What is an L1A Visa? What are the Eligibility Requirements and Process to Obtain it?
Relocating to the United States for employment and business purposes is a dream for many individuals living overseas. USCIS issues various types of visas to employees in numerous occupations, allowing them to move to the USA on non-immigrant visas and work here for a specified period as indicated in their visa's validity. This also extends benefits to their families, including spouses, children under 18 years of age, and even parents who accompany them to the USA.
If you're an executive or manager of a multinational company looking to work in the United States, the L1A visa is the gateway to fulfilling your immigration needs. The L1A visa is specifically designed to facilitate the transfer of executives and managers from a foreign office of a multinational company to its U.S. office.
It provides them with the opportunity to live and work in the United States for a specified period, allowing them to enhance their skills and knowledge while contributing to the U.S. economy. In this blog, we will guide you through the L1A visa's eligibility criteria, necessary documents, and the step-by-step process for obtaining it.
What is an L1A Visa?
The L1A Visa is a non-immigrant visa category falling under the broader L1 Visa classification. It is specifically tailored for intracompany transferees who hold executive or managerial positions within a multinational company. This visa allows them to temporarily work in the United States to manage or oversee a U.S.-based office or branch of the same company.
The L1A Visa is valid for an initial one-year period for individuals coming to work in a new company setup. However, the validity period is three years if you are going to work in an existing organization. The L1A can be extended for a maximum duration of 7 years.
As it is a non-immigrant visa, it doesn't directly lead to the acquisition of a Green Card. Though the process is complex, it can be simplified by hiring an L1A Visa Attorney from Salinas Law Firm. We also assist with L1A Visa Extension.
Eligibility Requirements for L1A Visa
You must be employed by a multinational company with a qualifying relationship with a U.S. entity.
- It must have a parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate office in the United States.
- The U.S. entity and the foreign entity must share common ownership and control.
- The foreign entity must continue to conduct business outside of the U.S. while you work in the U.S.
You must have been employed by the foreign company for at least one continuous year within the past three years in an executive or managerial capacity. This employment history is crucial to demonstrate your qualifications for the L1A visa.
Executive or Managerial Position
To qualify for the L1A visa, your position in the U.S. office must be either executive or managerial.
Job Offer in the U.S.
You must have a legitimate job offer from the U.S. office of the multinational company. This offer should be for an executive or managerial position that aligns with your qualifications and the nature of your role in the foreign company.
L1 Visa Petition
Your employer, the U.S. entity of the multinational company, must file an L1 visa petition on your behalf. This petition, known as Form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker, should be submitted to USCIS.
Process to Obtain an L1A Visa
Step 1: Consult with an Immigration Lawyer
Before you even begin the application process, it's highly recommended to consult with an experienced L1A visa immigration lawyer. They can assess your situation, provide personalized guidance, and help you understand the requisites of the L1A visa category.
The L1A visa immigration attorney can ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements and that your application is accurately prepared, increasing your chances of success.
Step 2: Gather Necessary Documents
The documents can be divided into three primary categories to simplify the documentation collection process. They are:
L1A Beneficiary (Employee) Documents
- Proof of Employment History along with pay (salary) slips with their respective month and date mentioned.
- Job Offer Letter from a Foreign Employer or U.S. company containing job role, responsibilities, and other vital employment information
- Evidence of Qualifying Relationship
- Proof of Executive or Managerial Role
- A Valid Passport and Resume
Foreign and U.S. Company Documents
Though these two are different categories, we are combining them into one due to the similar nature of the required documents.
- Stock Certifications
- Article/Certificate of Incorporation
- Financial Statements and Business Tax Returns
- A Copy of Office Lease
- Business License (if any)
Note: In addition to the documents mentioned above, you may need to submit additional documents based on your specific visa application case. Our L1A Visa Lawyer will help you gather and organize the required evidence to expedite the visa application process.
Step 3: File Form I-129 and L-Supplement
Your U.S. employer will initiate the L1A visa application process by filing Form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker with USCIS. This form should be accompanied by an L Supplement designed for L1 visa applicants.
Step 4: Consular Processing and Change of Status
If you are outside the United States, you must attend an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. The consular officer will review your documentation, ask questions about your intended employment in the U.S., and evaluate your eligibility for the L1A visa.
After your L1A Visa application is approved, you will receive an L1A visa stamp in your passport, enabling you to enter the U.S. on L1A status.
Change of Status (if already based in the U.S.)
If you are already in the United States under a different non-immigrant status (such as an H-1B visa) and wish to change to L1A status, you can file a change of status application with USCIS. If approved, USCIS will grant you L1A status, allowing you to work for your U.S. employer.
In both cases, it's crucial to follow the instructions provided by USCIS or the U.S. embassy/consulate, attend any required interviews, and provide accurate and complete information to facilitate the visa issuance process.
After reading the blog, you will have firm understanding about what an L1A Visa is, its eligibility criteria, the documents required, and the process for acquiring it. While the procedure is complicated, you can simplify it by following the steps outlined in the blog. However, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
At Salinas Law Firm, we have one of the top L1A Immigration Lawyers in Houston, Texas. They have assisted countless of individuals in helping them obtain an L1A Visa by navigating them through the complex process.
They remain connected with you throughout all stages, from handling paperwork to assisting you in gathering the required documentation and providing guidance during the interview. They are also available to support you with an L1A Visa extension and other legal matters. Book a consultation with our Houston L1A Immigration Attorney by calling 713.518.1711