The L-1A visa process assists U.S employers in transferring employees who hold positions such as managers, executives, and employees with specialized knowledge from a foreign entity to a U.S. entity. The employer must be doing business in the United States and one other country, and must have an employer-employee relationship with the intracompany transferee. The employer must file the L-1 Petition, I-129, and provide organizational charts and formation documents, to confirm they are a qualifying employer, and can establish a qualifying employer-employee relationship by demonstrating they have the authority to fire the intracompany transferee.
The L-1 employee must have worked abroad in full-time capacity for the foreign entity for one continuous year within the three year period preceding the filing of the I-129 Petition; however, the L-1 employee does not need to work in the United States in the same capacity as abroad.
Once approved, the L-1 transferee is authorized to stay for a maximum of seven (7) years for managers and executives (L-1A), initially 1 year for new, start-up companies and 3 years for existing companies, then extensions may be given in 2 year increments for up to 7 years. A maximum of five (5) years will be given for specialized knowledge employees (L-1B). Only when the transferee is present in the United States, will the time be counted toward the seven (7) or five (5) years, respectively.
L-1A managers or executives possess the requisite “managerial capacity, if the employee:
- Manages the organization, or a department, subdivision, function or component of the organization;
- Supervises and controls the work of other supervisory, professional, or managerial employees, or manages an essential function within the organization, or a department or subdivision of the organization;
- Has the authority to hire and fire, or recommend those as well as other personnel actions, such as promotion and leave authorization; and
- 4Exercises discretion over the day-to-day operations of the activity or function for which the employee has authority.
“Executive capacity” applies to an assignment within an organization in which the employee primarily:
- Directs the management of the organization or a major component or function of the organization;
- Establishes the goals and policies of the organization, component or function;
- Exercises wide latitude in discretionary decision-making; and
- Receives only general supervisor or direction from high-level executives, the board of directors, or stockholders of the organization.
Job title is not dispositive; however, the L-1 petition process serves as another option in which employers can sponsor employees in petitioning for and receiving a visa, as multinational companies can employ qualifying managers, executives and employees with specialized knowledge on a temporary basis. Give the attorneys at Tanner Law Offices, LLC, a call at (717) 836-0471 for a 30 minute free consultation to discuss this process.