Ep. 46 What is an L1A Visa?

  • It’s a non-immigrant visa. Only employees who’s been working for at least a year in the last three years in the company is qualified.
  • US Company must be a parent company or even a sister company of the foreign company.
  • Great for small companies or startup companies.
  • It can also be used by large/multinational companies.

Raw Transcript:

Jacob: Hello everybody, welcome to Ask an Immigration Lawyer. You ask, we answer, simple. This is your host, Jacob Sapochnick based in San Diego. We have some good questions today from our Facebook page. Today we are focusing on the L1A visa, and we have Josh from Texas who is asking what is an L1 visa and is this the most common way for somebody from overseas to open a branch office of the company abroad?

Well, this is actually … The L1 is a very, very interesting and very unique visa. Because it’s an non-immigrant visa which allows companies to move foreign qualified employees to its US subsidiaries or parent companies. The qualified employee must have worked for at least one year in the last three years. So, if somebody just started working and it’s not even been a year, these people are not qualified for an L1 transfer.

The US Company must be a parent company, either a sister company of the foreign company. And the L Visa must also include … it could include also a non-profit, religious or charitable organizations. They are opening affiliation in the United States. So, it’s a really great way for small company and startups companies, to kind of expand and relocate into the US. Trying to capitalize on the US market, try different services by opening a branch office of their foreign company.

This is great for a small company because it really helps to transfer of a highly successful and skilled manager or Executive who has specific knowledge of their operation, knows about their setup. It will be beneficial for the US Company. They can actually move that person just because they’ve been working for the foreign company. It’s a great visa.

The L visa can also be used by multinational companies, large companies when a multinational company is setting up a new market or operation or, you know, conquer new areas for their business in the US. Sometimes it’s necessary [unclear 00:02:29] some sort of a presence in the US, move workers or high-skilled workers with specific knowledge. And so the L1 can be used for multinational large company, just like we can use it for small startups.
Whatever the matter is, the L visa is specifically designed to help those needs of intercompany transfers by companies from overseas opening branches in the US.

So, just in a nutshell, the two L visas: L1A for company executives and L1B for employees with a specialized knowledge. But that’s just, in general, what the L1 is and I’m sure we’re going to have more questions specifically about other categories of L1 visa.

You ask, we answer, simple. If you have more questions email me, jacob@askanimmigrationlawyer. I’ll be happy to answer your questions. Remember, this is just a public service that we offer. I’m not your attorney. So, make sure you consult a qualified attorney before you take action on any of the information we provide. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you at our next episode.