THE L-1A VISA: HOW TO QUALIFY
The standard for qualification under the L-1A visa program involves two broad areas in which the applicant must meet the criteria outlined under the United States immigration laws. The applicant must demonstrate that his or her employer meets the definition of a qualifying organization “doing business as an employer in the United States.” Additionally, the employee must show that he or she has previously worked abroad for the qualifying organization for at least one continuous year within the last three years prior to his or her admission to the United States. Further, as a guest worker in the U.S. will be working in an executive or managerial capacity for a branch of the same company or one of its qualifying organizations.
To qualify for L-1A classification in this category, the employer must:
- Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company such as being part of the same firm or corporation, or related as parent, branch, affiliate or subsidiary (qualifying organization).
- Currently be, or will be, doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country for the duration of the L-1A guest worker’s beneficiary’s stay in the United States as an L-1A guest worker.
Qualifying Relationship with a Foreign Company
A qualifying relationship with a foreign company refers to the requirement that the multinational company employing the L-1A applicant overseas offices and its U.S. offices must be part of the same organization. They must be the same firm or company, or related as a parent, branch, affiliate or subsidiary of the corporation.
Doing Business as an Employer in the United States
During the length of the guest worker’s stay in the U.S. as an L-1A worker, the employer organization must be “doing business” through entities in the U.S. and at least one other country through a qualifying relationship. “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.
To qualify, the named employee must also:
- Have worked for the qualifying organization abroad for one continuous year within the last three years before entering the United States; and
- Enter the United States to work in an executive or managerial capacity for the qualifying organization.
Employed Abroad for One Year
The guest worker must have been employed abroad by the qualifying organization for one year continuously within the 3 years preceding filing the L-1 petition. Further, the employment abroad must have been full time, not part time.
Executive capacity refers to the employee’s ability to make decisions of wide latitude without much oversight. “Executive capacity” means an assignment within an organization in which the employee “primarily” performs executive, or high-level functions. This usually entails a demonstrable degree of autonomy and independence in the execution of the job.
Managerial capacity 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.
Doesn’t quite fit? Read on to learn about the L-1B visa.