L-1A Visa for Intracompany Executive or Managerial Transfer

The L-1A nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.

If a foreign company is looking to establish a new office, branch, or related entity inside the U.S., it can staff the initial U.S. office with an executive or manager using the L-1A New Office Visa. The New Office L-1A is initially valid for a one-year period, and can then be renewed for an additional six years in two-year increments. After the initial one-year approval, the U.S. entity must show that some level of growth has occurred to secure an approved extension growth. Growth can be demonstrated with increased revenue, hiring of U.S. employees, or other tangible evidence of the U.S. entity’s development.

To qualify for L-1 visa classification in this category, the employer must:

  • Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate, collectively referred to as qualifying organizations); and
  • Will be doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States as an L-1.

Doing business means the regular, systematic, and continuous provision of goods and/or services by a qualifying organization and does not include the mere presence of an agent or office of the qualifying organization in the United States and abroad. For a successful new office L-1A, the company must present a detailed business plan evidencing the revenue, cost, and growth projections for the company.

To qualify, the named employee must also:

  • Generally, have been working for a qualifying organization abroad for one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding his or her admission to the United States; and
  • Be seeking to enter the United States to provide service in an executive or managerial capacity for a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.

Executive capacity generally refers to the employee’s ability to make decisions of wide latitude without much oversight. Managerial capacity generally refers to the ability of the employee to supervise and control the work of professional employees and to manage the organization, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the organization. It may also refer to the employee’s ability to manage an essential function of the organization at a high level, without direct supervision of others.

Established U.S. Office

If the U.S. affiliated company has already been established and is currently operating, the same qualifications above apply but the L-1A employee may request an initial three-year visa approval followed by 2, two-year extensions for a total of seven years of L-1A visa validity. An established U.S. office need not show the business plans for the U.S. entity, but rather must show that the U.S. entity is already doing business.

 

To qualify for L-1 classification in this category, the employee must:

  • Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate, collectively referred to as qualifying organizations); and
  • Currently be, or will be, doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States as an L-1. While the business must be viable, there is no requirement that it be engaged in international trade.