L1A Visas, an Option for Foreign Startups

The L1A visa offers a good option for foreign small or startup companies to expand their business and services into the United States. Although the L1 visa was designed for large multinational corporations, it can also be used by smaller companies to send upper level personnel to the United States. The L1A visa does not have a substantial investment requirement like the E-2 visa does, and the L1A can be used for most any venture.
The USCIS will approve an L1A visa for a new office valid for only one year.  After the first year, the visa can be extended for up to seven years so long as it can be evidenced that there has been significant business activity, and that the U.S. company continues to require the services of the L1A applicant.
Spouses and children of the L1A visa holder may obtain an L2 visa to enter and remain in the US. L2 Spouses may apply for a work permit while residing in the United States in L2 nonimmigrant status. L2 spouses and children may also attend school in the US.
An applicant cannot apply for an L1A visa as an individual. An employer must file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on the applicant’s behalf. To qualify for an L-1A visa, the applicant must be:

  • An executive or a manager
  • The applicant must have worked for the company overseas for at least 1 of the past 3 years before applying for the L1A visa.
  • A qualifying relationship (such as parent-subsidiary, branch or affiliate) must exist between the foreign and the U.S. business entities.
  • Both the foreign company and the U.S company must remain open, active and viable for the entire duration of the applicants employment in the U.S.


Contact us to let our attorneys assist you in efficiently finding the suitable visa petition for you individually or for your intra-company transfer. Our legal team with help you throughout this process, from discussing your options, to gathering and preparing the requisite evidentiary materials, helping you incorportating the company, preparing your visa petition, and being available for any questions you may have throughout the process.

(408) 293 2026  –  info@mj-law.com

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