Challenges to obtaining L1 visas

On Behalf of | Feb 19, 2021 | Visas

For foreign nationals who are coming to work in Michigan from their parent companies abroad, there are unique hurdles to cross in the intricate U.S. visa application process. Michigan has a lower percentage of foreign-born residents than the national average, but they are more highly skilled and hold a higher share of degrees in science, technology and engineering.

Among the many categories of U.S. work visas available to foreign nationals is the L1 visa for temporary workers. L-1A and L-1B visas are nonimmigrant visas available for intracompany transferees working either in managerial positions or in positions that require specialized knowledge.

The L1 visa classification allows a company to transfer a foreign national from an affiliated foreign office to a parent, subsidiary or affiliate of that company in the United States. It also allows a foreign company not yet represented in the United States to send an executive, manager, or employee with specialized knowledge to the United States for the purpose of establishing an affiliated U.S. office.

Qualifications for the L-1A and L-1B visa

For the process to begin for either L-1A of L-1B visa, an employer must file a petition for authorization for a qualified employee to live and work in the United States. If the company is establishing a new U.S. office:

  • there must be a physical location
  • the employee has been employed for at least one year within the span of three years prior to the filing
  • the new office will support this position within one year of the approval of the petition.

In order to qualify for either the L-1A or L-1B classification, the employee:

  • must have worked for a qualifying organization abroad for one continuous year within a span of three years from the time of application
  • must be seeking entry into the United States to provide the same executive or managerial service to a branch or affiliate of the same employer for the L-1A, or to provide services in a specialized knowledge capacity to the organization for the L-1B

Depending on whether or not qualifying employees are establishing a new office, an L-1 visa allows them an initial stay of one to three years. Family members of employees may also apply under the L-2 classification.

Delays in the process

Unfortunately, strict rules and verification of information can lead to a Request for Evidence (RFA), which can hold up the process. To avoid unnecessary delays, it is wise to consult immigration attorneys in Royal Oak whose experience will get the approval process moving again.