Visas for International Business Owners
What are the basic requirements of the L-1A visa?
Generally, the L-1A immigration applicant must have been a manager or executive in a foreign company for at least one out of the last three years who is being transferred to a manager or executive position in a related U.S. company. The U.S. and foreign companies must have a specific legal relationship, which typically involves particular types of shared ownership (e.g. parent, subsidiary).
Some frequently asked questions regarding L-1A visas are:
Can I qualify for the L-1A if I have not yet opened my U.S. business?
Yes, L-1A visas are available for new U.S. offices, but also have an option for a shortened visa validity of one year. Careful preparation is critical for L-1A new office cases because they are more closely scrutinized. For example, most attorneys will recommend a detailed business plan for a successful new office L-1A case.
Do I have to invest a specific amount of money for the L-1A visa?
There is no minimum investment amount for an L-1A visa (unlike the investor greencards or E-2 visas), but the amount of money paid and payable towards US operations should make sense for other businesses of similar size in the industry. Keep in mind that US CIS is looking to understand that the US and foreign companies are legitimate and viable.
Can I bring my spouse and children to the US on an L-1A visa?
Yes, the spouse and children under 21 years of age are issued L-2 visas. Also, the L-2 spouse is eligible for a work permit.
Do I have to stay in the U.S. if I have an L-1A visa?