The L-1A and L-1B visa classifications are meant for foreign nationals who are being temporarily transferred to their multi-national company’s USA office to occupy managerial posts or positions that require specialized knowledge. Many of these transferees enter the USA to establish a new U.S. office of the foreign company, which is why the L-1 classifications can be considered US business visa pathways.
Those entering USA to set up a new office can stay in the country for one year initially, then extend their stay up to seven years, and subsequently apply for permanent residence or citizenship. Others are granted a stay of three years, which can be extended up to seven years, followed by an application for permanent residence or citizenship.
There are several significant advantages of opting for an L1 Visa:
The US business visa application procedure for the L-1A and L-1B visas is identical. In both cases, the employer must submit a petition to gain authorization for certain qualified employees to live and work in USA:
Stage 1: The employer must fill and sign Form I-129 (Petition for Non-immigrant Worker) to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and include the filing fee, biometrics (if required) and supporting documents to prove eligibility.
Stage 2: USCIS will process the application and issue a receipt notice of the Form as well as a notification of the employee’s biometric appointment date.
Stage 3: Finally, USCIS will issue a final decision on the visa outcome in writing.
The L-1 business visa USA requirements apply to both the employee and the employer:
If the employee is being sent to USA to set up a new office, the employer must also provide evidence of:
Candidates must provide evidence of the following to prove that they meet the US business visa requirements:
Additional documents will be required if the candidate is entering USA to establish a new office. This requirement varies, depending on which classification (L-1A or L-1B) the candidate belongs to.
The US business visa processing time under L-1 classifications is defined by the Form I-129 processing time. As of May 2020, USCIS required at least two to four months to process an I-129 petition. This duration can vary depending on the caseload and prevalent immigration policies.
The US business visa cost for the L-1 classification comprises the biometrics fee ($85) and the Form I-129 filing fee ($460).
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