L-1 for company transfers

The L-1 visa is available for a US company to transfer an employee from an office in another country to go and work in their office in the US. It can also be used for when companies are looking to open a US operation to move executives and managers over to.
There are two different L1 visa types:

L1-A

This is used when managers and/or executives are moving to a US office or going to the US to establish an office/premises there. This type of visa allows a stay in the US for a maximum of 7 years, although it would be initially for one year before extension requests are processed.

L1-B

This type of visa is for specialized employees who bring specialist skills or knowledge that is required in the US office of a company. The L1-B visa grants a maximum of 5 years in the US, although they will initially be allowed three years before any extensions are requested.
The process for obtaining a L1 visa is pretty much the same for each scenario. It is the etitioning employer that must submit the visa application.
The requirements for granting a L1 visa includes that the employee has worked for the company (outside of the US) for a minimum of a year within the last three years.
To start the process for obtaining a L-1 visa the employer must file a Form I-129 Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker, along with paying the fee. The company must have what is deemed to be a ‘qualifying relationship’ with a foreign company e.g. a parent company, or branch. They must also be doing regular business providing goods and/or services, as opposed to just having an office in another country.
The premises for opening a new office in the US must be secured and deemed to be sufficient for the running of the US operation. It is possible for companies to apply for a blanket petition for employees but there is strict eligibility criteria, such as having US subsidiaries with combined annual sales of at least $25m, or a U.S. workforce of over 1,000 staff.

Other Visas


E2 Visa (Investors and Employees)

The E2 visa is available for application from non-immigrants to enter the US when they are investing a substantial amount of money in a US business. Employees for the investment company may also be allowed to have an E2 visa to assist with the investment process e.g. advising on the investment.

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L-1 for company transfers

The L-1 visa is available for a US company to transfer an employee from an office in another country to go and work in their office in the US. It can also be used for when companies are looking to open a US operation to move executives and managers over to.

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H-2B for skilled and unskilled workers

Whilst the H-2A visa applies for temporary workers in the agricultural, the H-2B is for temporary workers that are not within the agriculture industry. These jobs are where employers have struggled to find US workers that are able to do the temporary work and must therefore employ foreign nationals to do the essential work. Only nationals of the countries that have been agreed by the DHS are eligible for a H-2B visa, see the full list of countries here.

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