If you work for a foreign employer who is setting up business offices in the United States, you may qualify to oversee and establish the operation. Under the L-1 visa, a foreign national can travel to the U.S. to serve as an executive or manager for the purpose of directing the new business.
Both you and the company you work for will have to perform certain actions in order for you to set up new offices for your business in the U.S. First, you must see if you qualify for this kind of visa.
To receive an L-1 transfer visa, you must:
- Have worked for a qualifying organization abroad for at least one continuous year within three years immediately preceding your journey to the United States
- Enter the United States with the express purpose of serving in an executive or managerial capacity for the same qualified employer
In order to qualify for the L-1 visa, you must establish that you have executive or managerial powers. The USCIS generally considers employees “executive” if you make decisions that affect the company without answering to a higher authority. You may be considered a “manager” if you supervise other employees under a department, subdivision, or other component of the organization, or if you manage an essential function of the business without direct supervision.
If you qualify to travel to the United States to establish a new office, your employer must:
- Prove that the company has secured sufficient premises for the new office space
- Prove that you have worked as an executive or manager for at least one continuous year before applying for the visa
- Demonstrate that the new U.S. office will support an executive or managerial position within one year of the visa’s date of approval
- File a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and pay the associated fee on your behalf