay in the States, the company that petitioned for this visa must be engaged in business as an employer in the States and a minimum of one other country.
Requirements for Employee - L-1A:
- The employee should have worked overseas for a company for a minimum period of one continuous year within 3 years prior to his/her admission to the States.
- Employee must have been in the managerial or executive position in order to qualify.
- Employee must be going to the States in order to provide his/her services in a managerial or executive capacity for a qualifying organizations such as a branch of the employer.
- The holder of this visa must have intentions to depart the country after completion of the stay.
Requirements for employee- L-1B:
- The employee must have worked overseas for a company for a minimum period of one continuous year within 3 years prior to his/her admission to the States.
- The employee will have to work with the company to provide specialized services to the qualifying organization
- Visa holder must intend to leave the country after completion of work.
How to Apply L1 Visa ?
In order to apply for an L-1 visa, the following steps will have to be adhered to:
- A petition will have to be filed with USCIS or United States Citizenship and Immigration Services on Form I-129.
- Supporting documents proving that the company in the U.S.A and the foreign subsidiary, parent or branch meets the qualifying requirements.
- Approval of Form I-129 will be provided by USCIS on Form I-797, Notice of Action and this can used as a basis of application by the alien who will be allowed to apply for issuance of visa at consulate or embassy of the U.S.A.
- Applicants who are already in the States during the filing of I-129 can ask for a change in status from non-immigrant.
- Spouse and children of the applicant may receive L-2 visas. Read More L2 Visa Interview Questions and Answers
Documents Required for L1 Visa
The following documents are required for L-1 visa:
- Current and old passports(if any)
- Recent passport size photograph
- Filled in Form DS-160
- Interview appointment letter (original and photocopy)
- Receipt number of I-129 petition along with a physical copy
- Visa issuance fee demand draft
- Work experience letters from previous employers
- Certificates of training undertaken, degree (original with photocopy)
- Bank records for previous 6 months
- Information regarding the U.S company
- Photographs of place of employment
- Contact details of two coworkers from previous jobs
Fees for L1 Visa
The fee applicable for L-1 visa is as follows:
- Filing fee of $325
- In case individuals require premium processing, then an additional fee of $1,225 will have to be paid.
- Detection and Fraud Prevention fee of $500
- An additional fee of $2,250 may be applicable based on circumstances
L1 Visa Interview Questions
Will the spouse of the L-1 visa holder be eligible to work in the States?
Yes, the spouse of an L-1 visa holder can work in the States using an L-2 visa.
Can children of the L-1 visa holder receive employment in the States?
No, children of the L-1 visa holder cannot receive paid employment.
What is the basis for denial of L-1 visa?
An L-1 visa can be denied if the officer believes that the company filing the L-1 petition is not qualified or if the company’s subsidiary, branch or affiliate is not qualified.
Is ‘Dual Intent’ allowed for L-1 visa holders?
Yes, dual intent is allowed for L-1 visa holders.
What are the circumstances under which the petitioner will have to pay additional $2,250 as fee?
The petitioner will have to pay an additional $2,250 as fee if-
- The company employs over 50 individuals in the U.S.A
- More than half the employees fall under L- nonimmigrant status or h1b status.