The global economy is constantly growing and changing, and companies in the United States increasingly need to transfer essential personnel from affiliate companies abroad to maintain a competitive edge. Businesses need knowledgeable legal guidance to make these global intracompany transfers efficiently and in compliance with U.S. immigration law.
Chenhalls Nissen stands ready to assist multinational employers obtain work visas for foreign national employees. Whether a single employee needs a short-term nonimmigrant visa for a specific purpose or a number of personnel are being transferred to staff a U.S. branch of a business, our experienced immigration attorneys can help your company identify the appropriate process and assemble the necessary documentation to facilitate global intracompany transfers.
The L-1 nonimmigrant category is for intracompany transfers in which a U.S. company is transferring an employee from an affiliate company abroad. To be eligible for the L-1 visa category, the individual who is being transferred must satisfy the following: at least one year of the last three years of full-time employment abroad with an affiliate company must have been in an executive, manager, or specialized knowledge capacity; and he/she must be coming to the U.S. to work in a position that fits within one of these categories.
Generally, the process of obtaining L-1 classification for an employee requires that the U.S. employer file an L-1 petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), with the exception for blanket L petition filings explained below. If USCIS approves the petition, then the individual must apply for and obtain an L-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate outside of the U.S. prior to being able to enter the U.S. in L-1 status. A U.S. employer can request an initial L-1A or L-1B petition period of three years.
The initial period is limited to one year for start-up companies. The total maximum period of L-1A eligibility is seven years. The total maximum period of L-1B eligibility is five years. (Note: In some cases, Canadian citizens have the option of submitting the L-1 petition to U.S. Customs and Border Protection at a U.S. port of entry.)
A blanket L petition is an option for U.S. companies that meet certain criteria. Companies that obtain approval of a blanket L petition from USCIS benefit from having the option of processing L-1 petitions for their employees through a U.S. Consulate abroad. Under the blanket L petition process, L-1 petitions for managers, executives, or specialized knowledge professionals can be submitted directly to a U.S. Consulate abroad by the prospective foreign national employee.
Attorneys Kelley Chenhalls and Jennifer Nissen have concentrated their practice primarily in the area of employment-based immigration law, including L-1A and L-1B visas, for well over a decade. Chenhalls Nissen S.C., based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, assists individuals and employers in the United States and internationally with their immigration and visa needs.
We offer our clients up-to-date guidance on visa and immigration law, and take pride in our dedicated personal service and responsiveness to our clients’ needs. We invite you to learn more about our team, our services, and to contact Chenhalls Nissen to schedule a consultation. We look forward to working with you.