L-1A Visa and L-1B Introduction
Welcome to the Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram. We’re delighted to have you join us for our video presentation on Intra-Company Transfers L-1A and L-1B Visas. In this presentation series, we’re going to give you a comprehensive review of this subject and you may find it useful to share this presentation with your board and any employee candidates that may be under consideration for being transferred.
In a nutshell, foreign companies are always looking to expand into new territories and countries. Many companies would like to get a foothold in the US market by establishing a sales office, distribution center or administrative office and so on. Often times, a senior manager from the foreign company will be transferred to oversee the expansion and to head up the new division.
Another situation might be where a multi-national company wants to keep moving key people around various parts of the organization internationally, as the manager or executive is being groomed for greater things.
Finally, there are various skills that many multi-national companies have difficulty sourcing from within the US, so they have to recruit overseas from their other branches. STEM skills such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics are increasingly hard to source in the US labor force. There is a constant pressure on companies to maintain their competitive edge, and therefore being able to recruit and develop that right mix of international talent is very important.
US Immigration is very much aware of the international commercial pressures, and has enacted immigration legislation that is intended to create a pathway for companies to expand into the US market, if they haven’t done so already, or simply transfer management-level talent from their foreign offices into an established US branch.
Many of our clients ask – ‘how big does a company need to be before it should be considered multi-national enough to qualify for this type of visa?’ This is a great question, but the legislation does not exactly specify minimum company sizes. Basically, if you have a company that has management and executive staff, supervisory level and then a general employee labor force, then it could be a company with as little as ten employees total.
In truth, the smaller the company the more intensive scrutiny it will be under should an application be made. We would suggest that companies with more than 25 employees, and that’s been established more than five years looking to expand into the US market by opening a new branch would be a better starting point. Where a company is smaller than this, we’d discuss the E2 Treaty Investment visa as perhaps a more suitable option.
The L-1A visa is for executives and managers, and the L-1B visa is for specialists. One of the main, if not most attractive, features of the L-1A is that, unlike the L-1B, L-1A intra-company transferees can secure a green card relatively easily and very quickly indeed. For example, if the intra-company transferee is coming to an already established US branch, then the L-1A transferee could secure a green card within a year.
As a result, many small business owners looking to expand into the US try to squeeze into an L-1A business profile as opposed to the more conventional E2 visa profile, which does not, at present, offer a direct pathway to green card status.
Where the intra-company transferee is the main, majority, and principal shareholder in the foreign company, US Immigration has allowed these aliens to obtain L-1A visa status. But then when that alien is ready to apply for green card status, they have argued that the alien doesn’t qualify because although he/she is technically an employee of the company, in reality, he/she has no superiors and is not answerable to anyone for the most part, and therefore no true “master/servant, employer/employee” relationship exists.
This position is not universally or consistently held within US Immigration, therefore getting from L-1A to green card status where the transferee is the owner of the business, can be somewhat unpredictable and challenging.
Ok – in the next presentation we’re going to cover the main qualification requirements of the L-1A and L-1B visas, so you can get a fairly comprehensive view of this opportunity. We look forward to you joining us for the remainder of this series.
US Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram
Chris M. Ingram LL.M., ESQ – Immigration Attorney
Admitted in New York.
Practice Specializing in US Immigration Law
401 Wilshire Boulevard, 12th Floor,
[Cross Streets 4th and Wilshire]
Tel: 310 496 4292
Everyday the Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram provides a comprehensive range of US Immigration expertise. We also provide a free consultation for our prospective clients.
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Specializing in the E2 Visa, EB1 Green Card, L-1A Visa and O1 Visa and K1 Visa Marriage-Based Immigration. Attorney Chris M. Ingram is dedicated to providing the very best in US Immigration legal representation. Enjoy our website.
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