L-1 Work Visa
If you own a business in your current nation:
- Are you a manager,executive,or a "specialized knowledge" employed by a foreign business entity?
- Have you been working abroad for at least one continuous year within the past 3 years?
- Is you company abroad related to the U.S. business you will establish? Will the foreign entity continue to do business?
- Will you be coming to the United States to open a new office location for your company? Will the new office be active and operating shortly after you arrive in the United States as an L-1?
Requirement 1 - The petitioning U.S. entity must have a qualifying relationship with your entity abroad. The new U.S. office must have a corporate relationship with your foreign entity abroad where you have been employed as a manager, executive, or worker with specialized knowledge. This means that the new U.S. office must be a parent, affiliate, subsidiary or branch of the foreign entity, and that both the U.S. office and the foreign entity must continue to share common ownership and control.
Requirement 2 - Sufficient physical space must be secured for a new office.
While the amount of physical space may vary depending on the nature of the business, an appropriate space must be secured through lease, purchase or other means.
Requirement 3 - A new office must be active and operating within one year after the L-1’s admission to the United States if requesting an extension of stay.
The “new office” L-1 visa is meant to facilitate a “ramp up” period for a new U.S. office of a foreign entity. This period is limited to one year. After that time, an extension of the L-1 visa is available if the new office meets this requirement. What makes an office active and operating will differ depending on the nature of the business. Typically it will involve factors such as hiring additional employees, fulfillment of contract orders, having a revenue stream, or holding inventory, if applicable
Requirement 4 - After 1 year the new office must support a managerial or executive position if you are requesting an extension of stay in the L-1A classification.
While a new office may be opened on an L-1 visa by someone working within your organization in a managerial, executive or specialized-knowledge capacity, after one year the office must be sufficiently active to support a manager or executive. During the first year ramp up, a manager or executive may be required, as a practical matter, to engage in many “hands-on” tasks that go beyond inherently managerial or executive tasks. After the first year, however, the manager or executive will be required to focus primarily on managerial or executive tasks in order to obtain an extension of the L-1 visa.