I am coming to set up a new business in the US. How long can I stay if I apply for an L-1A visa?

It depends. First, you must discover if you are eligible for the L-1A visa program. In order to set up a new branch of business for your company under the L-1 visa, you must first:

  • Have been employed by and actively working for a qualifying organization in a foreign country for twelve continuous months within a three-year period immediately preceding your admission to the United States, and
  • Seek to enter the United States expressly to provide service for a branch of the same employer (or one of its affiliated organizations) in a managerial or executive capacity 

If you are qualified to come to the US to serve in a managerial position, your company may apply for L-1A visa status on your behalf. Once you are approved, there are a few limitations on your visa to take note of:

  • Employees entering the US to establish new company offices will be granted a maximum initial stay of one year. Other employees may be granted stays of up to three years
  • Extension requests may be granted in increments not to exceed two years
  • All L-1A employees are limited to a maximum residence of seven years

If you wish to stay in the US any longer than the seven-year limit, you may be able to transition your visa into a green card.