General Requirements and Special Conditions of L Visa Category:
1. General Requirement
The L non-immigrant visa category is one of the most useful tools available to international companies needing to bring foreign employees to the United States. If a few basic requirements can be met, many advantages exist to using the L category. Note that under the 1990 Act, a new employment-based immigrant preference category was created for managers and executives who meet the L-1 standards for those employees. These aliens are considered “priority workers” in the first preference, which has 40,000 annual immigrant visas allotted to it.
An alien may be admitted to the United States in L-1 status for the period of time required by the employer, up to a maximum initial period of stay of three years. The total period of stay may reach seven years for L-1A managers and executives, and five years for L-1B specialized knowledge personnel. In a change from the law existing before the 1990 Act, additional periods of stay beyond these limits cannot be granted based on a showing of extraordinary circumstances.
3. Application process
- The U.S. employer must file a petition with the Immigration Service in order to obtain permission to transfer a foreign national for a temporary period.
- Once the petition is approved, the approved petition is sent to a U.S. consulate where the alien can obtain an L-1 visa to enter the United States.
- If the alien is already in the United States in a different non-immigrant category, his or her status must be changed to the L-1 category.
- Under past rules, the change was made by filing a separate application for change of status with the L-1 petition; under current rules, the change of status is incorporated in the L-I petition, and a separate application form is not required.
Blanket petitions: Note that the procedures are different for employers who have received approval of a blanket petition permitting them to issue certificates of eligibility directly to their transferring employees, who take them to a U.S. consulate for L-1 visa issuance.
4. Special conditions
The “priority worker” immigration category for L-1 managers and executives:
L employees who are in managerial or executive roles also have an advantageous route to permanent residence. Under changes made by the 1990 Act, a new employment-based immigrant preference category is created which includes managers and executives meeting L-1 standards. The first employment-based preference for “priority workers,” including L-1 level managers and executives, is allotted 40,000 annual immigrant visas. Aliens qualifying for immigration in this category are exempted from the usual labor certification requirement, thereby abbreviating the procedures and time required to obtain permanent residence.
Non-immigrant intent and permanent residence papers:
Another advantage for L-1 aliens is that they do not need to show that they maintain a foreign residence during their U.S. stay and they may seek permanent residence and still obtain L-1 visas, petition approvals, and extensions of stay. The 1990 Act eliminated the requirement that L-1 aliens establish their non-immigrant intent and removed the filing of permanent residence papers as a relevant factor in determining whether L-1 aliens are legitimate non-immigrant.
Limits on stay and approval of new petitions:
An L-1 alien who has been present in the United States for the full period of stay-five years for specialized knowledge personnel or seven years for executives and managers is barred from reentering the United States in either H or L status until he or she has resided outside of the United States for a full year.
Family members of the L-1 non-immigrant
Family members of the L-1 non-immigrant are entitled to admission in the L-2 non-immigrant category. Included in this category is the spouse of the visa holder, as well as minor unmarried children under the age of 21. Once children attain the age of 21 or get married, they are no longer eligible to remain in the United States in L-2 status.
The family members of the principal alien, who are admitted with the alien, but classified in the L-2 category, can undertake courses of study in the U.S. while remaining in L-2 status. Until recently, family members could not engage in employment in the U.S. unless they were independently qualified, e.g., eligible for H-1B classification or another work-authorized category.
If you have any questions, our office in Wani & Associates will be happy to help you explain the J1 Visa program requirements. Please feel free to Contact Now: 1-866-755-9264 .