Intra company transfer of executives
and managers or L1A Visa

Intracompany transfers visas: L-1A

L-1A visa is for intra-company transfer of Managers or Executives. This visa category is popular among international entrepreneurs who wish to establish a U.S. presence of their existing foreign business. L-1A visa allows a non U.S. company to establish presence in the United States and transfer an Executive or Manager to manage the affairs of the company. 


Application requirements for L-1A visas:

Entrepreneurs interested in establishing a presence of their company in the United States and transferring themselves or an employee to U.S. need to fulfill certain requirements. This include but are not limited to:

1. The non U.S. company needs to be established for over a year;

2. The non U.S. company needs to incorporate a related entity in the United States in the form of an affiliate, parent, subsidiary or branch;

3. The Manager or Executive that is required to be moved to the United States should be working for the company for at least one year in the preceding 3 years;

4. The Manager or the Executive should not only have the designation but also perform managerial and executive functions such as policy formation, managing employees, strategizing and implementing corporate plans etc.

5. The U.S. company is required to have an actual physical office and employees that will report to the international manager or executive. 

6. A business plan is required to be submitted with the L-1A visa petition containing the details of the business i.e. nature of the business, break even analysis and a growth plan for at least 5 years including current and prospective organization chart. 


Advantages and Dis-advantages of L1-A visa

L-1A visa is one of the fastest and efficient ways of establishing a presence in the United States and making it function under an existing international manager or an executive. It is meant to give entrepreneurs access to the U.S. consumer market which has Ranked 1 in spending for many years. 

L-1A visa restricts the Manager or Executive to the sponsoring company. While this advantageous for the company, it might not be good for the visa holder. 

Spouse and children below the age of 21 years can move to the States along with the L-1A visa holder. Spouse of the L-1A visa holder is eligible to receive L-2 visa, which allows the spouse to work or study in the United States. Children of the L-1A visa holder can study in the United States.

L-1A visa is only granted for a period of 1 year to new businesses. Before the expiration of the first year the business needs to file for an extension for L-1A visa. Once the extension petition is approved, it can be granted for up to 3 years and then another extension is required. For established businesses the visa is granted for up to 3 years initially and requires extension post that. This leads to constant scrutiny of the company by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS. Also, the cost of filing multiple applications quickly adds up making the process expensive for some entrepreneurs. 

L-1A visa is only valid for a maximum of 7 years, post that the Manager or Executive needs to leave United States, this causes a lot of uncertainty in personal life, especially if the children are attending school. 

L-1A visa requires the company to have employees for the applicant to qualify as a Manager or an Executive. The business is also required to have an actual physical office. These requirements may lead to unwanted expenses to the business just to maintain a valid status of the Manager or Executive in the United States. 

After attaining the age of 21, children of L-1 visa holder age out and require their own visa to remain in the United States. 

L-1 visa is a work permit for international managers and executives. It does not grant permanent residence to them. The managers need to file a separate green card application under employment based category which has a very high standard and is often denied.