An L-1 Visa is for intracompany managers or executives, or individuals who have “specialized knowledge,” and who are being transferred from a company abroad to work in the U.S. for a parent, branch, affiliate or subsidiary of that foreign business. For new U.S. companies, initial L-1 status may be granted for one year and may be extended to a total maximum of seven years (five years if specialized knowledge). The L-1 Visa applicant must have been employed by the foreign entity for at least one continuous year in the past three years preceding nonimmigrant entry into the U.S. For certain multinational companies, the “blanket L” process may be available.
For visa consideration, the following is a list of documents required for initial review:
Articles of Incorporation or Organization;
Evidence linking the foreign enterprise with the U.S. corporation such as stock certificates (e.g., all of, or a majority of the stock of the U.S. corporation is issued to the benefit of the overseas business or owned by the same individuals in similar percentage);
Lease or deed of operating premises, accompanied by interior and exterior photos identifying the business;
Copy of contract and purchase documents, if purchasing an existing business;
Bank letter and statements providing financial assets and proof of transfer of funds from the foreign entity abroad sufficient to purchase the controlling interest in the U.S. entity, and to commence operations in the U.S.;
Proposed Organizational Chart or list including prospective names, job titles and descriptions, and qualifications;
Occupational and/or business licenses;
Copies of invoices, contracts, and the like for commencement of business in the U.S.;
Proposed Business Plan including description of business with three and five year projections, prepared by a professional.
FOREIGN ENTITY (with certified translations when necessary):
Proof of legal existence of the enterprise such as Articles of Incorporation with stock certificates confirming the ownership;
Tax returns from at least two years prior;
Current Financial Statement/Balance Sheet;
Letter from bank(s) with statements showing the business has been operating in good standing for the past two years;
Current lease or deed of operating premises;
Evidence such as contracts, invoices, statements, billings, and the like showing viability in transacting business for the past two years;
Proof of number of employees and/or subcontractors for the past two years;
Organizational Chart or list including names, job titles and descriptions, and qualifications, including your position;
Photos of the operating premises and job sites;
Brochures, website information, and the like depicting the scope and nature of the business.
Resume and proof of information stated therein;
Copies of diplomas and professional qualifications;
Signed and dated letters of recommendation from individuals who can attest to your Executive/Managerial abilities and experience;
Tax Revenue Returns or the like from the previous two years evidencing your employment with the foreign entity.
The above may be flexible when considering the needs of the respective organization. Spouses and children receive L-2 Visa status. Spouses may later apply for Employment Authorization through the USCIS, permitting them to obtain a Social Security Number and seek employment with any employer. A L-1 principal nonimmigrant, however, may only be employed by the petitioning entity.