International companies may be able to transfer foreign executives or managers to a U.S. office by helping them to secure an L-1A nonimmigrant visa. If a company does not yet have a U.S. office, the L-1A visa may be used so that a foreign manager or executive can come into the U.S. to help establish a new affiliate office.
An employer who would like to bring one of its foreign managers or executives into the U.S. must file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. To qualify for this kind of visa, the employer must have a relationship with the foreign affiliate company in the country where the visa applicant resides. Further, the employer must be doing business or planning to do business in the U.S. for the full length of the visa applicant’s stay in the U.S.
A foreign individual who wishes to secure an L-1A visa to enter the U.S. must have been employed by the qualifying organization for at least one year. Upon entering the U.S., the visa applicant must be planning to work as either an executive or a manager at the U.S. affiliate company. Employees may be granted a maximum initial stay of three years, and the stay may be extended for up to seven years.
If an employer is interested in L-1A visas to bring qualified employees into the U.S., an immigration attorney may be able to help. Legal assistance may be especially crucial when the foreign executive or manager is being sent to the U.S. in order to establish a new office. In these situations, an attorney may be able to help the employer ensure that they have sufficient documentation of the new physical premises that will be used for the office.