L-1 Visas for Transfers of Foreign Employees to the US
A parent, branch, affiliate or subsidiary of a US company may qualify for transfer of its employees to the US so long as the employee has been in continuous employment abroad with the qualifying foreign employer for one year within the three years preceding the time of L-1 petition filing on the employee’s behalf. Only executives, managers and those with specialized knowledge of the company’s operations are eligible for L-1 visa issuance.
Under L-1 regulations it is possible to transfer a qualified employee for the purpose of opening a new office in the US. A minimum 12 month commercial lease will be required as well as establishing the legal relationship between the foreign and US company. A detailed business plan explaining the company’s objectives in the US will also be required.
Before the foreign employee can apply for a visa abroad, the company must file a petition for L-1 status with the Immigration Service in the US and this petition must be approved in advance of the visa appointment. Substantial and well-presented documentation is the key to success in procuring L-1 petition approvals.