L1 VISA - Intracompany Transfer
What is the purpose of the L-1 visa ?
The L1 visa allows an employee to enter the U.S. for the purpose of employment with a U.S. office related by ownership to the overseas office. The L-1 visa holder will be employed in an executive, managerial or specialized knowledge capacity in the U.S.
How does a company meet the requirements of the L visa?
In order to qualify for the L-1 visa, the foreign employer and the proposed U.S. employer must be related by ownership as parent, subsidiary or affiliate organizations.
What are the requirements for the L1 visa holder ?
The L-1 visa holder needs to have been employed by the foreign company for at least twelve consecutive months within the three years immediately preceding admission to the U.S. as a manager/ executive or specialized knowledge employee.
What is the duration of L status?
Individuals on an L-1A visa (managers or executives) can remain in the U.S. for a total of seven years on a full-time basis. The initial period of stay is three years, and renewals may be granted in two-year increments.
Individuals on an L-1B visa (specialized knowledge) can remain in the U.S. for a total of five years on a full-time basis. The initial period of stay is three years, with the possibility of a renewal for two years.
What is specialized knowledge?
Specialized knowledge means either special knowledge possessed by an employee of the company’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures.
What is the difference between managerial and executive capacity?
A manager is defined as someone who manages the organization or a department within the organization. A manager must be shown to supervise and control the work of other supervisory, professional or managerial employees or manage an essential function within the organization. The manager will have the authority to hire and fire employees or if the position does not require supervision of others, the person must function at a senior level. The manager will also need to exercise discretion over the day-to-day operations of the activity or function. An executive is a person in a position in the company who directs the management of the organization or a major component or function. The executive will be responsible for establishing the goals and policies of the organization. In so acting the executive will exercise wide latitude in discretionary decision-making; and receive only general direction or supervision from higher level executives, the board of directors or stockholders.
What are the benefits of an L1 Visa ?
There is no annual quota (limited number of visas) for the L1 visa unlike other visa categories. Expedited processing is available - The L1 visa petition can be submitted under premium processing, where with the payment of a $2500 filing fee the file will be adjudicated by USCIS within 15 calendar days. There is a logical transition to a Green Card - L-1A visa holders may qualify for a multinational manager green card because of a similarity of the legal requirements for each separate process.
Can my spouse work on an L2 visa ?
The spouse and unmarried minor children are entitled to an L-2 visa, subject to the same period of admission and limits as the L-1 visa holder. Recent guidance provides that the L-2 spouse may seek employment as being incident to status, and no longer needs to apply for an Employment Authorization Document. L-2 spouses and children may attend school on either a part-time or full-time basis.
The L-1 Blanket
What is an L-1 Blanket ?
The Blanket L program allows large multinational companies to receive special approval from the U.S. immigration authority (USCIS) to transfer their employees to the U.S. in a relatively easy and fast process. The L visa application for the employees and their dependents are adjudicated at the consular posts.
What are the requirements for a company to qualify for the L Blanket ?
Company eligibility for blanket L certification requires proof that:
1. The company is engaged in commercial trade or services;
The company has an office in the United States which has been doing business for one year or more;
The company has three or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates; and
2. The company and its branches, collectively, meet one of the following criteria:
Have obtained at least 10 L-1 approvals during the previous 12-month period; or
Have U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of at least $25 million; or
Have a U.S. work force of at least 1,000 employees.
How does a company qualify under the L Blanket program?
All of the qualifying companies are included in an application submitted to USCIS. It must be shown that each of these companies is related to the petitioning U.S. company by ownership, and that it is actively doing business. The petition will initially be approved for 3 years and may be extended indefinitely thereafter.
Which employees are eligible to apply for an L-1 visa through the Blanket L program?
The L Blanket employee must have been employed as a manager, executive or specialized knowledge professional during the qualifying period of employment, and will undertake a managerial, executive or specialized knowledge position in the U.S. With the Blanket L program, L‑1B applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent through a combination of education and work experience. The foreign office where the transferring employee worked must have been included in the Blanket L petition.
H-1B Visa - Specialty Occupation
What is an H1B visa ?
The H-1B visa permits a U.S. company to temporarily hire foreign workers in a “specialty occupation”.
What is a “specialty occupation” ?
A specialty occupation is an occupation which requires a higher level of education and training. It usually means that the job being offered must require at least a U.S. bachelor's degree or its equivalent and the job duties are sufficiently complex to require at least a bachelor's degree in a relevant field. Examples of specialty occupations include: architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, medicine, and education.
Can I apply for an H1B visa at any time?
No. The application process for H1B begins in March of every calendar year, for employment to begin Oct. 1 of that same year. There is an annual limit on how many petitions are approved each year. The limitation is known as the “H-1B cap”, and refers to the issuance of 65,000 visas annually.
What is the H1B registration process ?
In 2020 the immigration authorities implemented an electronic registration process for the H-1B cap. A company must first register electronically and pay the associated $10 registration fee. Under this process there is a selection of H-1B applicants. Only those who are selected are eligible to file H-1B petitions as of April 1st of the same year. The H1B visa is one of the most competitive visas to apply for, due to the huge demand from U.S. employers who need to hire professionals in H-1B status.
How long can I stay in the U.S. in H-1B status ?
A person may hold H1B status for a maximum of six years, and it may be issued in increments of up to three years by the immigration authorities. An employee may receive extensions of H1B status beyond six years in certain circumstances; if she/he is in the process of applying for employment-based permanent residence (commonly referred to as the “green card”).
What are the benefits of the H1B Visa ?
There is no requirement that the visa applicant have been employed previously by the petitioning company. H-1B status provides the visa holder the ability to "port" to a new H-1B employer as long as the offered position is similar to the initial job offered. H-1B status also allows part-time employment as well as employment by multiple employers simultaneously. Children under 21 and the spouses of an H-1B holder, may attend school while in the U.S. on a full or part-time basis. The H-1B is considered to be a “dual intent” visa. This means that you can pursue an application for permanent residency (green card) while you are in H1B status.
Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor
What is an E-1 visa ?
The E-1 Visa is based upon trade that exists between the U.S. and Israel, or any other country which has entered into the treaty with the U.S. For E-1 purposes trade is defined as the existing international exchange of goods or services for consideration between the United States and the treaty country. The trade must be “substantial” and “continuous”. Nationals of the treaty country can qualify for E-1 status if they have the requisite experience which qualifies them to assume an executive or supervisory position or perform services which are “essential to the efficient operation of the business”. Prior employment with the petitioning company is not required.
What are the basic requirements of the E-1 visa ?
The first requirement is that the majority (at least 50%) of ownership of the company which conducts the trade must be held by nationals of the treaty country. The second requirement is based on analysis of a 12 month period of the company’s trade. At least 50% of the company's international trade must be carried out between the treaty country and the U.S.. International trade is the total of all exports and imports, of products and/or services. The trade must be “substantial” which is determined by a combination of the volume of trade, the number of transactions, and the ongoing course of trade.
What is an E-2 visa ?
The E-2 Investor Visa allows an individual to enter and work in the United States based on an investment in a U.S. business. The majority (+50%) of the shares of the U.S. company must ultimately be held by nationals of the treaty country.
Who can apply for an E-2 visa ?
If the visa applicant is the investor, he/she must have relevant experience which qualifies him/her to develop and direct the business. Employees can qualify for E-2 status if they have the requisite experience which qualifies them to assume an executive or supervisory position or perform services which are “essential to the efficient operation of the business”.
What is the basic requirement for obtaining the E-2 visa ?
In order to qualify for the E-2 visa, a company, individual and/or the visa applicant must make a substantial investment into a new or existing U.S. company.
What is the required investment for the E-2 visa ?
There is no minimum or pre-determined amount that meets the requirement of a "substantial" investment. The amount invested should be sufficient for the company to begin to do business, or continue its operations. An E-2 investment can be made with cash, equipment, intellectual property and other assets.
When can I apply for the E-2 visa ?
When your business is operational - The business must be operational or on the verge of being ready to do business in order to apply for the visa. The E-2 visa is for a company which is able to show it has completed preparations for operation such as leasing office space, hiring employees, holding an active U.S. bank account, and making purchases on behalf of the U.S. entity.
Where do you apply for an E-2 visa ?
This is one of the advantages of the E-2 visa. The application is sent to the relevant consular post, which in Israel is the Tel-Aviv Embassy Branch Office. It is also possible to file with the USCIS if you are legally present in the U.S. at the time of filing. This is a strategic decision, because ultimately an application must be submitted to the relevant post in order to obtain the visa. The USCIS approval isn't valid once you leave the U.S. and has no effect on the application which will need to be filed at post.
What is the authorized period of stay on an E-2 visa?
For Israelis the E-2 visa is issued for 2 years however each time that you enter the U.S. you get an automatic extension of status for 2 years up until the date the visa expires.
Can my family apply for an E-2 visa ?
Your spouse and children under the age of 21 can also apply for the E-2 visa, and may attend school on either a part-time of full-time basis. Recent guidance provides that the E-2 spouse may seek employment as being incident to status and no longer needs to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
What are the benefits of the E-2 visa category ?
There is no requirement of having previously been employed by the company. An academic degree or its equivalent are not required. There is no annual quota for the visa (limited number of visas). The E-2 visas are issued by the U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv Branch in Israel; E-2 visa-processing time for employees once the company has been approved is significantly shorter. A spouse may work in the U.S.
U.S. immigration law provides a variety of ways to become lawful permanent residents (a green card holder) through employment in the U.S. which are known as employment-based (EB) “preference immigrant” categories .
EB-1(a) Extraordinary Ability
Who may apply for an EB-1 immigrant visa?
Employment-based first preference, or EB-1(a), is a green card category reserved for foreign workers with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics; outstanding professors and researchers; or certain multinational managers and executives.
EB-2 Employment-based, second preference
Who may apply for an EB-2 immigrant visa?
There are three areas where an individual may apply under the EB-2 category. The first is where the offered position requires an advanced degree, and the immigrant visa applicant holds an advanced degree or its equivalent in education and work experience. The second category is where it can be shown that the visa applicant possesses “exceptional ability” in the sciences, arts, or business. The third category is for those seeking a national interest waiver.
National Interest Waiver
What is an EB-2 national interest waiver?
If the EB-2 foreign worker's presence can be shown to hold benefits for the U.S. in the future, it may be possible to submit an application in this category without first getting a job offer or going through the labor certification (Perm) process, through what is called a national interest waiver (NIW).
What is required in order to qualify for an NIW?
The immigrant visa applicant must show: 1. The work to be undertaken in the offered position has “substantial merit” and “national importance”; 2. He/she is in a position to facilitate the work required; and 3. The U.S. will benefit by waiving the PERM requirements.
What exactly is PERM?
PERM is a recruitment process required by the Department of Labor (DOL) as a prerequisite to filing for an immigrant visa based on employment (EB2, EB3). The PERM process involves the testing of the U.S. labor market by actively recruiting for the position which is the subject of the immigrant visa application. The DOL is then ensured that the foreign worker is not taking the job of a similarly qualified U.S. worker. It is important to note that PERM is generally not available if the applicant is self-employed or has an ownership interest in the petitioning company’s business.
Which green card applications require a PERM application?
EB-2 and EB-3 employment-based green card categories require an approved PERM application, with some exceptions.
EB-3 Employment-based third preference category
Who may apply for an EB-3 immigrant visa?
There are three areas where an individual may apply under the EB-3 category. The first is where the offered position requires an immigrant visa applicant to be a "skilled worker". The second is for a "professional worker", and the last is for "unskilled workers".
How do you determine who is a “skilled worker” or “professional worker”?
“Skilled workers” are persons whose jobs require a minimum of 2 years training or experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature. The skilled worker must meet the educational, training, or experience requirements of the job opportunity. Relevant post-secondary education may be considered as training. “Professionals” are persons whose job requires at least a U.S. bachelor's degree or foreign equivalent and are a member of the professions.
Which workers are included in the “unskilled workers” subcategory?
The “unskilled workers” subcategory is for persons performing unskilled labor requiring less than 2 years training, education, or experience, which is not of a temporary or seasonal nature.
Green card processing for dependents Spouses and any children under 21 can apply as dependents in any of the above referenced green card categories. If the family members are in the U.S. in valid status