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.
One of the primary focuses of an L-1A (subcategory of L-1) visa for executives and managers is to show that, after the initial office setup period of one year, the beneficiary will be relieved from performing operational duties not viewed as managerial or executive by other employees to be hired within one year of business's operation.
During the first-year preparations, a manager or executive may be required, as a practicality, to engage in many “hands-on” tasks that are generally not considered to fall under the duties of a manager or executive. After the first year, however, it will be required that the manager or executive generally only perform managerial or executive tasks in order to obtain an L-1 extension.
While the number of employees required to relieve the beneficiary from performance of non-qualifying job duties depends on the nature of the business and is not defined by regulation, the following information should be provided in applying for such an L-1 extension:
- An organizational chart with detailed lists of employees, job descriptions and payroll.
- A statement describing the foreign entity's duties and achievements, as well as decisions made.
- Reports prepared by subordinates, evidence of projects, orders, memos and agreements executed.
- Other relevant documentation.
It should also be noted that independent contractors are also applicable in proving that there are sufficient employees to relieve the manager or executive of non-qualifying duties. United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) may also require a multi-tiered organization in cases of having to justify an executive.
The initial petition will be approved for three years (one year for new office petitions), and can be renewed twice for time spans of two years each, bringing the allowed total to seven years.
Meeting the Definition of a Manager or Executive
It is crucial that the legal definition of a manager or executive be met in submitting an L1-A petition, it is not enough to simply have the appropriate title of such a position. The position must include a certain level of authority and a mix of duties, including planning, organizing, directing and controlling the organization's major functions and directing other employees in meeting its goals. A detailed description of these must be enclosed withing the petition.
Duties should also not include ones not associated with a managerial or executive capacity such as the organization's operational activities, or the direct supervision of lower level employees. The exception to this rule is when the person in question is engaged in applying his or her professional expertise in solving a specific issue.
An appropriate managerial capacity is typically associated with an employee of the following characteristics:
- Manages either the organization or one of its departments, subdivisions, functions or components.
- Supervises and directs the work of other upper level employees in supervisory, managerial or professional roles.
- Possesses the authority to hire or terminate employees as well as other actions such as granting promotions or leaves of absence.
- Exercises discretionary authority over the daily operations.
Those deemed to be working under the accepted definition of an executive capacity are associated with the following qualities:
- Directs the management of the organization or that of one of its major functions or components.
- Establishes organizational goals.
- Possesses significant authority in organizational decision-making.
- Is subjected to only general supervision or direction from higher authorities in control of the organization.