MANAGERS AND EXECUTIVES (EB-1)

Are you a foreign national manager or executive for a multinational corporation, or a foreign company with an office or affiliated entity in the United States? Do you have permission to come to the U.S. to work and live through your company? Or, are you a representative or agent of a U.S. office of a multinational or company, who wishes to bring a foreign national manager or executive from abroad to live and work?

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If either of the above descriptions describe you, then you should consider the EB-1C Immigrant and Green Card eligible visa category. This visa allows foreign nationals who are executives or managers of U.S. affiliated entities abroad, the opportunity to immigrate to the United States with relatively little difficulty. Unlike with visas in the EB-3 category, because its an EB-1 subcategory, no costly and time-consuming Department of Labor, labor certification process is necessary.

Who is Eligible?

Foreign national executives or managers who have been employed abroad within the same firm or corporation as the sponsoring U.S. entity, or it’s abroad-based: affiliate, subsidiary or parent entity, may be eligible. It will principally depend on whether they have been employed abroad in that managerial or executive capacity for at least one year in the last three years prior to entry into the United States. The other factor will be the condition of the U.S. office/affiliate looking to employ them. If the United States company sponsoring them has been “doing business” for U.S. Immigration Legal purposes for at least a year; as an entity related to the foreign one that the foreign employee is coming from, then the foreign manager or executive is likely eligible. Note doing business for purposes of U.S. Immigration Law means: providing goods and/or services on behalf of a legally-operated business AND DOES NOT INCLUDE the mere presence of an agent or office of the qualifying organization in the U.S. and abroad. The only other requirement is that the U.S. employer will have to submit a statement that the foreign national will be employed as an executive or manager in the United States, as well. If you are interested in pursuing this visa or a similar one, please feel free to play around and experiment with our employment-based visa eligibility quiz, available here

Other Options for Managers and Executives

It is important to consider, depending on the individual circumstances, that there may be quicker, less expensive, and potentially better options for foreign national Managers and Executives, than the EB-1C. The EB-1C is an Immigrant Visa and thus applications for it are often subjected to longer processing times, higher degrees of scrutiny and more expense, than similar non-immigrant visas. Some of these similar non-immigrant visas, even allow the foreign national any easy path to seek a Green Card and Permanent Residency in the future. One downside of the EB-1C classification is that premium processing is not available, so if the Manager or Executive that the employer is seeking to sponsor is abroad during the application process, it can take a very long time to process the EB-1C petition.

Thus, the L-1 which is kind of the equivalent non-immigrant visa to the EB-1C for “intra-company transfers” (really means Executives and Managers or employees with “specialized knowledge), can be a very attractive alternative. Especially considering if an additional fee is paid, you can have “Premium Processing” of your application and get a decision within 15 days. Thus, the foreign national Executive or Manager who otherwise fits the criteria of the EB-1C petition, can quickly come to the United States with L-1 status, and then later apply to adjust their status to the EB-1C while in the U.S. The whole time, living and working with their approved  L-1 Nonimmigrant status while they leisurely await the decision on their EB-1C Green Card-eligible immigrant status. Like the EB-1C however, the employee will have had to have been employed abroad for an entity related to the United States entity, for at least one continuous year in the last year years, and typically employed in an Executive or Managerial capacity (which have strict legal definitions), unless they can be properly characterized as an employee with “specialized knowledge.” Also, like the EB-1C, employers will not have to go through the time intensive and expensive process of getting an approved Department of Labor Certification, before bringing their qualified foreign employees to the U.S. to work. For more information on the L-1 Visa, please click the button below:

Another alternative to consider to the EB-1C and the L-1 Nonimmigrant Visa is the H-1B Visa.

This Nonimmigrant Visa is available to “speciality occupation” workers, which really means workers with Bachelor’s Degrees and/or equivalent qualifications. This Nonimmigrant Visa, like the L-1, is unique in that it allows its holders to pursue Immigrant Visas (that allow Green Cards), without prejudice. This can be a great option for bringing a future Executive or Manager from abroad to work for your company, in that capacity, when they otherwise don’t fit the criteria required for an EB-1C or an L-1. Unlike the L-1 however, there is a numerical cap to the number of approved H-1B visas (65,000 annually), with an additional 20,000 visas on top of that number, reserved for those foreign nationals who are new graduates of U.S. Master’s programs.

Additionally, and unfortunately, unlike the L-1 or the EB-1C, the H-1B requires an approved U.S. Department of Labor Certification for the position that the foreign national is being hired for, and this can be an expensive and very time-intensive process. However, if the foreign national isn’t qualified for an L-1 because they haven’t worked abroad in an executive or managerial capacity (or in a specialized knowledge capacity), for a foreign entity affiliated with the sponsoring U.S. employer for at least 1 out of the last 3 years, the H-1B may be the best option available. Always worth considering with respect to the H-1B Visa is if the foreign national may qualify for an Immigrant Visa via the EB-2 Visa (if they have an Advanced Degree) or the EB-3 Visa (if they have a Bachelor’s Degree or foreign equivalent).

However, as with all Immigrant Visas even if they qualify for one of these two, it may be much more delayed than applying for the H-1B first, and then pursuing these longer term options later; once the employee is living and working in the United States. For more information on the H-1B Visa, please click the button below:

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