L-1 visas are temporary working visas with no limit, meaning you cannot be denied because the maximum number of L-1 visas has already been approved for the year. An L-1A visa is for managerial and executive positions, meaning the individual has a certain level of authority within the company. For example, under an L-1A visa, a U.S. company sends a manager or executive from an affiliated foreign office to one of its offices in the United States. The visa also allows a foreign company to send a manager or executive to the U.S. to establish a U.S. office.
An executive position is broad. Executives exercise several duties for the company, such as creating policies, controlling the organization’s functions, directing management, and making discretionary decisions for the organization. Examples of executives include vice-presidents or anyone in the C-Suite such as the CEO, CFO, COO, etc.
A managerial position does not mean someone who directly manages others (i.e., a supervisory role). Instead, it means that the employee can make discretionary decisions and hire and fire people. For example, suppose someone is building a manufacturing plant in the United States, and they send an engineer who can make discretionary decisions on the layout and purchases that need to be made to develop the factory. In that case, they can be in a management position. However, that does not mean they have to have direct management over individuals.
Period of Stay
An L-1A visa holder will be granted three years of stay in the United States. The visit may be extended to a maximum of seven years but cannot go past seven years.
Spouses and Dependents
If you are in the United States on an L-1A visa, your spouse and dependents can come to the United States with you. If your spouse qualifies for Employment Authorization Documents, they can also work, and your children or dependents can attend school.
Employment Authorization Documents
An Employment Authorization Document is generally referred to as a work permit. It allows non-United States citizens to work in the U.S. temporarily. However, not everyone is eligible; only those whose spouses are here on an L-1A or H-1B workers visas or individuals who currently hold a fiancé or student visas may qualify for a work permit.
Qualifying for an L-1A Visa
An employee may be granted an L-1A visa if, within the three years preceding the petition for the visa, they have fulfilled the following and it has not been established through the petition:
- Has been employed abroad continuously for one year.
- Seeks to enter the United States temporarily on behalf of the employer or an affiliate.
- Will work in a managerial or executive capacity on behalf of the employer or an affiliate.
L-1A Visa Petition
An organization must file the visa petition on the employee’s behalf. The petition must show that the employee has the following:
- The employee will be employed in a managerial or executive position in the United States.
- The employee has prior experience, training, or employment that qualifies them for the managerial or executive position they will hold.
- The employee has at least one continuous year of employment with the qualifying organization.
- The employee is already in a position of managerial, executive, or has specialized knowledge required.
Does an Organization Need to File One Petition per Person?
No, suppose a company has very specific criteria, such as having a combined United States revenue of $25 million or at least 1,000 employees in the United States. In that case, they can file a blanket petition.