L1 Visa Information

In today’s world, in order for a business to be a player in the global market, it is almost unimaginable for an organization to not have a US presence. Such a venture can come with its share of pitfalls. However, retaining an experienced immigration lawyer can alleviate a lot of the guess work.

L1 Visa and US Business Expansion

If you have or are working for an existing business in Canada or another country, you may qualify for an L1 Visa to the US. L1 Visas are a type of US Work Visa and are for people expanding their business to the U.S. or are being transferred to an existing American Business.

L1 Visas and the Requirements

• You must have worked outside the United States such as in Canada for one full year within the preceding three years on a full time basis; and
• You must have worked for a “qualifying organization” outside the United States as an executive, manager or in a “specialized knowledge”; and
• You are being transferred to the United States to work for a new or existing U.S. Business that is either subsidiary, branch or affiliate of the Canadian company.

L1 Visas Have Two  Basic Types:
L-1A Visas are issued for employees working as an executive or manager for their company.
L-1B Visas are those persons with specialized knowledge.

Note: Each of these terms (manager, executive and specialized knowledge worker) have a very specific legal definition. Therefore it is recommended that you consult with an experienced immigration lawyer.

Contact us today for a consultation with one of our Immigration Lawyers for the Boston, MA. area.

L1 Visas and Their Expiry

• L1A visas (managers or executives) are valid for a total period of seven years from the date of issuance. This visa may be extended if one resides in and commutes from Canada or Mexico to the United States for employment.
• L1B visas (specialized knowledge workers) are valid for a total period of five years. Again, if one is a commuter, this period may be extended.

Businesses That Qualify for L1 Visas

L1 visas are available to employees working for companies outside the United States such as in Canada that have branches, subsidiaries, affiliates or joint venture partners in the United States.

Each type of business relationship is precisely defined by U.S. Immigration Regulations and legal advice is required to determine whether the business relationship complies with the INS definition.

It is also important to note that the foreign business outside the U.S. must continue to operate during the L-1 transfer to the United States. This means that while the foreign worker is in the United States pursuant to the L-1 visa, the business outside the United States must be ongoing. The foreign business outside the United States should therefore retain at least one employee abroad during the duration of the L-1 visa status.

L1 Visas for Canadians

Canadians can apply for L1 Work Visas and can take advantage of NAFTA by of applying for L1 visas at a U.S/Canadian port of entry rather than having to apply at a U.S. immigration office called a Service Center in the U.S. This means that the Canadian can take all his or her documentation to a U.S. border and receive an L1 Visa on the spot!

Documents Needed When Applying for L1 Visa

There is generally a laundry list of required documents when applying for a L1. Here are some key examples:
• Information about the existing Canadian company you currently work for
• Your recent employment in Canada and business plans for the US.
• US company documents etc.

There are also U.S. Immigration forms to complete such as the I-129.

Maneuvering through the legalities and regulations may prove overwhelming to many, to ensure you have all the necessary documentation before beginning the rigorous task of pursuing a L1 Visa, it may be in your best interest to consult a skilled immigration attorney. Our expert team in Boston is here to assist you.

Contact us today for a consultation with one of our Immigration Lawyers for the Boston, MA. area.

I walked in expecting the worst as a result of passed occurrences with a prior Boston law firm instead walked into a really good situation. The officer didn’t have any negative remarks about the application and issued the L1A Visa in minutes of waiting for the interview window. Thank you a great deal. I give you a WOW for support and knowledge.Dale S.