Strak Immigration Law

L-1 Business Transfers from foreign company to US linked company

If a company meets the precise Immigration definition of parent, branch, subsidiary or affiliate, it may qualify to request a transfer of its employee abroad to the related company in the US> Both the foreign and US companies must do business for the entire time the transferee the L-1 employee) is working in the US.

A new office may open up in the US, if it has a suitable business site, a qualifying business structure exists, and the employer is able to pay the employee and begin doing business in the US.

In every case, exacting legal criteria must be met and proven.


Which employees can transfer as L-1s

Transferees may be executives, high level hierarchical managers or functional managers, and employees with specialized knowledge. If a manager manages degreed professionals, or manages managers, he may be a hierarchical manager depending on how he spends his day. If he manages an essential function within a qualifying entity, he may qualify as a functional manager. Specialized knowledge employees must have inside or special knowledge of an organization's product, research, management, equipment or service, processes or procedures.

The choice of category can have a lasting result on the employee's access to permanent residence through the position.

Key in all categories is that the employee must have continuous employment outside the US with the qualifying foreign employer for one of three years preceding the employee's application for admission. There are some exceptions.


How long may L-1's remain in the US?

The L1 is a temporary or non-immigrant visa with a specific upper limit of years.

Managers or executives can remain in the US for up to seven years. Specialized knowledge employees may stay up to five years.

Again there are exceptions for employees who do not spend more than half the time in the US


How to get an L-1 visa for an employee

The employer must file a petition within the US at a regional service center of the Immigration Citizenship and Immigration Service. A new US entity may file a petition for up to a one year initial L, and a company which has been active for more than one year may request a stay of three years. The employee may change status within the United States, or apply for the L-1 visa abroad at a US consulate.

Derivative visas are issued to spouses, who will be permitted work authorization and minor children (under 21 years old) accompanying their parent. The children may attend school but will not be permitted to work.