Businesses that have offices in more than one country are multinational corporations. These businesses hire workers in their home country. But, they may also transfer temporary workers to live and work legally in the United States. What is necessary for you to work in the U.S. is to receive a job offer from this type of company. Then, you can apply for an L-1 visa which would allow you to work in the U.S. office of this international company. The L-1 visa is sometimes called the 'intra-company transferee' visa.
How do I apply for an L-1 visa? What is required?
To obtain an L-1 visa, you must be able to prove that you have worked for the non-U.S. company for at least one full year within the last three years as an executive, manager or employee with specialized knowledge. The L-1 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:
Can my family join me in the United States under an L visa?
Yes. Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 are allowed to join you in the U.S., under L-2 status. The L-2 spouse is allowed to work provided that s/he first obtains employment authorization from the USCIS. L-2 spouse as well as L-2 children can attend school or college. Servants may be eligible for a B-1 visa with work authorization.
How do I apply?
The employer must file a petition with the USCIS Regional Service Center with jurisdiction over the location of the position. These documents should be photocopies of the originals. The L-1 petition can be “premium processed” which means that if an additional fee of $ 1000 is paid on top of the filing fee of $190 and the fraud prevention and detection fee of $500, the petition can be adjudicated in as little as 15 days of being filed with the USCIS.
Once approved, the USCIS will forward the petition to the U.S. Consulate nearest your place of residence for review. If you are not in the U.S. when your petition is approved, you must get your visa stamped at the U.S. Consulate before being allowed to enter the U.S. Your employer will receive Form I-797, notice of approval. After receipt of the I-797, you must then file-in Form DS-160 at the Consulate.
How long can I live and work in the U.S. under an L visa?
The L visa is valid for 3 years.
What documents will I need for the L visa?
To apply for an L-1 Visa, you must supply the following documents:
Your petition should show that both the U.S. and foreign-based company meet USCIS requirements for L-1 status. The U.S. entity should be a branch office, subsidiary or affiliate of the foreign enterprise, and both companies should be actively engaged in business.
The following documents may also be required:
You, the employee, should provide the following documents:
If you are coming to the U.S. to start a new office, you should also provide the following documents: