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The L-1 Visa: What Business Owners Need to Know

| Oct 20, 2019 | Blog

Are you a small business owner looking to expand into the United States? Can’t afford to invest half a million dollars as required by the EB5 immigrant investor scheme?

The L-1 visa is a type of non-immigrant visa that allows companies from other countries to send employees to the United States.

Who are L-1 visas for? Who is eligible?

L-1 visas are split into two categories — L-1A for managers and executives, and L-1B for professionals with specialized knowledge.

To be eligible for an L-1A visa, your employee must have been working for your company for at least one continuous year of the last three. To be considered an executive, they must make company decisions without extensive oversight. To be considered a manager, they must supervise employees and manage a department or other function of the organization at a high level.

Workers attempting to qualify for an L-1B visa must also have been working for your company for at least one continuous year of the last three. They must have specialized knowledge of the company’s product, service, research, or techniques, or expertise in its procedures.

What does an L-1 visa provide?

The L-1 visa allows your employee to reside in the United States. It lasts for a period of one year if your company is new, and three years if your company is established. They can be renewed for two-year increments, for a total of up to five years for L-1B visas or seven years for L-1A visas.

L-1 visa holders are permitted to apply for legal permanent residency (also referred to as a “green card”).

How do you petition for an L-1 visa?

Unlike the H1B visa category, there is no cap on how many L1 visas can be given out per year. You must petition on behalf of your employee by completing the I-129 form (petition for nonimmigrant worker), paying filing fees of $460, and documenting that he or she is eligible for the visa.

An experienced immigration attorney can help you navigate the application process, and can advise you as to whether or not this type of visa is right for your business. For a caring and compassionate advocate, contact Villegas Law Office at (956) 412-0707.