L1 Visa Lawyer Houston Immigration
If you work for or own an international company with offices here in the United States and abroad, you may be interested in learning more about L-1 visas. The L-1 is a non-immigrant visa that allows employees of international companies to move to the U.S. to live and work for the company in the U.S. for a set number of years.
At the Salinas Law Firm, we have helped many businesses and individuals successfully navigate the L-1 visa process. If you would like to discuss your L-1 visa needs with an L1 Visa Lawyer, contact us at (713) 518 - 1711 for more information.
TYPES OF L-1 VISAS
There are two different categories of this type of visa–the L-1A visa and the L-1B visa. The following is some information regarding each sub-category:
L-1A — This visa allows executives or managers working in the foreign office to come work in the U.S. office for a period of time. There are specific definitions for “executives” and “managers,” so simply giving an individual a certain title is not enough to make the person eligible for the visa. For example, an executive or manager must have the authority and discretion to make important and varied decisions about the business with little to no oversight. An executive or manager must also supervise other employees and manage the operations of a department (or the entire organization), among other qualifications.
L-1B — An L-1B visa allows employees of an international company who have specialized knowledge of the business and operations to transfer to the U.S. location for a set period of time. While no formal education requirements exist, the employee must play a key role in the company and must have advanced knowledge of the company’s products, processes, research, services, or management, among other things. Some types of employees who are often considered for L-1B visas include accountants, programmers, designers, and engineers.
Blanket L Visas — In addition to obtaining individual L-1 visas for certain employees, a business can transfer multiple employees from the foreign office to the U.S. office more efficiently by applying for and obtaining a “blanket” L visa. A blanket L visa petition allows a company to transfer both L-1A and L-1B employees without having to file separate petitions for each individual. The blanket L visa acts as a kind of pre-certification for the company to transfer these employees.
If you are unsure whether or not you qualify for this type of visa, speak with one of our L1 Visa Lawyer Houston.
What are the Benefits of the L-1 Visa?
- An L-1 visa holder’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 years old may accompany the employee to the United States, as well.
- These relatives may apply for L-2 visas so that they can join the L-1 visa holder during their time in the U.S., and it provides them with the ability to work and go to school while here. The L-2 visa is tied to the validity period of the L-1 visa. This means that when the L-1 visa expires, the L-2 also expires.
- This L-2 Visa gives your children access to U.S. schools where they can attend classes from Pre-K to high school and even Universities.
- The L-2 Visa gives your spouse the ability to apply for a work permit. With a work permit your spouse can work legally in the U.S.A.
To get a better understanding of these benefits, it is recommended to speak with an L1 Visa Lawyer Houston.
L-1 Visa Application Process
Whether you want to apply for an L-1A, L-1B, or blanket L visa, the application process can be complex. You will have to submit a number of different documents in order to demonstrate the validity of the relationship between the U.S. company and the company located abroad.
Some documents that are often used as evidence of this relationship include:
- Proof of company ownership and incorporation;
- Permits or licenses issued by the local government;
- Leases, real estate titles or deeds, and other proof of ongoing business expenses;
- Proof of profits and losses, expenses, bank statements, corporate tax returns, and other financial documents;
- Proof of workforce and employment agreements;
- Letterhead and other marketing materials.
Depending on which country an employee is coming from, the L-1 visa will be granted for different lengths of time. L-1B visas are available for a maximum of five years, and L-1A visas are available for slightly longer, for a maximum of seven years. Extensions are sometimes available, as well, and are typically granted for up to two years. If you have not yet reached the maximum amount of time on your L-1 visa, our L1 visa lawyer Houston can assist you in applying for an extension.
Speak with your L1 visa lawyer Houston to discuss the L-1 visa application process and the type of evidence required.
What are the L1 Visa Requirements?
The employer must:
- Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate, collectively referred to as qualifying organizations);
- Currently, be, or will be, doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States as an L-1. While the business must be viable, there is no requirement that it be engaged in international trade.
The named employee must also:
- Work for the company in its foreign office for at least one whole year out of the three years immediately preceding the filing of the L-1 application.
- Be seeking to enter the United States to provide service in an executive or managerial capacity for a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.
For a company to qualify for a blanket L visa, it must meet specific eligibility requirements, some of which include:
- Regularly engage in commercial trade or services;
- Have a United States location that has been operational for at least one year;
- Have at least three domestic or foreign subsidiaries, locations, or affiliates;
- Satisfy one of the following three requirements: 1) prove annual sales in the U.S. of at least $25 million; 2) have obtained a minimum of 10 L-1 visas for individuals in the past year; OR 3) employ at least 1,000 people at the U.S. locations.
For foreign employers seeking to send an employee to the United States as an executive or manager to establish a new office, the employer must also show that:
- The employer has secured sufficient physical premises to house the new office;
- The employee has been employed as an executive or manager for one continuous year in the three years preceding the filing of the petition; and
- The intended U.S. office will support an executive or managerial position within one year of the approval of the petition.
If you are unsure whether or not you qualify under these requirements, speak with your L1 visa lawyer Houston.
How can an L1 Visa Lawyer help you?
If you’re interested in filing an L-1 visa application, our L1 Visa Lawyer is here to help. Many issues can arise during the L-1 visa application process that is only apparent to a skilled immigration attorney. At the Salinas Law Firm, we can help you identify and overcome potential pitfalls in the application process so that your company and employees are able to get the L-1 visas they need.
For assistance with the L-1 Visa, contact your L1 Visa Lawyer Houston office at 713-518-1711 or submit an online inquiry. We also offer online or phone consultations with potential clients who are unable to meet our L1 Visa Lawyer in our office.