For foreign businesses seeking to expand operations to the United States, the immigration laws of the nation can seem as if they will be a source of frustration and delay. However, the immigration system does allow for significant flexibility when it comes to the immigration needs of businesses. There are at least several visas available that can assist a business with its staffing needs.
For companies looking to expand their operations into the United Sates, the L-1 visa is often a good fit. The L-1 visa can authorize managers, executives, and key workers to oversee the company’s expansion into the United States. However, a significant amount of due diligence and legal filings are required before USCIS can issue an L-1 visa. The immigration attorneys of Colombo & Hurd can assist businesses with all types of immigration needs. To schedule a confidential consultation at our Miami law office, call 305-692-0232 today.
What Are the Advantages of an L-1 Visa?
The L-1 visa can provide companies with a convenient pathway to obtain authorization for higher level workers. The L-1 visa is not a permanent visa and does not provide a pathway to citizenship so the green card process does not typically apply. However, the L-1 visa is also particularly flexible. If an L-1 visa holder later decides that he or she would like to permanently settle in the United States, it is often possible to convert the temporary work authorization to a green card petition. In fact, coming to the United States on an L-1 visa and running a business for several years to establish a record of sales/services can increase the likelihood that your green card petition will be granted. However, this particular path to a green card will require at least one L-1 visa renewal.
The L-1 visa is also flexible in the sense that it can confer benefits to a spouse and children under the age of 21. A spouse will need to obtain work authorization.
How Do Businesses Qualify Workers for L-1 Visas?
As set forth above, the L-1 visa is intended for certain types of workers. Therefore, not all individuals will be able to qualify for an L-1 Visa. In particular, L-1 visas are typically reserved for executives, managers, and other individuals with specialized knowledge or skills. Essentially, the company must be able to prove that a qualifying relationship exists between the employee and the organization. A qualifying relationship includes workers of the type described above who has, for the three years immediately preceding the application, worked continuously for the foreign parent company. Furthermore, the individual must have served in an executive, supervisory, or managing role for at least one year prior to the visa application.
The foreign company or corporation must also show a qualifying relationship between the entities. Generally, a qualifying relationship between entities exists when one of the following is true:
- The foreign company or corporation has opened a U.S. branch office.
- The foreign entity has incorporated a U.S. subsidiary.
- The foreign company has established a qualifying joint venture.
Aside from ensuring that existing qualifying relationships can be proven, additional requirements exist. For instance, once the worker comes to the United States, he or she must actually engage in managerial or supervisory activities at the U.S. branch, office, or subsidiary.
How Long Can I Stay in the U.S. on an L-1 Visa?
L-1 visas holders such as executives or managers are typically authorized to live in the United States for up to seven years. Individuals who come to the United States on an L-1 visa under the specialized knowledge category are typically authorized for up to five years. In the case of a “new” office in the United States, the initial authorization is for one year but can be extended upon a showing of active business activities. If the application does not involve a new office, a three-year authorization is more likely.
The Miami L-1 Visa Lawyers of Colombo & Hurd can Assist Businesses Today
At Colombo & Hurd our lawyers are dedicated to providing immigration solutions to help businesses and individuals achieve their goals. We can provide careful, step-by-step guidance regarding all aspects of your L-1 visa application. We can handle all of the research, due diligence, legal filings, and other work required to obtain an L-1 visa.
If you are interested in exploring whether a Colombo & Hurd immigration lawyer is a god fit for your business immigration goals, call our Miami law office today. To schedule a confidential consultation, call 305-692-0232 today.