Below are some key requirements you must fulfill to apply for an L-1 Visa. For each requirement, we have included forms of evidence that you may submit to meet the requirement and other tips to help you prepare your petition.
The new U.S. office must have a corporate relationship with your foreign entity abroad where you have been employed as a manager, executive, or worker with specialized knowledge. This means that the new U.S. office must be a parent, affiliate, subsidiary or branch of the foreign entity, and that both the U.S. office and the foreign entity must continue to share common ownership and control.
+ How do I demonstrate that my new business in the United States has a qualifying relationship with a foreign company?
Some of the evidence you may submit to show that your new U.S. business has the requisite corporate relationship to your overseas employer includes:
+ How do I demonstrate that I have worked the required amount of time abroad?
Some of the evidence you may submit to document your overseas employment for 1 out of the last 3 years includes:
+ How do I show that my overseas employment was in a qualifying capacity?
Some of the evidence you may submit to demonstrate that your overseas employment was in a managerial, executive or specialized knowledge capacity includes:
+ How do I prove that the new U.S. office has sufficient space to do business?
When filing for the purpose of opening a new office in the United States, some of the evidence you may submit to demonstrate sufficient physical space for the new U.S. office to do business includes:
The “new office” L-1 visa is meant to facilitate a “ramp up” period for a new U.S. office of a foreign entity. This period is limited to one year. After that time, an extension of the L-1 visa is available if the new office meets this requirement. What makes an office active and operating will differ depending on the nature of the business. Typically it will involve factors such as hiring additional employees, fulfillment of contract orders, having a revenue stream, or holding inventory, if applicable
While a new office may be opened on an L-1 visa by someone working within your organization in a managerial, executive or specialized-knowledge capacity, after one year the office must be sufficiently active to support a manager or executive. During the first year ramp up, a manager or executive may be required, as a practical matter, to engage in many “hands-on” tasks that go beyond inherently managerial or executive tasks. After the first year, however, the manager or executive will be required to focus primarily on managerial or executive tasks in order to obtain an extension of the L-1 visa.
+ After one year, how do I demonstrate that the new office is fully functioning and that it will support my role as a manger or executive?
Some of the evidence you may submit to demonstrate that the new office is fully functioning includes:
I’m ready to apply, what’s next?
Once you have determined that the L-1 visa classification is the best pathway for you and you are ready to apply, you can find the full application process and legal requirements for an executive or manager and for a specialized-knowledge worker outlined on USCIS’s website.
1) The spouses of L-1 nonimmigrants are authorized to engage in employment, upon application to USCIS and receipt of an employment authorization document (EAD).
2) When submitting evidence to USCIS, it is important to fully and clearly explain how the submitted evidence establishes eligibility for petition approval. The more clearly the petitioner can articulate his or her eligibility, the more efficiently and consistently USCIS can review and process the petition and determine eligibility for the benefit sought.