Powell Immigration Law PC | Business, Employment and Family Immigration Law | California

L-1 Visas for New Office

A basic overview of the visa is provided here. If you have further inquiries as to the application process or whether or not this is the correct route for your needs, please don't hesitate to contact us.

General

This subcategory of the L-1 intracompany transfer visa, usually referred to as a “new office” L-1 petition, applies when a foreign entrepreneur is travelling to the United States to establish a new office. In these cases, the entrepreneur is required to make the first steps in establishing the business in the U.S. before the L-1 petition may be filed.

The duration of the setting-up period is one year, though it may be extended if appropriate. There is also no minimum capital investment required, but it is recommended that such funds match the standard of the particular industry.

Managers and Executives (L-1A)

Beneficiary's intended to be managers or executives under the L-1A visa and travelling to either open or be employed in the new office should submit evidence demonstrating that:

  • An adequate amount of physical space for housing the new office has been secured.
  • The beneficiary has been employed for at least one continuous year within the three years prior to the filing of the petition. This must have been in an executive or managerial capacity in addition to that of the proposed employment and authority in the new operation.
  • In one year the new office will satisfy the "doing business" standard (see L-1 intracompany transfer visa) and will support the necessity of a managerial or executive position. This should be supported by information such as:
    • The business plan and intended nature of the office including the scale of the entity, organizational structure, personnel plan, timetables for hiring and financial goals.
    • The size of the U.S. investment in addition to the financial capability of the foreign affiliate to compensate the beneficiary and commence business in the U.S.
    • The foreign entity's organizational structure.

It is expected during this setting up period that the manager or executive will be more involved in the daily operations than would be appropriate once the office is fully functional, but he or she should still have substantial discretion and authority in plans and decision-making as well as hiring staff and directing the management.

Individuals of Specialized Knowledge (L-1B)

Beneficiaries of specialized knowledge intended for the L-1B visa should submit evidence within their new office petition demonstrating the following:

  • An adequate amount of physical space for housing the new office has been secured.
  • The business entity is or will be a qualifying organization (see L-1 intracompany transfer visa).
  • The financial capability of the foreign affiliate to compensate the beneficiary and commence business in the U.S.

 

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