About L-1A Visa & EB-1C Permanent Residence
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON L-1A VISA & EB-1C PERMANENT RESIDENCE
Question: What are the basic criteria to qualify for L-1A status?
Answer. Employment in an executive or managerial capacity with an overseas entity for at least 1 year prior to entry to USA. This employment to be within the 3 years preceding entry.
Thereafter the proposed transfer to the USA to work in an executive or managerial capacity for a USA subsidiary or affiliate of the overseas entity
Question: Is there a minimum amount of money needed in the USA?
Answer. No but at least about $50,000.00 should be transferred to the USA entity’s bank account
Question: I know that the USA entity must be a subsidiary or affiliate of the overseas entity, but what is the definition of those terms?
Answer: (1) Subsidiary: The USA entity must be owned at least 51% by the overseas entity
(2) Affiliate: This means that the shareholders in the USA and the overseas entities must be the same individuals and their shareholding in each entity must be approximately the same
Question: Must the business in the USA be the same or similar to the type of business conducted by the foreign business?
Answer: No. The business in the USA can be the same or totally different than that conducted by the business abroad
Question: For what period can I get an L-1A Visa?
Answer: If the USA entity is a new one then the L-1 is for 1 Year. If the USA entity has been operating for at least 1 year (Whether it operated as an independent business or a subsidiary of the overseas entity is irrelevant ) then the L-1A will be approved for 2 or 3 years depending on the Immigration Officer adjudicating the case.
Question: Can I renew the L-1A Visa:
Answer: Yes , prior to its expiry, but this is subject to the foreign entity continuing in business and the USA entity having done business in its first year and showing either a profit or a potential for profit and showing increasing turnover. Furthermore Immigration will require a demonstration that the USA entity has employed USA workers. It is preferable that a minimum of 3 workers be indicated. The renewal period is usually given for 2 years and on occasions for 3 years. The total period of an L-1A Visa is 7 years
Question: If I get an L-1A Visa what will my family get and what does that visa entitle them to do?
Answer: Spouse and children under 21 years unmarried receive L-2 visas. The Spouse can obtain work permission from the INS, thereby entitling her to work anywhere for any business in the USA . The children can study at school or college and the family can obtain Drivers License.
Question: What briefly stated, is required of the new USA entity for the L-1 visa?
Answer: A lease of business premises for at least 1 year and photographs of inside and outside :
A bank account in the name of the USA entity showing funds therein
A business license or the Application for the license
A letter of employment from the new USA entity to the proposed L-1 beneficiary
Copy of Certificate and Articles of Incorporation
Proposed organizational chart
Telephone/Fax installation confirmation
Question: What, briefly stated, is required from the foreign business (that is the business in the foreign country) for the L-1A visa?
Answer: Proof of its existence for over 1 year and the operative nature of the business. This is attended to by providing documents such as :
Certificate and Articles of Incorporation or if sole proprietorship then business registration certificate or if partnership then partnership agreement :
Bank statements for last year
Examples of receipts, invoices, purchase orders, etc(2 of each for latest 6 moth period ) :
Lease of business premises or if owned then Deed of Ownership plus photographs of the inside and outside if the premises :
Photographs of products (if applicable ) :
Examples of advertising and/or brochures or pamphlets of the business :
Any special business licenses issued by any local or Government authority :
Tax returns of the business for the last 2 available years together with financial statement;
If latest tax return not available then an unaudited financial statement for the period;
Payroll returns for last year: If individual requesting L-1A is not set out on business payroll due to the executive or managerial nature of employment, then a letter from the Accountant of the business confirming the individual=s employment on a full time basis in the appropriate Executive or Managerial capacity. This letter should further confirm date of commencement of employment through to the present and explain that individual not on payroll as Executives or Managers are placed on regular worker payroll;
Question: How long does it take to get an L-1A visa?
Answer: Between 60- 120 days from filing. However there is a Premium Processing Service now available in terms of which on payment of a $1225.00 to the Immigration Service the latter will make a decision in 15 days from date receipt of the Premium Processing request together with the $1225.00 fee
Question: If I am here on a B-2/B-1 visa can I change to L-1A visa:
Answer: Yes it is usually approved but of course not guaranteed . If approved the alien receives a new I-94 confirming the L-1A status and there is then no need for the alien to leave the USA. If not approved this means the L-1A will be approved but the alien will have to return to his home country to have the L-1A stamped in the passport by the US Consul and thereafter can return to the USA. If the change of status
Question: Once Immigration approves the L-1A visa can I go to Mexico to have it stamped in my passport by the US Consulate there or must I return to my home country for this procedure. I know I will need the stamp to enable me to travel in and out of the USA?
Answer: Technically yes, but it is very risky as should the visa be refused for any reason the L-1A holder and his family will have to return immediately to their home country for the visa. Therefore the prudent step would be to plan , at the alien’s convenience, a return to the home country and have the visa stamped in at the Home country
Please note that if you have no intention of traveling outside the USA then you do not need a visa in your passport. The new I-94 which will be issued to you by the Immigration Service on approval of the L-1A visa will be sufficient for you to remain legally in the USA for the duration of the period set out on the I-94. The same situation applies to your family members as regards their L-2.
Question: If I am outside the USA when the L-1A Visa is Approved by the Immigration Service what is the procedure to enable to have the Visa stamped in my passport so that I can come to the USA in L-1A status?
Answer: When the Immigration Service approves the L-1A visa we will transmit to you the Original Approval Notice together with a full copy of the Visa Petition and all accompanying documents that we submitted to the Immigration Service. We will also forward the applicable Visa Application forms DS 156 & DS 157 (Which we will assist you in completing for you as far as possible) . On receipt of the mentioned documents you can immediately make an appointment with the USA Consulate in your area for the interview for you and your family to have the L-1A and L-2 Visas stamped in your passports
Question: Can the L-1A visa lead to Permanent Residence (Green Card)?
Answer: Yes this is possible for the L-1A holder and his/her spouse and minor children unmarried and under 21 years of age.
The Immigrant Visa Petition (I-140) can be filed with the Immigration Service after the USA business has been operative for at least 1 year. It is essential that both the USA and the foreign business be operative at all times . Also the USA entity should have as a minimum about 3 workers aside from the L-1A beneficiary. However the more workers the better the success possibility. Please note that the number of workers necessary is not a legal requirement but more of a practical requirement to demonstrate the fact that the alien beneficiary is working in an Executive or Managerial capacity and not merely attending to day to day tasks.
To obtain Permanent Residence the procedure can take between 12 to 18 months.
Note that whilst the Permanent Residence Application (EB-1C) is pending you will be legally living and working in the USA on your L-1A visa and can also travel in and out of the country as often as desired as along as the visa has been stamped in the passport. If the L-1A visa is not stamped in the passport travel is still possible if the alien has a pending Adjustment of Status Application. In this latter instance a request can be made to the Immigration Service for advanced parole to travel abroad and return to the USA.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR L-1A (INTRA COMPANY TRANSFEREE) VISA FROM THE BUSINESS ABROAD
- Documents regarding the formation of the company.
- If a corporation, then evidence of incorporation of business such as certificate and articles of incorporation, memorandum of association, minutes of the first meeting of the corporation where it is set out the share allocation in the corporation, all share certificates issued together (where available an extra from the share register book confirming the issuance of the shares—if this register is not available there a statement from your accountants verifying the shares issued.)
Please note: that the above applies to all shares issued immediately after the formation of the corporation as well as those issued at a later date.
- If a partnership, then a copy of the partnership agreement together with a letter from your accountants verifying the partnership existence and the percentage of each partner therein.
- If a sole proprietorship, then a copy of the registration of the business as such together with a letter from your accountants confirming the name of the sole proprietor.
- Business registration certificate and/or business license (this could apply only to the local municipal authority as well as any federal government if the latter is also applicable).
- Evidence of current business activity over the past 12 months such as the following: invoices, receipts, purchase orders, bills of lading, and related import/export documents, contracts with suppliers and/or customers.
Please note: it is sufficient that you provide two (2) documents from each of the twelve (12) months preceding your instruction our office to proceed with L-1A visa.
- Evidence of good financial standing such as the following: income tax returns for the 2 years preceding the L-1A application, financial statement including balance sheet and profit-loss account for the latest period bing either the last 12 months or whichever is available.
- Copies of bank statements for the past 12 months.
- Any brochures, advertisements, pamphlets, other literature about the business.
- The lease of the premises in which your business is located. If, however, you own the property in which the business premises are situation, then a copy of the deed of ownership.
- Photographs of the interior and exterior of the business premises. The interior photographs could show the workers, products, equipment and machinery, the exterior photographs should show the building from different angles as well as showing the name of the business on a sign outside the building.
- Copies of the payroll of the business for the previous 12 months. If your name is not reflected on the payroll due to your executive position then provide proof of your employment with the business and any remuneration received. The latter situation can be attended to be documentation and/or a letter from your accountants.
- Organization chart of the business reflecting the hierarchy of workers and their areas of business. This chart should clearly indicate the executives at the head of the chart, then managers below them, then supervisors, and then finally workers.
Note: As regards all executives and managers, please set out their educational level (for example: “Bachelors Degree in Accounting”).