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The Joyous Journey of L1 Visa Application: A Fun and Easy Guide


Alright, globe trotters! You've decided to pack your bags, say 'au revoir' to your home turf and get ready to explore the star-spangled streets of the USA for work? If you're moving through a company transfer, the L1 visa is your golden ticket. But fret not! The application process, while it might seem like a labyrinth, is actually more like a fun maze. So, let's grab our maps and dive in!



A Spoonful of Sugar: An Introduction to the L1 Visa

Simply put, the L1 visa is like a 'Friendship Bracelet' from your company to Uncle Sam. It is a non-immigrant visa that lets you and your professional skills hop over to a branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of your current company in the US.


There are two variants to this visa - L1A for managers and executives, and L1B for professionals with specialized knowledge. With a twinkle in your eye and your paperwork in order, either can be your magic carpet to the States!



Step 1: The Nomination Dance

Before anything else, your company must choose you for the transfer. This is the nomination dance, my friends. This isn't something you can control, but you can surely make your skills shine bright. Remember, your company loves you and thinks you're the bee's knees, so they're sending you to spread the love overseas!



Step 2: Filling in the Dots - Form I-129

Now comes the first interactive part - Form I-129, the Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. Don't let the official name scare you! It's just a fancy name for a document where you need to dot your 'i's and cross your 't's. Your employer typically fills this out on your behalf, so sit back and relax, maybe enjoy a cup of coffee (or two)!



Step 3: The Waiting Waltz

After the I-129 is submitted, we step into the waiting waltz. The USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) takes a few weeks (or sometimes months) to process the application. This is the perfect time to brush up on your American trivia or plan your must-visit list. And who knows? You might end up winning a pub quiz with your newfound knowledge!


Step 4: The Consulate Cha-Cha

Once your petition is approved (yay!), your next step is to dance over to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for an interview. To arrange this, you'll need to fill out Form DS-160, the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application. This interview is like a friendly chat with the officials, where they'll ask you a few questions about your work, background, and the purpose of your visit. Remember to smile, be confident, and be honest!


Step 5: Passport Pick-up Party

If your interview goes well (and we're sure it will), all you have left to do is collect your passport with your shiny new visa. It's like getting a high-five from Uncle Sam himself!

So, there you have it. The L1 Visa application process is a journey, sure. But remember, it's more about the fun you have along the way, not the destination! So pack your optimism, wear your confidence, and let's cha-cha-cha our way to the USA!



The requirements for an L1 visa are pretty straightforward. There are five main areas you’ll need to qualify in:

  1. The Qualifying Relationship: Your current employer must have a qualifying relationship with the U.S. company you plan to work for. This could mean they’re a branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of each other.

  2. Doing Business: Both your current employer and the U.S. company must be, or will be, actively engaged in doing business. This means they can’t just exist on paper, they have to be real, operating businesses.

  3. One Year Employment: You must have been employed by your current company outside the U.S. for at least one continuous year in the past three years. This should be in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity.

  4. Managerial, Executive, or Specialized Knowledge Capacity: Your intended role in the U.S. company must also be in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity.

  5. Intent to Depart: You must intend to leave the U.S. once your visa expires, although there can be opportunities to extend it or apply for a different status later on. Technically, when applying for a non-immigrant visa like the L1, applicants need to demonstrate that they intend to return to their home country once their visa duration expires. This is to assure that they will not stay in the U.S. indefinitely.



It is indeed possible to start a brand new office in the U.S. under the L1 visa. This option is often referred to as the “New Office L1 Visa.”


This visa category is specifically designed for managers, executives, or professionals with specialized knowledge who are coming to the U.S. to establish a new office for their company. It allows foreign companies that don’t yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an employee to the States to set one up.


There are a few additional requirements for a New Office L1 visa:

  1. The foreign company must have rented or purchased physical premises for the new U.S. office.

  2. The employee being transferred to set up the new office must have been employed in a managerial or executive position, or have specialized knowledge and been employed with the foreign company for at least one year in the past three years.

  3. There should be the financial ability to remunerate the employee and commence doing business in the U.S.


It’s important to note that a New Office L1 visa is initially granted for a maximum of one year, after which it can be extended provided the U.S. company is doing business and can support the employee in a managerial or executive role, or a role requiring specialized knowledge.



Navigating the path to the L1 visa might seem like an intricate dance, but it’s one that brings with it the promise of exciting new career opportunities. From understanding the qualifying relationship between your foreign and U.S. companies, to proving both are actively engaged in business, each step is a building block to your dream of working stateside. Remember, every piece of documentation is a thread in the vibrant tapestry of your visa story. The beauty of the L1 visa, with its dual intent feature, is the freedom it gives you to explore not just a temporary work opportunity, but a potential future in the U.S. And although the process may seem daunting, each requirement is simply a conversation between you, your company, and Uncle Sam, a testament to your skills, commitment, and the valuable contribution you’re set to make in your new role. So as you embark on this journey, take it one step at a time, seek professional advice when needed, and before you know it, you’ll be on your way to making your American dream a reality!



Remember, this is a simplified explanation and you should always seek professional advice when applying for visas. Laws and regulations may change, and each person's situation can be unique.


Disclaimer: This communication is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Every case is unique and you should not rely on this information as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. The information presented may not reflect the most current legal developments, and the firm is not responsible for any errors or omissions in the content. The firm expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this communication. No attorney-client relationship is created through this communication. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.

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