Qualifications for L-1 Visa Applicants Seeking to Start a Business in California

Your employer has opened new business offices in the US, and you’re excited to transfer into this new career opportunity. But will you have to fill out endless visa forms and documents in order to make the move?

Not necessarily. If there is a large group of employees transferring to the US, your foreign employer may be able to petition for a visa on your behalf. This method of intracompany transfer is easier on the employees and the company, since it does not require each employee to file separate L-1 petitions with USCIS.

Transferring employees may receive blanket L-1A or L-1B visas as long as:

  • Your company (and each of its organizations and businesses) is engaged in commercial services or trade
  • Your employer has an office already established in the United States
  • Your company’s US office has been in existence and doing business for one year or more
  • Your employer has at least three domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates

In addition to these criteria, your company must also have accomplished one of the following:

  • Obtained no fewer than ten L-1 approvals during the previous 12-month period
  • Have a combined annual sales of at least $25 million in its US subsidiaries or affiliates
  • Employ at least 1,000 workers in its US-based business

The major benefit of the blanket L-1 visa is that an employer can transfer eligible employees to the U.S. much more quickly than under standard L-1 visas. However, it is important to note that the blanket L petition does have a few drawbacks. You will not be guaranteed L-1A status under a blanket visa unless you are performing managerial duties in the U.S., and you will be limited to a maximum stay of seven years.

Vaughan de Kirby
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San Francisco California EB-5 Investment Immigration Attorney