Green Card L1


L-1 Visa Requirements

Before applying, one must understand all L-1 visa requirements:

  1.  The petitioning company may be a corporation, charity (or other non-profit organization), or a religious organization. Other types of qualifying entities may also be permitted.
  2. The petitioning employer (in the US) must have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company. Types of qualifying relationships include: parent company, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate.
  3. The employer must be doing business as an employer in the US and in at least one foreign country. This means they are actively and continually delivering goods or services, simply having an office does not qualify.
  4. The employee must have completed a minimum of one year’s continuous employment for the company outside of the US within the three years immediately prior to the application. Any time spent working in the United States will not count towards the twelve months.
  5. The employee must intend to leave the United States at the end of the visa term.

L-1 Visa Case Processing Times

The L1 Visa processing time varies depending on the USCIS service center and the country from where the applicant applies. Right now California service center has wait time of two months. Generally, for applicants filing blanket petitions under form I-129 have an estimated time 4-6 months.

Typically, the average processing time for the I-129 petition is around six months. Consulate processing varies based on the home country but can be expected to take up to six months or longer. 

Processing Fees

What are the processing fees? Typically, the L-1 has two processing fees. The first processing fee is for fraud prevention which is payable by the employer for $500. What is fraud prevention? Fraud prevention is where a worker already holds a valid L-1 visa, but is planning on changing employers. The only exception to this fee is if the employee is filing to change status on their blanket petition. For example, L-1A to L-1B or L-1B to L-1A.

The second processing fee is for filing the form I-129 petition for non-immigrant worker. This processing is incurred by the employer and typically cost $460. Both of these fees should be paid at the same time a petition is filed, along with all the supported documents your attorney requires. 

Strategy Notes

The size of the company with regard to number of employees and revenues are considered. To establish an executive role, a company must have three tiers of employees, managers may need two or three tiers of employment.

Business plans with projections are important evidence and must comply with the case of Matter of Ho elements (reference).

Executives who are sole owners of companies can still meet the requirements but must establish employee status.

Making an L-1 Visa Application

Unless the petitioning company is already established and well-known, it may be necessary to provide extensive documentation to prove that the requirements are being met.

For the L-1-A visa, you may need to provide evidence that the employee occupies an executive or managerial role.

For the L-1-B visa, you may need to provide evidence to prove the employee’s level of skill, knowledge, or experience. This should be “specialized knowledge,” which means that their knowledge is not commonplace either within the industry or within the organization. The knowledge may relate to a wide range of topics including technology, services, or company processes.