DC L-1 Visa Attorney

For foreign employees who wish to transfer from a corporation’s foreign base to a U.S. office, the L visa is usually the best route. The L-visa program for intra-company transfer employees can be a complex process and generally requires the assistance of a DC L-1 visa lawyer.

The DC L-1 visa attorneys at our firm are knowledgeable legal resources who can provide guidance to individuals who are looking to apply for this very specific type of visa. Please set up a consultation with one of our DC L-1 visa lawyers today to learn more.

L-1A Visas Defined

The L-1A intra-company visa applies to “qualified executives and managers” of multinational companies. It allows these people to transfer from their foreign employer’s location to work at a U.S. location of the same employer for up to seven years. The destination company must operate on a multinational basis for the entire time that the visiting L-1A employee remains in the country on L status.

Executive or managerial candidates are defined as being responsible for managing:

• The entire organization
• A specific department
• An expressed subdivision
• A component of the company that traditionally has an executive or manager

Another requirement is that the employee must demonstrate that they have supervisory responsibilities over professional or managerial employees, or must manage an essential function within the organization. “Essential function” is a somewhat nebulous term and is part of what a DC L-1 visa lawyer will need to prove to USCIS when constructing the application. A foreign national may be promoted with the intent to be transferred via L-1A to the appropriate qualifying position in the U.S, but low-level managers and non-supervisory employees are not eligible for L-1A status.

The other prong of the L-1 classification, the L-1B applies to employees with “unique knowledge” of their employer’s products or operations that will be used in the U.S. location.

L-1 Program Advantages

Neither L-1A nor L-1B visas require the petitioner to obtain a Labor Certification or Labor Condition Application from the U.S. Department of Labor. Another advantage is that some foreign firms with extensive ties in the U.S. can apply for “blanket approvals” for many employees at once. This can significantly lower the processing time for individual applicants and is available when any of the following conditions apply:

• The firm has applied for and received at least 10 L-1 visas in the last year
• The company has at least $25 million in U.S. sales over the past year
• The foreign enterprise has a minimum of 1,000 employees in the U.S.

Limits of the L-1 Program

USCIS closely scrutinizes L-1B visas. The government gives particular scrutiny to employers who subcontract their workers to other companies in the U.S. A recent modification to U.S. immigration law specifically prohibits third-party companies from serving as principal supervisors of L-1B workers. Now, all must be direct employees of the firm.

Initial L-1 visa authorizations allow an applicant to remain in the U.S. in L status for three years, but they will be granted for only one year if the employee is opening a new office in the U.S. L-1 visas can be renewed in two year increments. The total time limit on any L-1 authorization is seven years for L-1As, and five years for L-1Bs. Immediate family members may apply and be granted permission to follow their L-visa-holder family member to the U.S. in L-2 derivative status. L-2 spouses may also apply for U.S. work permits while they are living here.

If you are interested in applying for an L-1A or L-1B visa, an experienced DC L-1 visa attorney with our firm can walk you through the process of filing the correct forms and providing evidence that you meet all the necessary requirements to work temporarily in the United States.

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