L1 Frequently Asked Questions

INITIAL CONSIDERATIONS

1.    What is an L-1 visa?
2.    What is an L-1A?
3.    What is an L-1B?
4.    What are the minimum eligibility requirements for L-1 classification?
5.    What is a “blanket L-1 petition”?
6.    Why should I consider seeking an L-1?
7.    Is a job offer required for an L-1 petition?
8.    In an L-1 petition, who is the petitioner, who is the beneficiary, and how many parties are involved?
9.    Do I need to live in the U.S. to petition for an L-1?
10.  What is the maximum period of stay under an L-1 visa?
11.  What are the differences between L-1 and EB-1C?
12.  Can I change from an L-1B to an L-1A?
13.  Can I petition for EB-1C immigrant status directly without the beneficiary first being an L-1A?
14.  What are the immigration options for me as an L-1A status holder?
15.  What are the immigration options for me as an L-1B status holder?

ELIGIBILITY REVIEW STANDARDS

16.  What is a “qualifying petitioner”?
17.  What does it mean to be “doing business”?
18.  What is a “qualifying relationship”?
19.  What is a parent?
20.  What is a subsidiary?
21.  What is an affiliate?
22.  What is a branch?
23.  Do new offices qualify as petitioners and fall under a qualifying relationship?
24.  Do constituents of internationally recognized accounting firms and consulting services fall under a qualifying relationship?
25.  Do equity joint ventures fall under a qualifying relationship?
26.  Do products of mergers, spin-offs, and acquisitions fall under a qualifying relationship?
27.  Do contractual, licensing, and franchising agreements fall under a qualifying relationship?
28.  Who qualifies for classification as an intracompany transferee (i.e., employee-beneficiary)?
29.  What is “executive and managerial capacity”?
30.  What is “specialized knowledge capacity”?
31.  What are the minimum eligibility requirements for a blanket L-1 petition?
32.  Is there a minimum salary requirement for the intracompany transferee to qualify?
33.  Is there a minimum education requirement for the intracompany transferee to qualify?
34.  Can a U.S. company petition for multiple L-1 transferees based on bona fide business needs?
35.  Does the qualifying company relationship have to continuously exist for the L-1 beneficiary to maintain his valid L-1 status?
36.  How many employees must the U.S. company have to secure an L-1 extension approval?
37.  How many employees must the U.S. company have to secure an EB-1C immigration petition approval?
38.  Is there any revenue or net profit requirement for an L-1 extension?
39.  Is there any revenue or net profit requirement for filing an EB-1C immigration petition?

EVIDENCE AND SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION

40.  How do I show that the petitioner is a “qualifying petitioner” in a “qualifying relationship”?
41.  How do I show that the petitioner has be “doing business”?
42.  How do I show that the U.S. employer qualifies as a new office?
43.  How do I show that the intracompany transferee is an employee with executive or managerial capacity?
44.  How do I show that the intracompany transferee is an employee with specialized knowledge capacity?
45.  How do I show that the petitioner is eligible for a “blanket L-1 petition”?
46.  How do I show that the intracompany transferee is eligible for L-1 status through a “blanket L-1 petition”?

PETITION PROCEDURE

47.  What forms do I need to file to petition for an L-1?
48.  What forms do I need to file to petition for an L-1 based on a previously-approved blanket L-1 petition?
49.  Should I go through a consular post or seek a change of status?
50.  Should my dependents go through a consular post or seek a change of status?
51.  Once my petition packet is complete, where do I submit the packet?
52.  Can I file my L-1 petition online? If so, what is the procedure?
53.  Will I get any confirmation of receipt from the USCIS?
54.  How long does the USCIS take to process an L-1 petition?
55.  Are Premium Processing Services available for an L-1 petition?
56.  May I submit an application or petition for another immigrant classification at the same time that I submit my petition for an L-1?
57.  Is there any annual quota restriction for L-1?

PETITION RESULTS

58.  What types of actions may the USCIS issue after initial review?
59.  What is a Notice of Approval?
60.  What is a Request for Evidence (RFE)?
61.  What is a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID)?
62.  What is a Notice of Denial?
63.  What may I do to respond to a Notice of Denial?
64.  How long will my L-1 approval be valid if I am outside of the U.S.?
65.  May I change employers while my L-1 petition is pending or after my L-1 is approved?
66.  May I change employment to work for another qualifying U.S. organization of the same foreign company?
67.  How soon can I file EB1C I-140 after my L-1 is approved?

WHAT VISATOPIA CAN DO FOR YOUR CASE

68.  Do I need an attorney?
69.  If I retain Visatopia, what services can I expect?
70.  If I retain Visatopia, when will my L-1 be filed?
71.  If I retain Visatopia, will my L-1 be approved?
72.  If I retain Visatopia, who will by my attorney?
73.  If I retain Visatopia, do I need to meet with my attorney?
74.  What are Visatopia’s fees?

INITIAL CONSIDERATIONS

1.    What is an L-1 visa?

An L-1 visa allows classification of a foreign qualified employee of a company to enter the U.S. as a temporary nonimmigrant to work for the foreign company’s U.S. parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary, or to establish a new U.S. office.

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2.    What is an L-1A?

L-1A visas are granted to qualifying intracompany transferees in executive or managerial capacities.

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3.    What is an L-1B?

L-1B visas are granted to qualifying intracompany transferees in specialized knowledge capacities. L-1B visas are granted initially for 3 years.

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4.    What are the minimum eligibility requirements for L-1 classification?

For a petitioner to qualify for L-1 classification of an intracompany transferee, the petitioner must demonstrate satisfaction of four requirements under INA 101 (a)(15)(L).

First, there must be a qualifying relationship between the U.S. business entity and the foreign operation that employs the beneficiary abroad.

Second, while the beneficiary is in the U.S. as an intracompany transferee, the petitioner must continue to do business in the U.S. and in at least one other country, either directly or through a parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate.

Third, the beneficiary must have been employed abroad in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity by the foreign operation for at least one continuous year in the last three years.

Finally, the beneficiary’s prospective employment in the U.S. must also be in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity, but the capacity of U.S. employment need not be identical to that of foreign employment.

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5.    What is a “blanket L-1 petition”?

Large international organizations that frequently petition for L-1 visas may file a “blanket L-1 petition,” which allows employers to transfer eligible employees to the U.S. without filing an individual L-1 petition much more quickly and on shorter notice.

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6.    Why should I consider seeking an L-1?

Classification under L-1 is a very attractive option for those who have a “dual intent.” Beneficiaries of some other nonimmigrant visas risk jeopardizing their status or visa petitions at U.S. consular offices abroad for permanent residence because they have an intent to immigrate to the U.S. or they do not have a residence abroad to which they intend to return. Under L-1 status, the beneficiary may petition for permanent residence without such risk.

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7.    Is a job offer required for an L-1 petition?

Yes. The beneficiary must have a job offer from an employer sponsor for an intracompany transfer in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity.

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8.    In an L-1 petition, who is the petitioner, who is the beneficiary, and how many parties are involved?

The beneficiary is the employee who is transferred to the U.S. for such purposes under an L-1 visa classification and is referred to as an intracompany transferee. The company that seeks L-1 classification of the beneficiary is the petitioner for L-1 purposes.

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9.   Do I need to live in the U.S. to petition for an L-1?

No. If the beneficiary is already in the U.S. under another valid status, the petitioner should indicate that it is seeking a change of status on the Form I-129 petition. Such changes of status are not valid if changing from a visa waiver or C, D, K-1, K-2, S, TWOV, WT, or WB status. If the beneficiary is not already in the U.S. under another valid status or is not eligible to change status, the beneficiary must obtain his or her visa through consular processing upon approval of Form I-129.

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10.  What is the maximum period of stay under an L-1 visa?

L-1A visas are granted initially for 3 years for existing companies and 1 year for U.S. offices. L-1A visas may be extended in two-year increments for a maximum total stay of 7 years.

L-1B visas may be extended for 2 years for a maximum total stay of 5 years.

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11.  What are the differences between L-1 and EB-1C?

Those who are in the U.S. under L-1A status often find themselves later petitioning for EB-1C classification. EB-1C refers to classification under the first preference category of employment-based immigration as a multinational manager or executive. Classification under EB-1C is an attractive option because there is currently no visa backlog for this category and priority dates are current. This means more immediate consideration and processing of the petition. And unlike L-1A petitions for temporary work visas, EB-1C I-140 petitions for immigration.

The main differences between EB-1Cs and L-1As are that EB-1C petitions are for immigration and permanent status, not for temporary status; EB-1C petitions are not available for those with specialized knowledge capacity; the one-year employment requirement in the past three years need not be continuous for EB-1C petitions; foreign branch offices are not qualifying petitioners for EB-1C petitions; and a new office is not eligible as a qualifying petitioning organization for EB-1C petitions. In addition, to be eligible for an EB-1C petition, the petitioning U.S. company must have been continuously doing business for more than one year and should demonstrate a decent volume of business and number of employees.

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12.  Can I change from an L-1B to an L-1A?

The petitioner can change a beneficiary’s status from L-1B to L-1A by filling Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) after the beneficiary has been promoted to an executive or manager position for a period of at least 6 months.

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13.  Can I petition for EB-1C immigrant status directly without the beneficiary first being an L-1A?

Yes. The employer sponsor may petition on behalf of the beneficiary for EB-1C immigrant status without the beneficiary first being an L-1A.

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14.  What are the immigration options for me as an L-1A status holder?

An L-1A status holder would typically fare best to apply for EB-1C status if he or she is seeking permanent resident status. The requirements between L-1A and EB-1C status are very similar, but the petitioner should take note of the slightly different requirements to ensure the EB-1C petition is approved.

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15. What are the immigration options for me as an L-1B status holder?

An L-1B status holder would typically fare best to work towards an executive or managerial position, change his or her status to L-1A status, and then seek EB-1C status if he or she is seeking permanent resident status. The requirements between L-1B and L-1A status are quite different, so the petitioner should provide sufficient documentation of the beneficiary’s qualifying capacity to ensure the L-1A petition is approved.

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ELIGIBILITY REVIEW STANDARDS

16. What is a “qualifying petitioner”?

The petitioner must be a qualifying organization that is seeking to temporarily transfer a foreign employee at one of its foreign operations to the U.S. The petitioner may be the U.S. employer or the foreign employer.

A qualifying organization is defined as a U.S. or foreign entity that (1) falls within exactly one of the definitions of a parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch; and (2) is or will be doing business as an employer in the U.S. and at least one other country directly or through a parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch while the transferee is in the U.S. In other words, the petitioner must currently or prospectively be actively engaged in providing goods and/or services in both the U.S. and abroad with employees in both countries, and this engagement must be direct or through a parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay.

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17.  What does it mean to be “doing business”?

“Doing business” is defined as regular, systematic, and continuous providing of goods or services. “Doing business” does not include mere presence of an agent or office in the U.S. and abroad. The entity must conduct regular systematic business, such as manufacturing, sales, and the providing of goods and services.

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18.  What is a “qualifying relationship”?

Whether a qualifying relationship between business entities exists is generally based on showing the existence of two aspects: ownership and control. Ownership is the legal right of possession with full power and authority to control. Control is the right and authority to direct the management and operations of the business entity. A business entity for L-1 purposes is defined as a parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch.

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19.  What is a parent?

A parent is defined as a firm, corporation, or other legal entity that has subsidiaries.

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20.  What is a subsidiary?

A subsidiary is defined as a firm, corporation, or other legal entity of which a parent directly or indirectly owns at least 50% and controls. Alternatively, the parent can directly or indirectly own 50% of a 50-50 joint venture and have equal control and veto power over the entity. Finally, the parent can directly or indirectly own less than 50% of the entity if the parent controls the entity in fact.

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21.  What is an affiliate?

An affiliate is defined as one of two subsidiaries, both of which are owned and controlled by the same parent or individual. An affiliate can also be one of two legal entities, both of which are owned and controlled by the same group of individuals, if each individual owns and controls about the same percentage of each entity.

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22.  What is a branch?

A branch is defined as an operating division or office of the same company that is located and housed in a different location.

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23.  Do new offices qualify as petitioners and fall under a qualifying relationship?

Business may be prospective for start-up operations and new offices, and the U.S. employer’s viability can be shown through evidence of an existing parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary operating in another country. New offices are defined as organizations that have been doing business in the U.S. through a parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary for less than 1 year and have one year to reach the “doing business” standard.

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24.  Do constituents of internationally recognized accounting firms and consulting services fall under a qualifying relationship?

Foreign accounting firms and management consulting services that provide their services under an internationally recognized name and are under an agreement with a worldwide coordinating organization that is owned and controlled by member accounting firms are also considered affiliates of the U.S. organization of the same internationally recognized name.

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25.  Do equity joint ventures fall under a qualifying relationship?

Equity joint ventures are created under corporate law when two or more companies contribute capital to a venture. A qualifying L-1 relationship can exist between a contributing company and the resulting venture if the contributing company owns at least 50% of the venture and exercises control over the venture.

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26.  Do products of mergers, spin-offs, and acquisitions fall under a qualifying relationship?

Mergers, spin-offs, acquisitions, or other forms of corporate reorganization between qualifying entities should demonstrate that the entities will continue to have a qualifying company relationship after the reorganization.

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27.  Do contractual, licensing, and franchising agreements fall under a qualifying relationship?

Contractual, licensing, and franchising agreements are not qualifying relationships for L-1 purposes. Other non-qualifying relationships include charter membership arrangements and less-than-50% equity joint ventures. Non-equity joint ventures also do not qualify for L-1 status, as they are contractual arrangements where one or more contributing companies provide noncapital resources.

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28.  Who qualifies for classification as an intracompany transferee (i.e., employee-beneficiary)?

The beneficiary must have been employed abroad by the foreign operation in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity for at least one continuous year in the last three years. Authorized periods of stay in the U.S. for the foreign employer do not interrupt continuous employment, but such time does not count towards the qualifying year.

Employment by the U.S. employer need not be on a full-time basis, but a significant portion of the beneficiary’s employment must involve executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge activities. Activities such as attending meetings and conferences and training are insufficient to establish employment.

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29.  What is “executive and managerial capacity”?

“Executive capacity” is defined as a position within an entity in which the employee primarily (1) directs the management of the entity or a major component of the entity; (2) sets the goals and policies of the entity or its major components; (3) has wide discretion in decision-making; and (4) receives supervision or direction only from higher-level executive employees, the board of directors, or shareholders.

“Managerial capacity” is defined as a position within an entity in which the employee primarily (1) manages the entity, a department, or function of the entity; (2) supervises and controls the work of other supervisory, professional, or managerial employees, or manages an essential function within the entity or a department; (3) has the authority to hire and fire, or recommend those actions, or has a senior-level position in the entity’s organizational structure; and (4) exercises discretion over day-to-day operations in the normal course of business.

Taken together, an employee with executive or managerial capacity should have requisite authority and should have a majority of his or her duties relate to management of operations or policies. An executive or manager plans, organizes, directs, and controls major functions in the company and works through other employees to realize the company’s goals. An executive or manager may manage or direct an operation within a company, but the operation must not be directly performed by the executive or manager.

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30.  What is “specialized knowledge capacity”?

“Specialized knowledge capacity” is defined as a position within an entity in which the employee has a special knowledge of the entity’s product and its application in international markets, or has an advanced level of knowledge of processes and procedures within the entity.

The specialized knowledge that the beneficiary possesses should be of some level of complexity and different from what can generally be found in the particular industry. The knowledge does not have to be exclusive or unique, but should be knowledge that would be difficult to convey to another person without significant economic inconvenience to the foreign or U.S. company. Specialized knowledge of a company’s goods or services must be uncommon and particular. Specialized knowledge of a company’s processes and procedures must be advanced and does not need to be narrowly held in the company.

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31.  What are the minimum eligibility requirements for a blanket L-1 petition?

Blanket L-1 petitions allow a petitioner to seek continuing approval of itself, its parent, and its branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates as qualifying organizations to facilitate classification of any number of employed aliens under L-1 status. This option is restricted to relatively large international employers engaged in commercial trade or services, and is attractive for such companies that expect to frequently transfer eligible employees to the U.S. Once a blanket L-1 petition is approved, employees may transfer eligible employees much more quickly and on shorter notice without filing an individual L-1 petition.

A beneficiary who has been employed for one year in the last three years by a qualifying organization under this program as a manager, executive, or one with specialized knowledge is eligible to transfer to the U.S. to a qualifying organization covered in the blanket program as a manager, executive, or one with specialized knowledge.

Employees having specialized knowledge must also be professionals to qualify under the blanket petitioning process. A professional includes but is not limited to architects, engineers, lawyers, physicians, surgeons, and teachers in elementary/secondary schools, colleges, academies, or seminaries.

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32.  Is there a minimum salary requirement for the intracompany transferee to qualify?

No. There is so specific minimum salary requirement for the intracompany transferee to qualify. However, a salary that implies or suggests a position with executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity may be helpful, though not necessary.

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33.  Is there a minimum education requirement for the intracompany transferee to qualify?

No. There is so specific minimum education requirement for the intracompany transferee to qualify. However, a minimum education requirement that the beneficiary exceeds for a position with executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity may be helpful, though not necessary.

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34.  Can a U.S. company petition for multiple L-1 transferees based on bona fide business need?

Yes. A U.S. company may petition for multiple L-1 transferees, but each transferee must be petitioned for with a separate Form I-129.

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35.  Does the qualifying company relationship have to continuously exist for the L-1 beneficiary to maintain his valid L-1 status?

Yes. The qualifying company relationship must continuously exist for the L-1 status to remain valid. If the relationship changes or employment changes, the petitioner must file for an amendment, if applicable, or a new L-1 petition.

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36.  How many employees must the U.S. company have to secure an L-1 extension approval?

There is no specific requirement for the number of employees that the U.S. company must have, but there should be enough employees to demonstrate that the U.S. company has become or is still actively doing business and to show that the intracompany transferees proposed duties rise to an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity.

Note that there are specific employee number requirements for blanket L-1 petitions.

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37.  How many employees must the U.S. company have to secure an EB-1C immigration petition approval?

A qualifying U.S. company may not be a new office and must have been doing business for an EB-1C petition. Although there is no specific requirement for a minimum number of employees, the company should have enough employees to conduct regular systematic business and the providing of goods and services.

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38.  Is there any revenue or net profit requirement for an L-1 extension?

No. There is no specific revenue or net profit requirement for an L-1 extension, but a revenue or net profit can be helpful in demonstrating that the U.S. company has become or is still actively doing business.

Note that there are specific revenue requirements for blanket L-1 petitions.

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39.  Is there any revenue or net profit requirement for filing an EB-1C immigration petition?

No. There is no specific revenue or net profit requirement for filing an EB-1C immigration petition, but a revenue or net profit can be helpful in demonstrating that the U.S. company is still actively doing business.

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EVIDENCE AND SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION

40.  How do I show that the petitioner is a “qualifying petitioner” in a “qualifying relationship”?

Most generally, the petitioner should include incorporation documents (articles of incorporation, partnership agreements, etc.), corporate bylaws, board meeting minutes, and shareholder meeting minutes. The petitioner should also include a statement of ownership and control of each qualifying organization by the company’s president, corporate attorney, corporate secretary, or other authorized official.

Documentation of ownership should clarify the total number of shares issued, the number of shares issued to each shareholder, percentage ownership, and any changes in corporate control. Such documents may include a corporate stock certificate ledger, stock certificate registry, and stock certificates.

Documentation of control should including anything related to the voting of shares, the distribution of profit, and the management and direction of the petitioning company. Other factors affecting actual control and acquisition of actual ownership interest, such as capital investment, wire transfers, and stock purchase agreements, should be provided as well.

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41.  How do I show that the petitioner has be “doing business”?

Documentation of qualifying entities doing business should include corporate tax returns (IRS Form 1120), audited financial statements, and annual reports including a list of the company’s parent, affiliates, subsidiaries, or branches.

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42.  How do I show that the U.S. employer qualifies as a new office?

New offices should submit a statement of ownership and control of each qualifying organization by an authorized official, proof of ownership and control, proof of financial viability, evidence of capitalization of the company, evidence of financial resources committed by foreign company, evidence of sufficient physical premises for the new office, articles of incorporation, bylaws, board meeting minutes, corporate bank statements, profit and loss statements, tax returns, and accounting statements or reports.

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43.  How do I show that the intracompany transferee is an employee with executive or managerial capacity, or with specialized knowledge capacity?

Evidence must establish that the beneficiary will render services and will be employed by the U.S. entity. Evidence of salary, compensation, or remuneration is irrelevant to this determination. Documentation of such evidence may take the form of wage and earning statements or a letter signed by an authorized official of the U.S. company with detailed descriptions of beneficiary’s prior year of employment abroad and the intended employment in the U.S. In addition to demonstrating that the beneficiary will be employed in a managerial or executive capacity, this letter should include dates of employment, job titles, specific job duties, number and types of employees supervised, qualifications for the job, level of authority, salary, and dates of time spent in the U.S. during the qualifying period.

Small business owners and practitioners should be particularly wary of characterizing their capacity within the company. Without more, merely owning and acting as the primary professional in a company, and hiring support staff, such as a receptionist, bookkeeper, and assistant, is insufficient because his or her primary duties are to practice his or her profession, not manage or direct operations and policies.

Beneficiaries opening a new office in the U.S. may seek classification as an executive or manager if shown that the company will be expected to support an executive or managerial position within the year required to reach the “doing business” standard. Evidence should include the amount invested in the new office, intended organizational and personnel structure, description of goods and services, proof of physical premises, and viability of the foreign operation. The beneficiary should be expected to be more actively involved in operations during the initial phases of the new office and must have the authority and plans to hire personnel and to have broad decision-making ability regarding management, policies, and goals of the new office.

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44.  How do I show that the intracompany transferee is an employee with specialized knowledge capacity?

Evidence must establish that the beneficiary will render services and will be employed by the U.S. entity. Evidence of salary, compensation, or remuneration is irrelevant to this determination. Documentation of such evidence may take the form of wage and earning statements or a letter signed by an authorized official of the U.S. company with detailed descriptions of beneficiary’s prior year of employment abroad and the intended employment in the U.S. In addition to demonstrating that the beneficiary will be employed in a specialized knowledge capacity, this letter should include dates of employment, job titles, specific job duties, qualifications for the job, salary, and dates of time spent in the U.S. during the qualifying period.

Evidence should establish that the beneficiary’s specialized knowledge is not generally known by similar practitioners in the relevant industry and is distinguished by unusual qualifications and experience. Evidence supporting advanced knowledge should describe the knowledge and set the knowledge apart from others who only have basic knowledge.

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45.  How do I show that the petitioner is eligible for a “blanket L-1 petition”?

Evidence demonstrating the petitioner’s eligibility is similar to a non-blanket L-1 petition. Evidence should include the petitioner’s latest annual report, SEC filings, other documentation listing the company’s parent and subsidiaries, as well as a statement describing ownership and control of the organizations included in blanket petition signed by an authorized official.

The statement should aim to prove that all organizations listed are in commercial trade or services; there is an office in the U.S. that has been doing business for a year or longer; the petitioner has three or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates; and either (1) the petitioner has transferred 10 L-1 managers, executives, or specialized knowledge professionals to the U.S. in the last 12 months, as shown through Form I-797, (2) its U.S. subsidiaries and affiliates have a combined annual sales of at least $25 million, as shown by petitioner’s statement or annual report; or (3) has a U.S. workforce of at least 1,000 employees, as shown by petitioner’s statement or annual report.

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46.  How do I show that the intracompany transferee is eligible for L-1 status through a “blanket L-1 petition”?

Evidence of an individual’s eligibility should include a letter from the employer abroad confirming dates of employment, job duties, qualifications, and salary for at least the previous year. For those claiming employment in a specialized knowledge capacity, evidence should include records of educational training, degrees, and other evidence to show specialized knowledge.

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PETITION PROCEDURE

47.  What forms do I need to file to petition for an L-1?

In addition to the evidence and supporting documentation, the petitioner must fill out Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) and the L Classification Supplement to Form I-129.

If the beneficiary is already in the U.S. under another valid status, the petitioner should indicate that it is seeking a change of status on the Form I-129 petition. Such changes of status are not valid if changing from a visa waiver or C, D, K-1, K-2, S, TWOV, WT, or WB status. If the beneficiary is not already in the U.S. under another valid status or is not eligible to change status, the beneficiary must obtain his or her visa through consular processing upon approval of Form I-129.

If the petitioner is represented by an attorney, you must also fill out Form G-28 (Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative).

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48.  What forms do I need to file to petition for an L-1 based on a previously-approved blanket L-1 petition?

If the beneficiary is being petitioned for under a previously-approved blanket L-1 petition, the beneficiary may need to submit originals and copies of Form I-129S (Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition) and copies of Form I-797 Notice of Action indicating that the blanket L-1 petition was approved.

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49.  Should I go through a consular post or seek a change of status?

A change of status is preferable if the beneficiary is already in the U.S. under another status and wants to avoid leaving the U.S. to obtain L-1 status through a U.S. consulate in another country. However, the beneficiary should avoid changing from a status that was based on a completely different reason for issuance, especially where the original status was issued for pleasure or tourism (e.g., B-2 visas). Changes from such statuses could be considered fraudulent by the USCIS. Moreover, change of status is not permitted if changing from a visa waiver or C, D, K-1, K-2, S, TWOV, WT, or WB status. Beneficiaries with such status must go through consular processing.

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50.  Should my dependents go through a consular post or seek a change of status?

Dependents of an L-1 beneficiary who are already in the U.S. under another valid status should submit Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status) to obtain status as an L-1 dependent (i.e., L-2 status). Otherwise, dependents must obtain their L-2 visas through consular processing upon approval of Form I-129.

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51.  Once my petition packet is complete, where do I submit the packet?

The petitioner must submit the petition packet along with its filling fee to either the California Service Center or the Vermont Service Center based on the where the beneficiary will be employed.

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52.  Can I file my L-1 petition online? If so, what is the procedure?

No. There is currently no option to file Form I-129 online.

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53.  Will I get any confirmation of receipt from the USCIS?

Yes. You will get a Notice of Receipt usually within 1 to 2 weeks after submission.

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54.  How long does the USCIS take to process an L-1 petition?

Generally it takes the USCIS 2 to 4 months to process an L-1 petition, but this varies greatly depending on the case, the USCIS Service Center, and the Immigration Officer processing the case.

If under Premium Processing Services, however, the USCIS will process the petition within the guaranteed 15 calendar days.

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55.  Are Premium Processing Services available for an L-1 petition?

L-1 petitions are eligible for Premium Processing Services, which provides guaranteed processing of the petition 15 calendar days from the day the request is correctly received. If the USCIS requests additional evidence or a response to a notice, the response will also be processed within 15 calendar days from the day the response is correctly received. To apply for Premium Processing Services, the petitioner must submit Form I-907 (Request for Premium Processing Service) to the correct service center. Form I-907 may be filed concurrently with the Form I-129 petition.

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56.  May I submit an application or petition for another immigrant classification at the same time that I submit my petition for an L-1?

Yes. The beneficiary may petition for permanent residence without a risk of jeopardizing their status or other visa petitions at U.S. consular offices abroad for permanent residence because L-1 classification allows beneficiaries to have a “dual intent” to immigrate to the U.S. You must file a separate petition and its applicable forms, along with corresponding supportive documentation and filing fees.

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57.  Is there any annual quota restriction for L-1?

No. There is no annual quota restriction for L-1s.

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PETITION RESULTS

58.  What types of actions may the USCIS issue after initial review?

The USCIS may issue one of four possible actions after initial review: (1) Notice of Approval, (2) Request for Evidence, (3) Notice of Intent to Deny, or (4) Notice of Denial.

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59.  What is a Notice of Approval?

A Notice of Approval indicates that the USCIS has reviewed and approved the petition.

At this point, the beneficiary may apply for his or her visa through consular processing overseas or through a change of status.

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60.  What is a Request for Evidence (RFE)?

A Request for Evidence indicates that the reviewing USCIS Immigration Officer is requesting additional evidence to address and support specific parts of the petition.

You may have up to 84 days after the date of the decision to respond. If you do not respond within the prescribed period, your petition may be denied. Once the USCIS receives your response to an RFE, further action will generally occur within 60 days, but may take longer. You should ask for an update if none is provided by the USCIS within 60 days.

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61.  What is a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID)?

A Notice of Intent to Deny indicates that the reviewing USCIS Immigration Officer is giving notice that he or she will deny the case unless you provide certain extra documentation.

You may have up to 84 days after the date of the decision to respond. If you do not respond within the prescribed period, your petition may be denied. Once the USCIS receives your response to an NOID, further action will generally occur within 60 days, but may take longer. You should ask for an update if none is provided by the USCIS within 60 days.

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62.  What is a Notice of Denial?

A Notice of Denial indicates that the USCIS has reviewed and denied your petition.

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63.  What may I do to respond to a Notice of Denial?

You have 30 days after the date of the decision to file one of three responses if you so choose: (1) appeal, (2) motion to reconsider, or (3) motion to reopen.

An appeal is appropriate if you believe the USCIS’ denial was incorrect or wrong. A motion to reconsider is appropriate if you want another Immigration Officer to review the case. A motion to reopen is appropriate if you have evidence that was absent in the original application or response to an RFE that existed at the time of original filing.

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64.  How long will my L-1 approval be valid if I am outside of the U.S.?

Theoretically speaking, your L-1 petition approval can be valid for unlimited duration, but its validity will likely depend on the proposed term of employment.  In practice, the sooner you initiate the consular process once your visa priority date is current, however, the better.  After the National Visa Center send you the processing fee bill payment notice, you have to respond it in one year.  Otherwise, your request for consular processing of immigrant visa will be regarded as abandonment.

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65.  May I change employers while my L-1 petition is pending or after my L-1 is approved?

No. The new employer must file another L-1 petition on your behalf, even if your original L-1 with your original employer is approved.

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66.  May I change employment to work for another qualifying U.S. organization of the same foreign company?

No. If you change employment to work for another qualifying U.S. organization, the other qualifying organization must file another L-1 petition on your behalf, even though the qualifying organization is of the same foreign company.

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67.  How soon can I file EB1C I-140 after my L-1 is approved?

EB-1C petitioners with L-1A status can often make particularly strong cases, but an L-1A petition is not a prerequisite for filing an EB-1C petition. Because an EB-1C is not dependent on a previously approved L-1A, a petitioner may file for an EB-1C at any time regardless of the time of an L-1A petition filing or approval.

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WHAT VISATOPIA CAN DO FOR YOUR CASE

68.  Do I need an attorney?

Needless to say, filing a petition for an L-1 can be daunting and confusing. Although there have been successful approvals of petitions by unrepresented individuals, Visatopia will ensure that your petition is filed efficiently and is at its strongest when it reaches the reviewing immigration officer’s hands.

Four features distinguish Visatopia from other firms:

  1. Our exceptional legal credentials, extensive knowledge, and breadth of experience enable us to outmatch our major competitors’ services;
  2. Our contingent flat fees, free initial consultation, and encouragement of open client comunication without ever getting charged are all ways in which we keep ourselves accountable to our clients and deliver the best possible results at lower costs;
  3. Our policies of promptness and diligence allow us to provide a personal, attentive, and strategized approach in our clients’ immigration matters; and,
  4. Our firm is by immigrants and for immigrants. We are committed to our clients’ successful immigration and, accordingly, provide all-encompassing services to our clients to ensure that we take care of our clients from start to completion.

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69.  If I retain Visatopia, what services can I expect?

For the L-1 process, you can expect at least the following services from Visatopia:

  • Advise whether an L-1 is appropriate for your matter;
  • Guide you in collecting and organizing the proper documentation and evidence to enhance your application;
  • Review, edit, and refine relevant documentation to best strengthen your application;
  • Draft a probative petition letter that cohesively presents the strength of your case along with its supporting evidence;
  • Provide frequent updates and communication;
  • Submit your complete application, after your review and approval, to the appropriate USCIS Service Center;
  • Track your case and update you on the processing status of your case;
  • Ensure that you respond to any additional requests for evidence or information related to your case;
  • Provide guidance on whether an appeal or motion is appropriate if your case is not approved; and,
  • Follow through with work related to appeals and motions if you choose to pursue those routes.

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70.  If I retain Visatopia, when will my L-1 be filed?

Visatopia strives to handle its clients’ immigration matters with the utmost integrity, care, and professionalism. We also have stringent policies of promptness and diligence, which allow us to provide a personal, attentive, and strategized approach in our clients’ immigration matters.

How quickly we file your case depends on the complexity of your case and how long it takes to obtain all supporting documentation. Once all supporting documentation has been collected, you can expect your petition to be fully prepared and filed in about 1 week.

71.  If I retain Visatopia, will my L-1 be approved?

Visatopia cannot guarantee that your petition will be approved, but our 95% approval rate illustrates our exceptional legal credentials, extensive knowledge, and breadth of experience at the firm.

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72.  If I retain Visatopia, who will by my attorney?

You will have one primary attorney personally handling your case. However, by retaining Visatopia, your matter will benefit from the knowledge, experience, and expertise of all of our high-caliber attorneys and clerks. All petitions are reviewed by a senior attorney before filing to ensure that your case meets Visatopia’s high standards of quality, accuracy, and persuasive strength.

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73.  If I retain Visatopia, do I need to meet with my attorney?

No. You may participate in your initial consultation and the entirety of your case via any form of communication, including e-mail, phone, video conferences, fax, and mail.

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74.  What are Visatopia’s fees?

We will provide a fee quote to you after evaluating your case and situation. We are committed to beating all major competitors’ rates while outmatching their services.

Visatopia’s attorneys’ fees can be paid in two installments: half upfront as an initial retainer fee, and the remaining half as a contingent fee that is due upon your case’s approval. Our contingent flat fee, as opposed to an hourly rate, is designed to keep us accountable to our clients and to deliver the best possible results. For some selected cases that pass our evaluation, we can even provide a “money back” guarantee if the case is not approved.

We never charge our clients for phone calls, e-mails, or meetings. We encourage frequent, open communication with our clients.

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Read more about L-1 status and Visatopia’s L-1 services:

Read about some of our successful L-1 cases: