1. Q: What is L1 visa?
A: The L-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa category which allows foreign nationals being transferred by their current employer to enter into the U.S. to manage an organization or a major function or division of any related organization.
2. Q: How do I qualify for L-1 visa?
A: To qualify for an L-1 visa, your:
• U.S. company to which you are being transferred must be a branch, subsidiary, affiliate or joint venture partner of your non-U.S. employer
• Employment in the U.S. company must be as a manager, executive or person with specialized knowledge and skills
3. Q: What is the difference between L-1A visa and L-1B visa?
A: The L-1A visa is for managers and executives. On L-1A visa you may apply for a Green Card without going through the process of Labor Certification.
The L-1B visa is for key employees (accountants, computer programmers, etc). You must have specialized knowledge of the company's products or procedures.
4. Q: What is the processing time for L-1 visa?
A: After submitting all documents to the USCIS it could take two to four months to process a normal L-1 and one to three weeks to process an L-1 covered by an L-1 Blanket approval.
5. Q: what is the duration of stay in L visa?
A: L1A Visa - Employees in Managerial and Executive positions (L1A visa) may be admitted initially for a three-year period if they intend to join an existing company or a one-year period if they intend to join a newly established company. After initial entry, extensions are granted in two-year increments for a maximum period of seven years.
L1B Visa - Employees in specialty positions (L1B visa) may be admitted initially for a three-year period if they intend to join an existing company or a one-year period if they intend to join a newly established company. After initial entry, extensions are granted in two-year increments for a maximum period of five years.
6. Q: Can I extend my stay on L-1 visa?
A: Yes. Extensions of two years at a time may be allowed until you have been in the U.S. for a total of seven years if you are a manager or executive, or for a total of five years if you are a specialized knowledge employee.
7. Q: Is it possible to speed up the process of procuring an L-1 visa?
A: Yes, the USCIS has instituted a program called Premium Processing. If the USCIS is paid an extra $1,225.00 on a separate check, the USCIS guarantees it will adjudicate the petition in 15 days or notify you if more evidence is needed.
8. Q: Who can qualify as L-1 Executive?
A: Any person who has worked for a corporation or company for at least one year as Manager or Executive in the preceding three years may qualify as L-1 Executive.
9. Q: What is the definition of a Manager for L-1 visa purpose?
A: The definition of manager for L-1 visas includes an employee who manages an essential function of the business within a qualifying organization. A special definition of Manager applies when you are coming to set up a new U.S. office or purchase a new business. The USCIS regulations provide that in a new office situation it must be shown that the new office will be able to sustain a Manager or Executive transferee within one year of approval of the petition. This may be done through submission of a statement by the employer to the USCIS including:
• Proposed nature of the office, describing the scope of the entity, its organization structure, and its financial goals
• Size of the U.S. investment and the financial ability of the foreign entity to remunerate the L-1 beneficiary and to commence doing business in the U.S.
10. Q: What is the minimum educational requirement and business experience for an Executive or Manager to get L-1 visa?
A: There is no minimum educational requirement for L-1 visa, however, you must have:
• Worked for a corporation as Executive or high level Manager, or
• Managed an essential function of the business, such as marketing or accounting functions with proper education to back it up, for at least one year in the preceding three years
11. Q: If I have worked as a Manager in a key position for a company or corporation in my country do I qualify for L-1 visa?
A: Yes, if your company can send you to the U.S. to work for a branch office, subsidiary or affiliate, or to open and manage a franchise or non-franchise business.
12. Q: Can I come to the U.S. on a visitor visa or Visa Waiver while the L-1 petition is being processed?
A: This is possible but not advisable. Under no account should you risk putting in jeopardy the issue of an L-1 visa by engaging in anything that might be construed as work. This could lead to your being accused of visa-fraud either on entry to the U.S. with a visitor visa/visa-waiver or when you apply for an L-1 visa at the U.S. consulate in your own country.
13. Q: How can I avail of faster green card processing on L-1 status?
A: L-1 foreign nationals who are managers and executives are eligible for the 'priority workers' category. Foreign nationals falling into this category may apply for permanent residency without having to undergo the time consuming labor certification process.
14. Q: Can I travel after applying for Green Card on L-1 status?
A: Yes, if you are in a valid L-1 status you do not need an Advance Parole if you have applied for a Green Card. However, you must be coming back in to work with the same employer that applied for your L-1. Your spouse and children can also travel and the same rules apply.
15. Q: What is the visa status given to the dependents of a L-1 visa?
A: L-2 visa is issued to the dependents of US L-1 visa holders. Dependents include the spouse and unmarried children below 21 years of age.
16. Q: Can my dependents work in the U.S. on L-1 visa?
A: L-2 spouse of an L-1 visa holder can now obtain a general Employment Authorization. This employment authorization must be applied for separately, though. The L-2 child is not permitted to work.
17. Q: What happens if my employer fires me while I am in the U.S. on an L-1 visa?
A: You have a short grace period in which you may look for a new job, and have it approved by the USCIS. Barring that, you need to return to your home country.
18. Q: Can I work for any other company other than the company that sponsored my L-1 visa?
A: No, you may not be permitted to work for a company other than the one that has sponsored your L-1 visa.
19. Q: Is there a requirement to pay L-1 workers the 'prevailing wage'?
A: No, there is no such requirement, but paying L-1 workers significantly below the prevailing wage or the wages of your U.S. resident staff is likely to result in the USCIS viewing your petition unfavorably.
20. Q: Can L-1 employees work part-time?
A: Yes, L-1 employees may work part-time.
21. Q: Is there any limit on the number of L-1 visas available in a year?
A: No, there is no annual cap on the number of L-1 visas.
22. What is L-1 Blanket petition?
A: The L-1 Blanket petition is a procedure through which a very large company can pre-qualify to transfer their L-1 employees. Once the L-1 Blanket is approved, the company can transfer personnel to the U.S. quickly and on short notice without having to file a petition with USCIS.