I have represented several and diverse foreign investors who started a new business in the U.S. and are now -or are in the process of becoming- Lawful Permanent Residents of the United States. The path from initial investment L-1A New Office to Green Card requires careful and detail planning both, from the business and immigration perspective. Having a detailed business plan and actively working with your immigration attorney are two critical parts for the success of the case. The following are the visa requirements and successful stories.
THE STARTING POINT IN OUR CONVERSATION: The existence of an established foreign operative company.
The L-1A visa allows for the intracompany transfer of an executive or managerial level employee of a foreign entity to a U.S. parent, affiliate, and subsidiary company. The employee must perform services in either an executive or managerial capacity position to the U.S. business, to ensure the company’s continued functioning of its international operation.
L-1A Visa Requirements- L-1A – Executive or Manager
The U.S. new enterprise must meet the following criteria:
- Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate).
- Currently be, or will be, doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States as an L-1A.
The foreign national employee being transferred, must meet the following criteria:
- Generally, have been working for a qualifying organization abroad for one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding his or her admission to the United States; and
- Be seeking to enter the United States to provide service in an executive or managerial capacity for a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.
Period of Stay:
- Qualified employees entering the United States to establish a new office will be allowed a maximum initial stay of one year. (only for new office).
- All other qualified employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of three years.
- For all L-1A employees, requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to an additional two years. The maximum period of stay allowed on L-1A is seven years.
L-1A Visa New Office: Higher Standard
If the U.S. new enterprise has been doing business for less than one year, there are three criteria that must be met for an L-1A new office petition to be approved.
- The U.S. petitioner must have secured sufficient physical premises to house the new office.
- The foreign national employee being transferred to the U.S. must have worked for a related entity abroad as a manager or executive for at least one year within the past three years.
- The intended U.S. office will support an executive or managerial position within one year of approval of the petition.
Why Is the L-1A New Office Subject to Higher Standards?
A new office L-1A is subject to higher standards because it may only be approved for one year. This means that the new enterprise not only must meet the basic and specific New Office visa law requirements by preponderance of the evidence, but also prior to the conclusion of the one-year period, an extension may be filed, which must include evidence that the new office has grown to a size that is sufficient to support a managerial or executive-level position. This, in my experience, represents challenges in most of the cases. The new office must show that it is financially independent and has sufficient employees to support the foreign worker in a managerial or executive position. Working with your immigration attorney during this first year can make a difference in the outcome of the visa extension and preparation for the future EB-1C petition.
Successful Cases Even During Covid -19 Pandemic
I have carefully created a visa business model that perfectly fits the requirements of the law and have had success with all my clients from new office to green card. In most cases, diversification and visa planning are the key to success.
Case Study 1:
“Ms. Silvina Tondini represented us in a complex L1A new office and throughout the visa extension and later Green Card applications. The implementation and creativity of her planning and strategies were impeccable. She listens to her clients and works with them in every step of the case. She thoroughly plans and guides clients in the implementation of the plan. She counseled us throughout the process, explained the pros and cons, and we followed her advice step by step. We had some business setbacks, consulted with Ms. Tondini, and she successfully handled the issues during the visa processes. After three long processes (New Office, Extension and Green Card), my family and I are permanent residents of the US and we continue managing our businesses and investments. Ms. Tondini is deeply knowledgeable about immigration and business law. She knows how to represent and advise foreign investors with their visa and businesses. She genuinely cares about her clients. I highly recommend her. Working with her has been one of the best things that happened to us upon our arrival to the US. Silvina was not only our attorney. She became our friend and part of our family. We will always be grateful to Silvina and will always support her work ethics.” Rony Pradhan. (International Business Operations Manager- Nepal).
Case Study 2:
“We were referred to Ms. Tondini after our arrival to the US. We had worked long distance with another lawyer on my New Office L1A visa for me and L2 visas for my family. Upon arrival, we had to make some adjustments, moved offices, and had not much idea about the visa process and what the next steps were. We met Silvina Tondini in her office for our first consultation. She took the time to explain to us what we had to do and created a timeline of events and steps we had to follow for the visa extension. We understood that time was of the essence and we had to execute the plan without delay. We worked diligently to meet the requirements and followed her advice. Ms. Tondini has extensive experience of immigration law and knows how to advise and guide clients. After the approval of the L1A visa extension, we continued working with her on my EB1C visa and green card process. My family and I are now Residents of the United States. I highly recommend Ms. Tondini for all your immigration needs. She enjoys working with foreign investors and knows the law. We are very satisfied with the results and with her advice and guidance.” West Wang – Chief Executive Officer. Nicole Duan – Foreign Investor. (China).
Case Study 3:
“I am the Business Operations Manager in the U.S. of an international investment organization. My partners and I were referred to Silvina by past clients of her. We immediately started working with Silvina after the first meeting. She is confident and knows how to work with and guide foreign investors. Silvina came up with a business plan and guided us on each step of the visa process. Her vision and advice are comprehensive and in line with our goals and resources. Her work is thorough and delivers quality of work. After our initial L1A visa New Office was approved, we had a few business setbacks and had to change directions. In the midst of these business changes, COVID-19 pandemic imposed another layer of challenges: delays and closings coupled with decrease in sales and personnel reduction. Silvina acted quickly and advised us how to navigate this challenging time. The L1A visa extension application was submitted during the worst part of the pandemic but Silvina successfully handled it and despite the “stones on the road” the visa was approved. We are now working with Silvina on the green card process and have the outmost confidence on her ability and expertise. Silvina strives to succeed and get your case approved.” Ricardo Raposo (Business Operations Manager- South Africa).
Case Study 4:
“Silvina represented me in applying for EB-1C visa and subsequent green card. I am an international executive and Chief Executive Officer of a U.S. based biomedical company. Silvina was detailed oriented and guided me during the process. We obtained visa approval without delays or request for additional evidence in a relatively short time. She did an impeccable job, and I am pleased with the quality of her work. Our company subsequently retained Silvina to represent one of international managers in applying for EB-1C and green card. The case was also approved without delays or complications. Our company is engaged in manufacturing and international trade. Silvina understands our fast-paced environment and her results are aligned with our timing and needs. I endorse Silvina and I am available to provide references.” Henry Sand (Chief Executive Officer – Argentina).
The L-1A and EB-1C visas require intensive planning and preparation. After obtaining approval of the initial L1A visa and extension, clients are in a better position to apply for EB-1C and green card. Working with an experienced immigration attorney will help you to position your company for success.