WHAT IS THE L1 VISA?
It is a work visa that applies when a foreign company decides to open a branch or subsidiary in the United States, transferring an employee from an management or executive position to work in the American company. The investor has the option of opening a new business or buy an existing business or a franchise in the US.
To qualify, the employee to be transferred must have worked for at least one consecutive year for the past three years , the foreign company.
The L-1 visa covers the investor and his family including all unmarried children under 21 years old.
In addition, the L1 visa holder must work exclusively for the American branch or subsidiary and the spouse can apply for a permission to work freely in any American company . Children can study and live legally with their parents , but they do not get a work permit.
How to obtain the L1 visa
The candidate should follow two steps to obtain permanent residence in the United States:
The American company is the petitioner. The process then will occur in two phases: The first will start in the United States Immigration and the second will be at the Consulate/American Embassy in the country of nationality of the company. Or directly in the United States if the petitioner lives or is already in the country, applying for a change of status.
You can only ask for an L1 visa at the Consulate after the Immigration approved the petition in the US.
You will need to demonstrate the company’s facilities and how it will be developed in the following years throughout a Business Plan containing, among other items, the future employment, finances, operational and organizational structure with financial projections.
The L1 visa is issued for a period of one year initially, in order to start business and may be renewed for another two years (the L1 visa holder can be authorized to stay in US for a maximum period of seven years). The visa renewal will be granted after analysis of growth and financial data from the first year of the subsidiary among other considerations.
Once renewed for two years, the L1 visa holder and their dependents can apply for a permanent residence. The American company will be the “sponsor” of the Green Card.