The L-1A Visa
The L-1A visa is a pathway for intra-company transfers of non-immigrant workers. It allows U.S. employers to transfer an overseas employee working as an executive or manager in an affiliated foreign office to the U.S. office. It also allows a foreign company that does not have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States, in order to establish its business operations in U.S. An L-1A visa holder can live and work in the U.S. on a temporary basis. Thus, the employee is identified as a ‘non-immigrant’ worker.
Employees being transferred to an existing U.S. office are allowed an initial stay period of three years. Employees entering the United States to establish a new office are allowed an initial stay period of one year. The initial validity period can be repeatedly extended for additional two-year increments, until the employee completes 7 years in the U.S. The maximum validity period for this visa is 7 years.
L-1A Visa Benefits
The L-1A visa is beneficial for intra-company transferees, as well as foreign-based companies planning to establish affiliate offices in the United States.
Eligibility Requirements for the L-1A Visa
The L-1A visa eligibility conditions apply to both employers and employees.
To qualify for this visa classification, the employer must:
To be suitable for this visa, the employee must:
If the employer is based outside of the U.S. and wishes to send an executive or managerial employee to establish a business in the United States, the following L-1A visa requirements must be fulfilled:
L-1A Visa Process
The application process for the L-1A visa is streamlined and well-defined. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the authority that determines eligibility of applicants, and grants the visa to qualified candidates.
Step 1: The employer is required to file a ‘Form I-129 Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker’ – including the filing fee ($460) – on behalf of the employee. This includes all supporting L-1A visa documents required to be submitted as evidence, as well as a duplicate copy of the form and supporting documents. This application should be filed to the Direct Filing Address.
Step 2: Once the application has been processed, the employer will receive a receipt notice from USCIS. USCIS will also issue a notice for the biometrics appointment date. The biometrics fee is $85.
Step 3: The employer will receive a written notice of the decision made by the USCIS.
L-1A Visa Processing Time
An I-129 Form for the L-1A intra-company transfer visa is typically processed within 6 months. However, processing times may vary.