Employment-based immigration can have its issues, but it’s nothing that the experienced attorneys here at SGM Law Group haven’t already encountered. The L-1A visa is a great visa for opening a new office in the U.S., but when technical difficulties arose in one of our cases, we rose to the challenge and faced it head on.
In order to qualify for an L-1A, you must be an executive or a manager for a multinational 7company that has a branch, affiliate, subsidiary or office in the U.S. You must also have been working for that company for at least one continuous year in the previous three years leading up to filing your petition.
As an executive, you must:
- Be able to exercise a great amount of control over the company and make decisions without substantial supervision.
As a manager, you must:
- Supervise the work of professional employees (employees with degrees)
- Be able to manage and make decisions concerning a department or function of the company
- Have the ability to hire, fire, and control the salary of employees as well as control their daily activities and tasks
Executives and Managers traveling to the U.S. under an L-1A have the option to establish a new office in the country if one does not already exist. There are some rules surrounding this, however, and the visa will only be issued for an initial period of one year.
Our client approached us with the desire to open a new office for a large overseas agricultural company right here in South Florida. Having decided that the L-1A visa was the best way to go, he came to us for help with filing.
However, establishing an L-1A new office is rarely easy, as it requires the applicant to show that he or she has substantial capital and physical premises in order to sustain the new office. You should also present a business plan to show that you are in a position to grow the office and create more jobs in the U.S.
Due to some serious technical difficulties, a few of the requirements were extremely difficult to fulfill. When we took the case, our attorneys knew that there would only be a small window of opportunity to show the USCIS that the new office would be successful.
After working extensively with the client and fully analyzing every aspect of the company and the circumstances surrounding the case, we compiled the necessary evidence in the narrow time frame and submitted the L-1A new office I-129 petition with premium processing.
All that we could do then was wait.
Of course, as with most of our cases, this one was a success. Despite the technical difficulties, the USCIS approved the L-1A new office petition without a Request for Evidence. The client is now able to open a new office in the U.S. and will have one year to demonstrate that the office is flourishing.
Another L-1A Success Story
The L-1 journey doesn’t stop there. Within one year, the L-1A new office must be able to support a manager or executive position (besides the L-1A holder). You must also replicate the strategy of the parent company by hiring local professionals.
Too many people come to the U.S. and open an L-1A new office and begin hiring under qualified, under educated, and sometimes even illegal workers. This strategy might be good for profits, but when that first year is up, you will not have much to show to the USCIS to extend your L-1A visa. If your extension is denied, you will most likely need to leave the U.S.
The entire process of applying for and maintaining an L-1A visa is both complex and delicate. Without the help of an immigration attorney, our client may not have been able to open his new office. We can help you with everything from gathering evidence to filing the appropriate fees.
If you have a complex case fraught with technical difficulties that lawyers are turning down left and right, come to us. Our attorneys have a long and successful track record of overcoming obstacles and delivering on our promises. To speak with one of our attorneys and schedule a consultation with our office, you can fill out our contact form on our website.