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What is an L-1A Visa?

An L-1A visa is used to allow an intra-company transfer of a qualified executive or manager within a multinational company. Essentially, an L-1A visa allows an employee of a multinational company to legally work for up to seven years in the United States for one of the company’s affiliated U.S. companies, or it allows the employee the opportunity to establish an office for the multinational company within the United States. In order for the employee to continue their seven-year legal stay in the United States, the company must continually operate as a multinational company for the duration of the employee’s seven-year transfer.

To receive classification as an executive or manager, the employee seeking to participate in the transfer must be employed in one of the following duties:

  • Directing management
  • Managing an organization
  • Managing a department
  • Managing a subdivision
  • Managing a component of the company
  • Supervisory responsibilities over professional employees
  • Supervisory responsibilities over managerial employees
  • Manages an essential function within the organization

Additional requirements include:

  • The transferee must have worked for at least one full continuous year with the foreign affiliate company within three years prior to transferring to the United States affiliated company
  • Within that one-year requirement, the transferee must have been employed as either an executive, manager, or specialized knowledge employee
  • The transferee may not be a low-level manager (must be able to show that he or she is established as a higher-level manager or a higher-level supervisor)
  • Employers of the transferee must obtain an approved petition from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for each transferee (exception: if the employer has a blanket L-1 petition approval)

A multinational company may be able to transfer as many employees as necessary to the United States affiliated company. There is no annual limitation on the number of L-1A employees that can be approved to transfer. Additionally, there are no specific wage requirements for the chosen L-1A employees. Thus meaning, while an employee may be transferred to a United States company, the company the transferee came from may still determine the wage the employee receives.

It is important for the transferee to understand that they will not be receiving a seven-year L-1A visa automatically. The visa is given out in increments. An employee that is transferred in order to establish a new office will only be allowed a maximum of an initial one-year visa. Any other employee will be allowed a maximum initial stay of three years. Whether an employee is sent to establish an office, or work with an already established office, each employee will have to request an extension to stay longer than their one or three-year visa allows. Requests for extensions will be granted in increments of up to two additional years. The increments will only be granted until the transferee has reached the maximum seven-year limit.

Moreover, the L-1A visa will also allow the transferee to be accompanied in the United States with his or her spouse and unmarried children who are under twenty-one years of age. These family members will have to seek an L-2 nonimmigrant classification visa. If approved, this visa will typically last the same period of stay as the employee. Additionally, spouses of the L-1A visa holder may also apply for work authorization.

If you are in the United States under an L-1A visa, or if you are trying to enter the United States under an L-1A visa, it is important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney. The New York immigration attorneys at Bretz & Coven, LLP have a long history of zealous, knowledgeable, and honest advocacy on behalf of immigrants. We can ensure that your visa stays up-to-date and that your entrance into the United States will go as smoothly as possible. To schedule your consultation, contact our qualified New York immigration lawyers today at (212) 267-2555 or fill out our contact form.

Immigration Consequences of Criminal and Fraudulent Conduct
The immigration consequences of criminal or fraudulent conduct can be harsh and often illogical. Even a very minor offense could have a dramatic immigration consequence, including deportation, detention without bond, being denied naturalization, a visa or re-entry into the United States. Likewise, the use of fake or fraudulent documents, aliases, and other misrepresentations can have similar immigration consequences. Kerry Bretz and Bretz & Coven have been counseling non-citizen criminal defendants, as well as their lawyers, for over 20 years. We have a long history of strategizing deportation and removal defenses, as well as applications for waivers, in very complicated cases.

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