Boston L-1 Visa Lawyer
An L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa available to employees of an international company with offices both abroad and in the United States. This visa allows these employees to come to the U.S. to work in the company’s U.S. office temporarily. As an employment immigration attorney can explain, the L-1 visa allows the foreign worker to relocate to the U.S. after working for the company abroad for at least one full year within the previous three years before coming to the U.S. Our Boston L-1 visa lawyers could help you apply for this type of work permit and determine if you are eligible.
What are the Differences Between L-1A and L-1B Visas?
The L-1A visa is approved for intra-company managers or executives. Managers or executives must supervise a staff and hold a key position for the employer. An executive must have the ability to make a wide range of decisions without much oversight. A manager must have the ability to supervise and control the work of other employees and to manage the organization or a department of it.
The L-1B visa is approved for employees with “specialized knowledge.” This visa does not have any degree requirements, but the employee must hold a key position in the company, such as an engineer, programmer, or accountant. Specialized knowledge can mean either of the following:
- Special knowledge of the employer’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, etc. and its application in international markets
- Advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the employer’s processes and procedures
The L-1 visa allows intra-company employees to come work in the U.S. for different amounts of times, depending on the country from which the employees is coming. An employee may be allowed to stay anywhere from three months to five years on an L-1B visa and seven years on an L-1A visa. Extensions are sometimes granted in increments of two years, with a maximum allowed stay of five or seven years depending on the type of L visa you hold. A lawyer in Boston could help someone determine if they need an L-1A or an L-1B visa.
Proving the Relationship of the Foreign and U.S. Companies
During the L-1 visa application process, the relationship of the foreign company to the U.S. company must be validated by relevant evidence. Some examples of proof of the relationship include:
- Documents relating to the company ownership, such as articles of incorporation or shareholder agreements
- Licenses or permits issued by a local government
- Office or warehouse lease payments, ownership deeds, and other ongoing business expenses
- Financial documents, including bank statements, profit and loss statements, tax returns, and inventory lists
- Sales figures, advertising expenses, company brochures, and letterhead
- List of employees and employment agreements
What is a Blanket L Visa Petition?
The blanket L visa petition speeds up the process of transferring employees from the company abroad to work in the company’s branch in the United States by eliminating the requirement of filing separate petitions for each employee. With the blanket L petition, the company gets “pre-qualified” to transfer its L-1 employees to the U.S. To obtain a blanket L visa petition, the company must meet additional requirements, such as having a verifiable record of sales and number of employees over time. Some of the requirements that the company must meet in order to receive a blanket L petition include:
- Be engaged in commercial trade or services
- Have an office in the U.S. that has been doing business for one or more years
- Have three or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates
- Meet one of the following criteria:
- Have obtained at least 10 L-1 approvals during the previous 12-months
- Have U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of $25 million or more
- Have a U.S. work force of 1,000 employees or more
A Boston attorney could help determine if a foreign worker is eligible to apply for a L-1 visa through this process based on the company at which they work.
Converting an L-1 Visa to an H-1B Work Permit
It is possible to change your status from an L-1 to an H-1B visa holder while in the U.S. if you have not maxed out your seven-year allowable stay. Any time spent in the U.S. on an L-1 visa will count toward the H-1B visa status limit of six years. You would also still be subject to the H-1B visa cap; therefore, there must be an available visa before you can switch your visa status. A Boston attorney could help someone with this process of converting their L-1 visa to an H-1B work permit.
Accompanying Family Members
It is possible for your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to come with you to the U.S. while you are on your L-1 visa status. They will need to apply for an L-2 visa. While on an L-2 visa, your dependents are eligible to work in the U.S. and attend school. Their L-2 visa status will terminate when your L-1 visa status ends. A Boston L-1 visa attorney could help you apply for additional permits if you have dependants coming with you to the U.S.
L-1 Visa Issues
You have the burden of proof to show that your position qualifies for an L-1 visa. You aren’t allowed to work part-time while in the U.S. You will also need to apply for a different visa status if you switch employers. Many times, USCIS will respond to your petition with a Request for Evidence (RFE), requiring you to explain parts of your petition in more detail or provide additional documentation. These requests must be adequately responded to in a timely manner or your petition will be denied.
Speak with a Boston L-1 Visa Attorney
If you are filing an L-1 visa petition, we can help. At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our Boston L-1 visa lawyers are highly experienced and have successfully prepared and obtained approval for numerous of these petitions. We could guide you through this complex application process and help find and resolve any issues that may only be apparent to an experienced immigration lawyer. Call us today or schedule a consultation to learn more about the L-1 visa and how our team could help you.
We have a proven track record of success in a wide-range of immigration matters. The immigration attorneys in our Boston office are ready to thoroughly analyze the facts of your case and carefully recommend your best immigration option.