What is the Procedure for obtaining L-1 Visa Status?

The process for obtaining L-1 status:

l-1 visa1.       Prepare the Preliminary Papers

There are three components to the papers the employer must prepare:

  • The petition
  • The company’s letter supporting the petition
  • Documents supporting the petition
  • When the employee is coming to establish a new office-one in existence for less than a year-the papers must contain special elements not included in other types of petitions. These special elements are highlighted in the following sections and should be reviewed carefully in the case of companies in existence in the U.S. for less than one year. Under the USCIS regulations, a petition for a transferee coming to a new office can only be approved for an initial period of one year; extensions up to the full outer limit on stay are possible after the one-year initial period, provided the new office is established and doing business by that time, and an overseas affiliate remains in operation as well.
  • When a company has used the L visa category to bring to the U.S. at least 10 managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge professional employees in the preceding 12 months, it may be eligible to use the L-1 blanket petition program. Other standards exist as well in determining whether a company is qualified for the L-1 blanket petition program. The procedure for this program, which enables companies to cut back dramatically on their paperwork and issue their own certificates of eligibility to their transferees, is different than that for individual petitions.

2.       Submit the Papers

All papers, together with the correct filing fee, must be submitted to the USCIS service center with jurisdiction over the place of intended employment.

3.       Have the employee obtain an L-1 Visa

After obtaining the approval notice from the USCIS, the employer can give it to the employee to take with him or her to a U.S. consulate abroad to obtain a visa to enter the United States. Unless the employee is a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant of Canada from a British Commonwealth country, he or she must obtain a visa to enter the United States after receiving the approval notice from the USCIS. The approval notice is not enough to get the employee into the United States by itself.

Preparation of the Papers

Preparing the petition (Form I-129)

A petition to transfer any alien employee to the United States is made on Form I-129 and L Supplement. When dealing with Form I-129 and the L Supplement, keep the two points discussed below in mind:

  • Form I-129 and the L Supplement must he completed in duplicate and executed in duplicate.

The second copy of the form may be a carbon or other reproduction of the original, but original signatures must appear on both.

  • Family members (spouses and unmarried children under 21) are automatically included in the initial petition.

A separate form need not be filed for family members of the principal beneficiary. When the petition is approved, however, they will need to file separate applications at the U.S. consulate to obtain entry visas. Note, however, that family members are not automatically included when Form I-129 and L Supplement are filed for the principal alien’s extension of stay or change of status to the L category. In those cases, Form I-129 must be filed for the family members concurrently with the principal alien’s Form I-129 and L supplement.

WANI & ASSOCIATES, P.C Attorneys and Counselors at Law provide a wide variety of immigration services in the states of Maryland and Virginia as well as District of Columbia. We have three offices conveniently located in Virginia (Falls Church and Woodbridge) and Maryland (Langley Park). Our firm specializes in all kinds of Immigration matters. Call at: (301) 434-1666


Basic Requirements For Obtaining L-1 Status

Special Requirements for obtaining L-1 Visa:

images1.    The employee must have worked abroad for the overseas company for a continuous period of one year in the preceding three years:

The employee must have completed one continuous year of employment outside of the United States with the overseas company within the preceding three years before he or she can be transferred to the related U.S. Company. The USCIS will look at the three years preceding the date of the petition to see whether the alien has spent the requisite continuous period of one year of employment abroad.

  • Six-month rule for L-1 transferees under blanket petitions: Legislation enacted in December 2004 restores the one-year pre-employment requirement for L-1 visa applicants filing under the blanket petition program. A 2002 amendment had reduced the one-year employment requirement for L-1s coming in under blanket petitions to six months.
  • Part-time employment abroad: A year or more of part-time employment cannot be added up to meet the one-year abroad requirement, unless the employee has worked part-time for each of several foreign affiliates of the U.S. Company, and the total employment time equals full-time hours.
  • Intervening employment with unrelated foreign employer: The regulations do not require that the alien’s current foreign employer and the petitioner be related entities, but rather that the alien must have worked for a qualifying organization for one continuous year within three years preceding the application for admission to the United States.

2.    The overseas company must be related to the U.S. company in a specific manner:

The law states that the company abroad for which the employee has worked for a year abroad must be “the same employer or a subsidiary or affiliate” of the U.S. company. The meaning of these terms can become quite complex.

3.    The company must be a qualifying organization:

The Company must be a qualifying organization, i.e., one that is doing business in the United States and one other country during the whole period of the transfer. The “qualifying organization” concept arises from the government concern that the L-1 category will be used by owners of small businesses abroad who “transfer” themselves to the United States.

4.    The employee to be transferred must have been employed abroad in an “executive” or “managerial” position or a position involving “specialized knowledge”:

The meaning of the terms “executive,” “managerial,” and “specialized knowledge” can also be quite complex.

5.    The employee must be coming to the U.S. Company to work in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity:

The employee does not have to render services in the same capacity in the United States that he or she filled abroad. For example, a “specialized knowledge” employee abroad may be coming to the United States to fill a managerial position.

6.    The employee must he qualified for the position by virtue of his or her prior education and experience:

The USCIS requires that proof of the alien’s qualification for the job be submitted with the L-1 petition.

7.    The L-1 alien must intend to depart the United States upon completion of his or her authorized stay (including extensions), but may also pursue permanent residence at the same time:

For most companies, a simple affirmation that the transferee temporarily will depart the United States upon completion of his or her authorized stay is sufficient. When the transferee is also an owner/operator of the company, however, the papers must be accompanied by evidence that the employee will not remain indefinitely or permanently in this country.

8.    Special requirements applicable to Canadian and Mexican intracompany transferees under NAFTA:

NAFTA contains a strike provision which is only applicable to Canadian and Mexican intracompany transferees; under the strike provision, the USCIS may deny a petition for L-1 classification, suspend an approved petition, or deny entry to a citizen of Canada or Mexico if a strike or work stoppage has been certified by the Department of Labor in the place of intended employment.

If you are a potential immigrant or are already in the United States, an immigration lawyer Fairfax can help you find successful answers to many of the legal issues that foreign citizens face. Please contact Wani & Associates for a free consultation. We can be reached by telephone, fax, or by filling out the client intake form. Call Now at: (703) 556-6626 or Visit our Website: http://www.wanilaw.com

Basic Requirements for Obtaining P-1 Status

General Requirements of P-1 Visa Category:

P-1 Visa CaegoryThe P-1 category is set aside for:

  • Alien  athletes  who  compete  individually  or  as  part  of  a  team  at  an internationally recognized level.
  • Aliens who perform with, or are an integral and essential part of the performance of, an entertainment group that has received international recognition as “outstanding” for a “sustained and substantial period of time.”

1.      P-1 athletes and athletic teams

With regard to athletes and athletic teams, the USCIS rules provide that a petition for an athletic team must be accompanied by evidence that the team as a unit has achieved international recognition in the sport. An athlete who will compete individually, and not part of a team, must be accompanied by evidence that the athlete has achieved international recognition in the sport based on his or her reputation.

Special note regarding players in MLB and the NHL

Under current Service policy, players under contract with teams in Major League Baseball or the National Hockey League are merely required to submit their contracts with such teams to establish their P-1 credentials.

2.       P-1 entertainment groups

With regard to entertainment groups, the rules provide that P-1 classification can be accorded to the entertainment group to perform as a unit based on the international reputation of the group; thus, individual entertainers cannot be accorded  P-1 classification to  perform separate and  apart from the group. With some exceptions, two principal requirements apply to entertainment groups:

  • The group must have been internationally recognized as outstanding in the discipline for a sustained and substantial period of time.
  • 75% of the members of the group must have had a sustained and substantial relationship with the group for at least one year and must provide functions integral to the group’s performance.

One-year membership Requirement

  • The one-year requirement can be waived because of illness or unanticipated and exigent circumstances affecting a group member or when an alien augments the group by performing a critical role.
  • The one-year requirement is inapplicable to circus performers and essential circus support personnel.

Special note regarding solo entertainers, young artists and new groups

The government has underlined that P-1 petitions may not be approved for solo foreign entertainers. The only basis for approval of a P-1 petition for a single entertainer is when that entertainer will be coming to the United States to join a foreign-based entertainment group, e.g., an alien orchestra member coming to the United States to play with an orchestra already on tour here.

3.       Positions requiring services of P-1 aliens

With regard to P-1 aliens or groups, the position in the United States must require the services of the P-1 alien or group under USCIS rules. Thus, for a P-1 alien seeking classification as an athlete in an individual capacity, the rules provide that the alien must be coming to the United States to perform services in a competition or event which requires an internationally recognized athlete.

4.       P-1 essential support personnel

With regard to entertainment groups, the addition of aliens who are an integral and essential part of the entertainment group is an important revision made by the 1991 Amendments.

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