Make a Successful L-1 Visa Application to the U.S.
The L1 visa is a non immigrant visa that allows companies in the United States to transfer executives, managers or specialized employees from their foreign offices to their offices in the United States.
The L1 visa is also known as an intracompany transferee visa. The purpose of the L1 visa is to help companies transfer their key employees to the United States to help grow and manage their business.
Eligiblity for an L1 visa
- The employee must have been working for the company abroad for at least one continuous year within the last three years.
- Employee must be transferring to a parent, branch, subsidiary or affiliate of the same company in the United States.
- Transferring employee must be going to the United States to work in a managerial or executive capacity.
- The company in the United States must be actively doing business and the company abroad must be doing business as well.
- There must be a valid employer-employee relationship between the employee and the company in the United States.
- If you meet these requirements you can start the L1 visa application process.
Step by Step Process to Apply for an L1 Visa to the United States
- Obtain a Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the United States Department of Labor. The LCA is a document that attests to the fact that the employee’s wages, working conditions and benefits will be the same as those of U.S. workers in similar positions.
- File Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker), with the USCIS. This form must be filed by the company in the United States and must include the LCA and all required supporting documentation.
- Attend a visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate. During the interview the officer will ask you questions about your job and your qualifications.
- After the interview the consular officer will either approve or deny your L1 visa application. If you are approved then your Passport will be stamped.
- Once you have your L1 visa you can enter the United States and start working for the company.
The L1 visa is valid for a maximum of seven years for L1A visa holders (executives and managers) and five years for L1B visa holders (specialized knowledge employees). The L1 visa can be extended but it is not automatically renewable. If you want to extend your L1 visa you will need to file a new Form I-129 and attend another visa interview.
There are other forms that will be required. These forms include:
- Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status): This form is used to extend or change your nonimmigrant status in the United States.
- Form I-129S (Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition): This form is used by companies that want to transfer multiple employees to the United States under the L1 visa program.
- Form I-824 (Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition): This form is used to request that USCIS take action on an approved Form I-129.
- Form G-28 (Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative): If applicable
Get a Free Visa Assessment
How to Fill Out Form I-140 for Exceptional Skills Immigration
Form I-140 (also known as the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker), is used to petition for immigration to the United States in the exceptional skills employment based category. The form is required to be filed by the petitioner, who is usually the U.S. employer.
The following information is required for the Form I-140:
- Petitioner Information: The name, address and contact information of the petitioner (U.S. employer).
- Beneficiary Information: The name, address and contact information of the foreign worker who is seeking immigration to the United States.
- Classification Information: Information regarding the classification of the foreign worker, such as the type of visa the worker is seeking (EB-1A, EB-2, EB-3).
- Job Offer Information: A description of the job offered by the U.S. employer and the qualifications of the foreign worker for that job.
- Labor Certification: Evidence that the U.S. Department of Labor has approved the job offer and that there are no available U.S. workers who are able and willing to perform the job.
- Evidence of Exceptional Ability: Evidence of the foreign worker’s exceptional ability.
- Evidence of National Interest Waiver: Evidence that the foreign worker’s continued presence in the United States is in the national interest.
- Fees: Payment of the USD $700 filing fees for the Form I-140.
- Signature: A signature by the petitioner (U.S. employer) certifying that the information provided in the Form I-140 is true and correct to the best of their knowledge.
How to Complete Form I-129 for an L-1 Visa
Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker), is used to petition for a foreign worker to come to the United States temporarily to work. If you are an employer who wants to transfer an executive employee from your foreign office to your office in the United States you must file Form I-129.
Here are the steps to fill out Form I-129 for an L-1 visa
Obtain the latest version of Form I-129 here
Part 1: Petition Information:
- Item 1: Enter the name and address of the petitioner (the U.S. employer).
- Item 2: Enter the name and address of the foreign national (the employee).
- Item 3: Select “L” as the non immigrant classification.
- Item 4: Check the appropriate box to indicate if the employee is an executive.
- Item 5: Enter the name and address of the foreign entity.
Part 2: Eligibility and Qualifying Relationships:
- Item 6: Check the appropriate box to indicate the relationship between the U.S. employer and the foreign entity.
- Item 7: Explain how the U.S. employer and the foreign entity meet the qualifying relationship requirements for the L-1 visa.
Part 3: Information About the Beneficiary:
- Item 8: Enter the employee’s job title and job duties.
- Item 9: Explain how the employee’s job duties qualify as executive or managerial.
- Item 10: Provide the dates of the employee’s previous L-1 visas, if applicable.
Part 4: Evidence:
- Item 11: Attach the Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the U.S. Department of Labor.
- Item 12: Attach any other supporting documentation, such as resumes, job descriptions and evidence of the foreign entity’s business activities.
Part 5: Signature:
- Sign and date the form in the presence of a notary public.
Part 6: G-28 Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative:
- If you are using an attorney or accredited representative then complete this section.
File the completed Form I-129 with the appropriate USCIS office and pay the filing fee of USD $460. Carefully review the form and give all required information and documentation when filing Form I-129. Filing a complete and accurate form will help to ensure that the process goes smoothly and that your L-1 visa application is approved.