The L-1 Visa is the ideal choice for sending a foreign national Manager or Executive from an office abroad, to the United States to live and work for a U.S. office, parent or subsidiary, of that foreign company. The L-1 although less often utilized for this purpose, can also be used by a foreign entrepreneur to expand their successful business into the United States, by enabling them to open up a U.S. branch or affiliated business enterprise

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The L-1 Visa is a flexible nonimmigrant visa that allows multinational companies and those with both U.S. and foreign offices, to send qualified employees from foreign offices, to the United States to live and work in the United States. The employees must be sent to work either at the U.S. branch of the foreign company, or the U.S. based parent or subsidiary of the foreign company. Additionally, the employee must have been employed abroad for the related entity, for one continuous year of the last three years,  and the employee must meet one of the following definitions for both the time they worked abroad, and for their future position in the United States:

  • L-1A Executives and Managers. The conditions necessary to meet the USCIS definition of “manager” and/or “executive,” are quite stringent. To meet the “executive” definition, the employee must have had the ability to make decisions of wide latitude without much oversight. To meet the definition of “manager,” the employee should have supervised and controlled the work of other professional employees and managed the organization, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the organization.  This definition may also be satisfied if the employee managed an essential function of the organization at a high level, without direct supervision from others.
  • L-1B Employees with Specialized Knowledge. To meet the definition of an employee with “specialized knowledge,” generally the employee must have attained valuable knowledge of the company’s “…product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise…” of the processes and procedures of the company.

If the employee can be said to satisfy one of these definitions above, in addition to the time requirement of having been employed in that same capacity for the foreign enterprise related to the U.S. entity, then the L-1 Visa is a particularly attractive visa option for employers and employees. Why? Well, although it is a nonimmigrant visa, it is one of the only non-immigrant visas that simultaneously allows the holder to seek routes to Permanent Residency (a Green Card), while they have it, without prejudice. Also, a route is readily provided to the employee should their employer choose to sponsor them for an EB-1C visa, which has very similar requirements to the L-1A, it is just subjected to a higher degree of scrutiny by the authorities (being an Immigrant Visa); in addition to being a more time-intensive and costly process. Additionally, the L-1 Visa is highly desirable for employers because it is not subjected to the U.S. Department of Labor’s very expensive and time-intensive, Labor Certification process. Thus, if the employer sponsors a foreign employee for the L-1 Visa, they can have a decision in as little as 15 days (if they elect to pay an extra fee for Premium Processing). Thus, this visa is a top choice for employers in the U.S. looking to bring in corporate talent from abroad; assuming the employees from abroad can fit the definitions.

The L-1A for Foreign Entrepreneurs:

While this visa is often utilized to send qualified employees from abroad to U.S. affiliated branches, parents and subsidiaries, it can also be used by foreign national entrepreneurs to expand their operations into the United States. In doing so and growing their business, these foreign entrepreneurs and their families also gain the opportunity to live and work in the United States as part of that process. And, unlike with other Non-immigrant statuses (such as the Treaty Investment Visas), the L-1A offers a direct path for pursuing an EB-1C Immigrant Visa and a Green Card; in the future, after the U.S. operation has been developed a bit. To qualify for this visa as an entrepreneur however, there are some strict requirements. First, you’ll need to have an existing business in your country that is viable, and that you’ve had for at least a year out of the last three years. This business should be organized in the form of a Corporation ideally, even if you are the sole owner of it. If it is organized as a sole proprietorship, petitioning for this type of visa can unfortunately be much more complicated. Next, depending on how your entity abroad is organized, you may have to document that you have hired ample help and made the proper accommodations to run your foreign office in your absence. Then, in addition to documenting your importance as an owner operator who has performed executive and/or managerial roles; and whom will continue to play a vital role in developing the U.S. operation, you’re going to need to satisfy the following:

  • Display that the employer (the abroad entity) has secured sufficient physical space to house the U.S. enterprise; and,
  • Show that the intended U.S. office will support an executive or managerial position within one year of the approval of the petition.

Unlike using this visa in the traditional way to send Executives or Managers from abroad to work in similar capacities, at Parent and Subsidiary countries in the United States; in which case the employees will be allowed a maximum initial period of three years, entrepreneurs are only allowed a maximum initial stay of one year. HOWEVER, entrepreneurs who make use of this visa and can effectively grow the U.S. operation into something viable within a year, willbe allowed to seek extensions in two-year increments up to a maximum time of 7 years. Once the U.S. operation is sufficiently viable and large, the L-1A enables the alien entrepreneur who grew the operation in some cases, to apply for a Green Card under the EB-1C category. However, this can be a complicated transition for the entrepreneur and his family to make, and the advice and assistance of a qualified Immigration Attorney can be very important in obtaining a Green Card through an L-1A Visa. Unlike the EB-5 investment option however, the L-1A is potentially available to foreign entrepreneurs that don’t have at least $500,000 dollars worth of capital available to invest. HOWEVER, due to the strict initial maximum one-year validity period for employees sent to establish new offices, and the pressure to quickly make the U.S. enterprise viable and profitable (for getting an extension); the alien entrepreneur who is seeking to make use of this option, should have sufficient capital available to get their operation going in the United States. Additionally, they must have the capital available at a minimum, to make a compelling case that: (1) the U.S. office will support a managerial or executive position within a year; AND, (2) to secure sufficient physical space in the United States for the operation, as required by U.S. Immigration Law. The key questions here are, do you have a successful business abroad? Then, do you have the money and the desire to expand your current foreign business into the United StatesIf the answer to either of these questions is no, then you should probably consider the Treaty Investment Visas (E-1 and E-2), if you are entrepreneurial minded and have a desire to start and run a business here in the United States. If the answer to both of those questions is yes, then the L-1A visa may be the right visa for you. Especially, if you have ambitions of permanently moving and living in the United States, and if you are unable to make the initial investment required for the EB-5. However, even if you determine that this visa is right for you, the journey and the road might be a long one. Thus, it is highly advisable that you seek the help of an experienced Immigration Attorney, to ensure that you have the highest chances of success possible in attaining your Immigration and Business goals. Also read about L-VISA APPLICATION PROCESS OVERVIEW Related from: I-129, PETITION FOR A NONIMMIGRANT WORKER If you’d like to hear more about similar visas based on investment and/or starting new business enterprises, please select one of the options below:

As an employer, can I obtain more than one L-1A visa for my employees at the same time?

The short answer to this question is generally no. Unless you are a very large employer, you generally have to file L-1A visa applications for each individual employee that you wish to send to the United States. However, if your company is large and has at least three or more domestic (in the U.S.) and/or foreign branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates; and, if you have a U.S. office that has been doing business for at least a year, then you may be able to qualify for a blanket petition that would enable you to easily send employees to work for your U.S. office(s). Additionally however, you would need to be able to satisfy at least one of the following three criterias in order to qualify for “blanket L visas:” (1) your organization(s) have had at least 10 L-1 approvals in the last 12-month period; (2) your organization has U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates who have combined annual sales of at least $25 million; or, (3) your organization has a U.S.  work force of at least 1,000 employees. Obviously, the majority of companies do not meet these qualifications, but if you as an employer does, we are more than happy to help you put together a “blanket L visa” petition. If you do not however, do not fear and we can also help you accomplish your immigration needs.

If I get an L visa can I bring my family with me when I come to the United States?

Yes you can. If you are approved for an L-1 visa then generally you can bring your spouse and your unmarried children into the United States with you, for the same period of stay that you are granted, as L-2s. Your spouse will also be generally eligible to seek employment while they are in the United States by filing a form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

How much does it cost to apply for an L visa?

The current base fee for applying for an L visa is $460 dollars to USCIS, and this does not include the costs of any legal representation you may enlist, or any supplemental fees associated with each application. For some larger companies that have a lot of U.S.-based L-1 and H-1B visa holding employees, there may be some additional fees due to USCIS.

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    The L-1 process is very complicated, so the best chance of success comes by working with an experienced attorney. We are highly experienced in US Immigration law. Our attorneys, translators and support staff will work with you individually to give you the best chance of success possible. Your immigration status is something you should entrust to a professional. Call the top New York Immigration Attorneys at (888) ZONTLAW / (888) 9668529


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    With more than a decade in the field, Julia Greenberg has earned a reputation as a highly successful immigration attorney. Since 2006, she has represented countless corporate and individual clients in complex matters ranging from removal (deportation) to asylum, family, business and investor’s petitions, and employment-based cases.

    Authorized to practice in immigrant courts throughout the United States, Ms. Greenberg may also appear before the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Northern, and Eastern districts of New York, and the New York Supreme Court. Ms. Greenberg takes pride in helping clients who have been unable to get satisfactory results elsewhere. Her honesty and compassion, combined with her expertise and vast knowledge of immigration law make her a formidable opponent in court – resulting in a long list of satisfied clients and positive referrals.

    Outside of court, Ms. Greenberg often addresses Congress regarding relevant legislation. She also devotes her spare time to making presentations at local events, where she answers questions for New York’s immigrant community.Ms. Greenberg is a member of the New York City Bar Association, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), where she is a member in good standing in its New York Chapter. Ms. Greenberg is also fluent in Russian.

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    • Avatar Konstantin ★★★★★ 4 months ago
      From the beginning to the end an exceptional service. We had a marriage on US citizen case. Outcome is a green card without even going on the interview. If you have immigration question, look no more. They will get the job done.
      … More you Julia, you're the best !
    • Avatar nana bulia ★★★★★ 8 months ago
      Today I’m really thrilled with the fact that I achieved success in my immigration case and it wouldn’t have been without a great professionalism of my immigration lawyer Mrs. Julia Greenberg. Compassion is Julia’s one of many other excellent … More qualities as a lawyer. She focuses on how others feel. Without compassion, you cannot put yourself in your client’s shoes or fully understand the issues your client faces. A lot of thanks to her and the best wishes in her carrier and personal life.
    • Avatar randa elkhashab ★★★★★ a year ago
      This firm is just amazing ! I wouldn’t have picked a better immigration lawyer. Julia is amazing she is very understanding and took care of my husbands and I case very throughly. My case was a bit complicated and she helped us manage it … More . She helped us prepare very well . Julia was also very responsive at all times . I recommend her team in a heart beat to anyone who needs help in immigration matters. Amazing results!
    • Avatar Kate Burtsev ★★★★★ a year ago
      All through our immigration process, which took about 5 years, Julia Greenberg demonstrated professionalism, exemplary work ethics and deep knowledge of immigration law. She was always available and provided thought through answers to our … More multiple questions. In my opinion, what really distinguishes Julia from other immigration lawyers we have worked with is that she is willing to go the extra mile for her clients. The fact that the prosecutor in our case complimented Julia for her outstanding effort serves as the best proof of her professionalism.
    • Avatar Sheroz Temurov ★★★★★ 2 years ago
      Julia Greenberg is a marvelous attorney based on my experience. Not only is she very professional and quick to react, she is also comprehensive which is a big thing for me. She has been diligent with my case and has been with me every step … More of the way, which has not only made this easier, but also less stressful. To every wondering whether or not to go to her, I recommend that you do because she is excellent at her job which makes her an excellent attorney. I’am so thankful for her and thankful for everything she has done.
    • Avatar Mirkhat Omuraliev ★★★★★ 7 months ago
      Julia is a very professional lawyer. Helped throughout the process and was always attentive. Thanks to her, I won my case.
      Best service!
    • Avatar Adaptor ★★★★★ 7 months ago
      Julia is a very professional lawyer. Helped throughout the process and was always attentive. Thanks to her, I won my case.
      Best service!
    • Avatar Misha Kols ★★★★★ a year ago
      I had a great experience with Julia throughout my case. Fast and efficient.
    • Avatar Igor Tsublionak ★★★★★ a year ago
      Julia is one of the most professional people I've ever met. Help me with my immigration case without a flaw.
    • Avatar Jelena Palaic ★★★★★ a year ago
      Great attorney. Don’t wait, hire Julia and help yourself. Quick on respond, reliable and very professional.
      Knows what she is doing.
      Thank you Julia very much!
    • Avatar Levan Tsurtsumia ★★★★★ 11 months ago
      I am an athlete whose I-140 was initially denied by the USCIS. I was lucky to find Julia, who in just couple of days was able to correct my case and  gather, review necessary documents and file a timely appeal. In just 3 months after she … More did it, my case was approved. Thanks to Julia I am now designated to be extraordinary in the eyes of USCIS.
      Totally recommend you guys to contact Julia, she is the best Lawyer as good person.
    • Avatar Tatiana Tereknina ★★★★★ a year ago
      Julia is fantastic! She is efficient, honest and trustworthy! Our case was lost and after countless attempts to reach USCIS, I finally called Julia. She managed to resolve our issue very fast. I highly recommend Julia and her team!
    • Avatar Leanor G ★★★★★ a year ago
      Julia is a lawyer with a big heart.
      I worked with Julia directly. Calls, correspondence were only with her. I felt strong support. It is very difficult to find a lawyer who are really involved in your case. But Julia is the right lawyer.
      … More With her you are in good hands.
      As Julia says, I will fight to the end.
    • Avatar KKProject Inc ★★★★★ 11 months ago
      It was a pleasure working with Julia! She is a very professional immigration layer and is very responsive, which was very important to us.
      Julia helped us with the citizenship case delay and picked up the marriage case. Both cases were
      … More successfully completed by her, while the previous layer has failed to do.
      Highly recommended!
    • Avatar Julia Gutsul ★★★★★ 9 months ago
      Highly recommended!!!!
      100% professional attorney! She knows her job!
      Amazing lawyer and just a VERY pleasant person☺️
      If you have any questions regarding immigration - just call to Julia Greenberg!
      I am very thankful for her🤩🤩🤩
      I wish
      … More all the best and good luck 🌞


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