How to Apply for L1 Visa and EB1-C Outstanding Green Card
The L-1 visa is a cross-board company to send executives or professional and technical personnel from foreign companies to work in US companies. The purpose is to encourage foreign companies to do business or invest in the United States. There is no educational requirement for L-1 visa holders. It is an entry permit granted by the US Immigration Service to corporate executives or professional and technical personnel to work in the United States for a short period of time.
What is an L1 visa in the USA?
An L-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa for a foreign worker to enter the United States for the purpose of work in L-1 status. The visa allows such foreign workers to relocate to the corporation’s US office after having worked full-time abroad for the company for at least one continuous year within the previous three prior to admission in the US.
The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can apply for an L2 visa at the same time. The spouse of an L-1 visa holder can apply for a work permit and work legally without restriction from the work entity; a child can apply for public school and enjoy local tuition.
L-1A visa holders can apply for the I-140, the EB1-C immigration application for outstanding talent immigration, and the spouse and unmarried child under the age of 21 can apply for the green card along with it. When submitting I-485, you can apply for reentry permit I-131 and work card I-765. There are 40,000 EB1C places per year. If L1 visa holders apply for a green card, they need to wait visa number available.
Tips: If you are a new company, you need to have operated for more than 1 year before you can apply for an immigration I-140. If you are a company that has been in operation for more than 1 year, you can apply for an immigration I-140 immediately.
Who is eligible for an L1 visa?
To qualify for an L1 visa, the employee, which can include business owners, must have worked (full time) for a subsidiary, parent, affiliate, or branch office of the US company outside of the US for at least one consecutive year out of the last three years. The employee must work in the executive or management-level position (L-1A) or have specialized knowledge critical to the company(L-1B).
Requirements for L-1 visa personnel: L1 visa personnel must have worked full-time for at least one year in an overseas entity of a cross board company within three years before submitting an L1 visa application. The overseas entity of the cross board company and the entity in the United States can be a parent-subsidiary relationship, a sister company relationship, or a head office branch relationship. In the United States, it can only work for the U.S. company that submitted the application, and cannot work for other U.S. companies.
Is an L1 visa better than H1B?
One of the best advantages of L1 is that no quota. As such, the employer can submit an L1 application for the L1 candidate anytime as long as they meet the eligibility requirements. In contrast, H1B has a quota and thus in most cases, only those who have been selected in the H1B lottery can submit the H1B applications. The H1B lottery is conducted in March every year. Nevertheless, H1B employees can change employer easily through H1B transfer while it is almost impossible for an L1 employee to change employer. As a result, it is not uncommon for L1 employees to take part in the H1B lottery and change their status from L1 to H1B if they are selected in the H1B lottery.
The L-1 visa is divided into L-1A for senior management and L-1B for professional and technical personnel.
L-1A: Manager-level executives
The L-1A visa is for a cross-board company to send senior executives to work in a US company or to prepare for the establishment of a US branch. The first validity period of the L-1A visa is generally 3 years. When the 3 years are about to expire, you can apply for an extension. Each extension can be extended for a maximum of 3 years, and the maximum validity period is 7 years. If a new company in the United States applies for L-1A, the first validity period is 1 year. When 1 year is about to expire, you can apply for an extension of 2 years. When 2 years expire, you can apply for an extension of up to 3 years, for a total of 7 years.
L-1B: Professional and technical personnel
The L-1B visa is for a cross board company to send professional and technical personnel to work in a US company or to prepare for the establishment of a US company. Generally, the first validity period of the L-1B visa is 3 years. When the 3 years are about to expire, you can apply for an extension of up to 2 years, and the total maximum validity period is 5 years. If a new company in the United States applies for L-1B, the first validity period is 1 year. When 1 year is about to expire, you can apply for an extension of 2 years. When 2 years expire, you can apply for an extension of up to 2 years for a total of 5 years.
The application is divided into plans for L1 employees in the U.S. or outside the U.S.
If the employee is to be an L1 employee is in the United States:
- Form I-129 (application form for a non-immigrant work visa), and relevant supporting documents for L visa;
- A letter of support provided by a U.S. employer, to confirm that the foreign employee has the necessary abilities, and will work for the employer in the U.S.;
Depending on the type of company, the required information is different. Generally, the following information is required:
If the employer in the U.S.
If the Employer is a large company, it must provide:
A written statement of ownership and control signed by the company’s president, company lawyer, company secretary, or another responsible person, with relevant supporting documents, such as documents proving the company’s relationship, the company’s annual financial report, or the parent company and its subsidiaries Financial documents.
If the employer is a small business, it must provide:
A written statement of ownership and control signed by the person in charge of the company, accompanied by proof of ownership and control, such as equity records, accounting reports, tax returns, company registration documents, company articles of association, and board meeting minutes.
If the employer is a newly established company, it must provide:
Written certificates of ownership and control, and the company’s financial capabilities, including company capital certificates, financial capital certificates provided by overseas companies, company registration documents, company articles of association, board meeting minutes, company bank statements, or other accounting statements, and tax returns.
Generally, submit the following materials:
Information for companies outside the U.S.:
1. Articles of Association
2. Company business license
3. The company’s financial statements for the past three years (balance sheet and income statement)
4. The main business documents certifying that the company has been in business for more than one year, such as business contracts:
5. The company’s detailed organizational chart must show the company’s management status, such as department managers and above, including the names, positions, and responsibilities of L-1 applicants and all employees in their departments; The position, name, and a number of employees in the department.
6. Blank company stationery (display company name, address, phone number, and company logo)
7. Color photos of the office buildings of overseas companies, such as the appearance of the office, company signs, and color photos of the offices, employees, equipment, production lines, products, warehouses, etc. of various departments within the company
8. Product catalog and price list
9. Company website;
10. The company decides to establish a branch in the United States of the board of directors resolution or general manager office meeting minutes
11. Description of the appointment of the L-1 applicant in the U.S. company and its scope of responsibility
12. Business plan for the establishment of a company in the United States-
U.S. company information
1. A full set of documents for company incorporation, including the company’s equity description and equity certificates, must show the names of shareholders and their shareholding ratios, the company’s tax registration certificate (copy of the SS-4 form and the federal employer identification number FEIN), and the city where the company is Business License or Business Permit issued
2. US company office lease (show the name, address, and phone number of the landlord)
6. Phone bill
7. Utility bill
8. Company Insurance Policy
9. Proof of capital injection, such as payment record or copy of a check
10. Photos of American companies, such as company signs, offices, desks, employees, equipment, products, warehouses
11. Product catalog and price list
12. Bank statements of the company’s bank account in the last three months
13. Tax documents for American companies, employee W2
14. U.S. company business operation contracts and other documents
L-1 Applicant’s personal information
1. Resume (including degree, date of employment at the head office in China, and position)
2. Copy of degree certificate and graduation certificate
3. Passport copy: homepage, all visa pages, and entry and exit stamps of all countries in the world
4. Proof of employment: Proof of employment (including name, gender, position, responsibilities, and date of appointment) for more than one year as a department manager or department head or above in a Chinese company
TIP: I-129 applications for L-1 visas can apply for expedited approval. The general approval time takes 3-5 months. For expedited approval, the Immigration Bureau will give the approval result within 15 days of receiving the application, regardless of whether the final result is approval, rejection, a notice of rejection of intent (NOID), a notice of replacement (RFE), etc.
Need to submit an application for an expedited I-907 form and an expedited fee of US$2500.
If the employee is outside the United States:
After the I-129 is approved by the L-1 visa holder, they will pass the L-1 visa at the local U.S. consulate, and bring the following certification materials to the consulate for interview:
1. DS-160 form confirmation page
2. Copy of L-1 Approval Letter I-797B from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service
3.2 photos, US passport format 2 Inch * 2 Inch if there are accompanying family members, each person needs to fill in;
4. Visa fee payment voucher
5. Materials and other supporting materials when applying for an L-1 visa.
TIP: If the L-1 applicant has family members, each family member should submit a DS-160 visa application separately.
Can an L1 visa apply for a green card?
Yes, an L1 visa can apply for a green card. If you want to apply for L1 green card, please look at our articles, how to apply for EB1 immigration I-140 and L1 green card application I-485