L-1 Intracompany Transferees

L-1: Transfer Your
Employees Where
You Need Them Most

Requirements for L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visas

If your business is global, chances are your employees are, too.

The flexibility to smoothly transfer workers across international offices can make your company more efficient and successful. Smith, Gambrell & Russell’s Global Immigration & Mobility Practice Group has extensive experience with L-1 Intracompany Transferee visa requirements . We help ensure that when it’s time to move employees between international offices, you and your team can focus on work and not immigration issues.

The L-1 Intracompany Transferee visa enables the transfer of managers, executives and specialized knowledge personnel to a U.S. office, subsidiary or affiliated company.

This visa comes in the following categories: L-1A visa – for executives and managers; and L-1B visa – for personnel with specialized knowledge of the company’s product or service. Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 are allowed to join the applicant in the U.S. under L-2 status. L-2 spouses are allowed to obtain employment authorization; L-2 children are not allowed to work, but can attend school or college. Smith, Gambrell & Russell’s immigration lawyers can also assist with L-1 visa to green card conversions.

What Are the L-1 Visa Requirements?

Employers must file the I-129L petition with the Immigration Service Center along with supporting documents from the company abroad, the U.S. entity, and the beneficiary. A decision is generally made within 30 days, although it is not unusual for the immigration service to request additional evidence prior to their making a final decision. Petitions can be approved for 3 years initially, except for “new offices” which are limited to one year.

If the employee is not in the U.S. when the employer’s petition is approved, he or she must have their visa stamped at the U.S. embassy or consulate in order to enter the U.S. in L-1 status. The employer will receive the approval notice, Form I-797. After receipt of the I-797, you must then complete a Form DS-156 at the Consulate.

What L-1 Visa Documents Are Needed?

In general, the following documents are needed for an L-1 petition:

From U.S. Entity

  • Incorporation Documents/Partnership or Joint Venture Agreement
    • Articles/Memoranda of Incorporation
    • Bylaws
    • Stock certificates/ledger
    • Name change/registration
  • Applicable business permits/licenses/registration
  • Company annual report/marketing brochure/resume
  • Lease/deed; mortgage or rent receipts
  • Organizational chart (if large company, then managerial/divisional structure; smaller companies – include structure by individuals); include # employees, names of divisions; include how U.S. company fits into overall structure
  • Copies of advertisements.
  • Sample invoices or contracts (5-10, indicating trade in goods or services, preferably orders transacted with various countries; average or largest orders)
  • Trade references
  • Articles, promotional materials about the company, its products, services or key people
  • Recent company tax return or financial statement
  • Copies of awards, memberships or special achievements by the company or key personnel

From U. S. Entity

  • Incorporation Documents/Partnership/Joint Venture Agreement
  • Branch qualification to do business in U.S. or state
  • Applicable business permits/licenses/registration
  • Company annual report/marketing brochure/resume
  • Lease/deed; mortgage or rent receipts
  • Organizational chart (if large company, the managerial/divisional structure; smaller companies – include structure by individuals); include # employees, names of divisions; include how other U.S. companies fit into overall structure
  • Copies of advertisements
  • Sample invoices or contracts (5-10 indicating trade in goods or services, preferably orders transacted with various countries; average or largest orders)
  • Trade references
  • Articles, promotional materials about the company, its products, services or key people
  • Copies of awards, memberships or special achievements by the company or key personnel
  • Latest financial statements or federal tax return

From Employee

  • Position description with non-U.S. entity for the past year
  • Proposed position description with U.S. entity
  • Curriculum Vitae or Résumé
  • Copies of academic diplomas and transcripts
  • Copies of any awards or recognitions for special achievements in the field
  • Copies of all articles written by or about employee relevant to position abroad or in U.S.

To qualify for L-1 visa status, the petition should show that both the U.S. and foreign-based company have a qualifying relationship as a branch office, parent/subsidiary or affiliate of one another, and that both companies are actively engaged in business.

The following documents may also be required:

  1. A letter from the prospective U.S. employer on company letterhead detailing the applicant’s position and the U.S. operation’s status.
  2. Letters proving that the U.S. and foreign entities are engaged in business. These can be from L-1 visa attorneys, bankers or accountants.
  3. Proof of the size and status of the U.S. and foreign entities.
  4. Documents that detail the value of the applicant’s skills in regards to the U.S. entity.

The employee should provide the following documents:

  1. A résumé or curriculum vitae
  2. Copies of passports for family members who will be joining
  3. Proof of education: degrees, transcripts, etc.
  4. Reference letters from former employers
  5. Professional licenses, if applicable

If the applicant is coming to the U.S. to start a new office, he or she should also provide the following documents:

  1. Proof of a building or location for the new office. A lease will work for this.
  2. Proof of his or her relationship with the foreign entity.
  3. Proof of financial resoluteness. The applicant must show that he or she can pay U.S. employees and handle any other business costs.
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