L1 visas are visas that allow the intracompany transfer of staff. If an organization desires to transfer staff to the US whether to start a new branch in the US or run an existing branch, the applicable type of visa is the L1 visa. There are two types of L1 visas: the L1A visa and the L1B visa. The L1A visas apply to managers and executives that are sent to run an existing branch of a company or start a US branch of the organization, while the L1B visa applies to staff with specialized knowledge that is sent to apply their skills in the US branch of the organization. The focus of this article is on the L1A variant.
Who is eligible?
The process of applying for an L1A visa involves the employer and the employee. Employees that are eligible to apply for L1A visas are those that meet the specified requirements for managers and executives. The requirements for managers and executives are stated below
A manager, as per the requirements for an L1A visa is a staff that is involved in the day-to-day running of the organization and most likely heads a unit. Such staff should also be in the position to hire and lay off other members of staff as necessary.
Executives, as per the requirements for an L1A visa are professionals that are involved in active decision making within the organization working with a minimal level of supervision. Such professionals are also involved in the management of activities within the organization.
Whether a manager or executive, the staff that applies for an L1A must have had continuous employment with the organization for up to a year within three years before the visa application. Certain requirements also determine whether an organization is eligible to apply for an L1A visa.
Applying for L1A Visa
After an organization and employee have been deemed fit for an L1A visa, the following processes should take place. The employer completes the Form I-129 and submits the form while paying the applicable fees. The Form I-129 receipt number is obtained, and the DS-160 documentation made online. Afterwards, one can set up a visa interview taking along the necessary documents to the interview. After the visa is approved, the passport will be sent back to the employees according to the pre-arranged means.
Benefits of an L1A Visa
With an L1A visa, one can stay in the US legally for up to 7 years. The initial period approved could range from one year to three years with the duration dependent on whether the employee is being sent to establish a new branch of the organization or run an existing branch. Until the maximum period of 7 years elapses, extensions of up to 2 years can be made. It is noteworthy that one can apply for a green card while maintaining L1A visa status. It is also worth mentioning that one can travel with their family when they have issued an L1A visa.
L1A visas also allow organizations to expand their reach and deploy capable hands to run their US branch or start a US branch.