If you are an employer who has an active office in the U.S. or wants to establish one, the L-1 visa likely has the benefits you need to send experienced high-level employees to the U.S. to grow your business.. Read on to find out how the L-1 visa benefits apply to your business.
The L-1 visa is broken down into two subcategories: the L-1A for managers and executives, and the L-1B for employees with specialized knowledge. Each has its own requirements and duration of stay. When comparing these L-1 visas with many of the other work visa classifications, you will find that, depending on the facts of the case, it has many benefits that the others do not.
Benefit: Relatively Low Requirements
There are many work visas available to foreign professionals who wish to be employed in the U.S. Many of them have very steep requirements that are difficult to fulfill.
For example, the O-1 visa requires applicants to show their extraordinary ability through international awards or a substantial salary. The TN visa is only available to Canadians and Mexicans. The E-2 visa requires a substantial investment in a U.S. enterprise, and it requires that the United States have a treaty with the foreign country.
The L-1 visa, however, only requires you to be a manager, executive, or specialized employee in a multinational company in order to be qualified. This opens up the door for many people that are otherwise ineligible for other work visas.
One of the most difficult aspects of acquiring an H-1B, J-1, or TN visa is finding an entity that is willing to sponsor you for the visa. If you are a qualified L-1 applicant, then you are already employed with a U.S. company that will sponsor you.
Benefit: No Annual Limits
Typically, the L-1 visa is compared to the H-1B on account of their similarities. However, they differ largely here as there is a strict annual cap on how many H-1B petitions are approved. Each year, a small number of petitions are randomly selected from the pool of submitted petitions, making it very difficult to obtain an H-1B if you are subject to this lottery.
On the other hand, there are no limits to how many L-1 visas are approved each year. This means that your petition will not be rejected due to the fact that there are no more available visas.
Period of Stay
For the L-1A visa, holders will be granted an initial three years of stay in the U.S. They can then extend their stay to a maximum of seven years; this surpasses the H-1B’s maximum of six years and the J-1’s maximum of five years. However, the L-1B visa can only be extended to a maximum of five years, making its period of stay a disadvantage when compared to other work visas.
Benefit: Educational Requirements
One of the greatest L-1 visa benefits is the fact that you do not need a degree to qualify. This is a large advantage over the H-1B, though there are some other visas that do not necessarily require an education. These include the O-1, E-2, TN, and J-1 visa classifications.
Benefit: Spouses and Dependents Can Work
If you are in the U.S. on L-1 status, you will be able to bring your spouse and children along with you through the L2 visa. Also, if they qualify for Employment Authorization Documents, they will be able to work in the U.S. as well. This is a great L-1 benefit because it allows your spouse and dependents to make supplementary income to help support the family if necessary.
Benefit: Dual Intent
Like several other nonimmigrant visas, the L-1 is considered by the USCIS to be “dual intent”, meaning that L-1 holders are able to pursue lawful permanent resident status during their stay. This is in contrast to work visas such as the J-1 and TN visa classifications through which pursuing a green card would violate your status and possibly incur consequences with the USCIS.
How We Can Help
Now that you are aware of all the advantages of the L-1 visa has compared to other work visas, you should talk to an immigration attorney regarding your particular case. Please call us to schedule a consultation.