The Immigration attorneys at Chamberlain Hrdlicka have considerable experience handling the entire spectrum of immigration matters for individuals, families and businesses both in the U.S. and abroad. We have represented clients in all parts of the United States and in more than 100 countries.
We have represented companies and non-profit organizations both in the U.S. and abroad in obtaining U.S. immigrant and non-immigrant visas through the employment, business and investment categories, as well as in U.S. citizenship matters. Additional expertise includes employment cases, labor certifications and consular work.
For individuals, we have handled a wide range of immigration matters including visa processing, naturalizations and defense of removal (deportation) cases. And with support from the Tax Planning group, have assisted in pre-immigration tax planning.
While the constant change in U.S. immigration laws presents challenges for many in this area of work, we are at the forefront of this rapidly changing field of law. As members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and founding members of IMMLAW, Chamberlain’s immigration team actively participates in the exchange of ideas and information in emerging areas so that our clients can benefit from the most innovative techniques in the ever-changing immigration environment.
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Are you considering transferring a manager from one of your foreign offices to the United States? If so, the L-1A nonimmigrant visa may be the right classification for your company.
L-1A visa allows multinational companies with a branch, subsidiary, office, or affiliate in the U.S to transfer certain employees to the U.S. in order to work. Alternatively, qualified employees may be granted the visa to set up a U.S. office if none currently exist. Qualified employees may be granted a maximum initial stay of three years, with extensions available up to the maximum limit of seven years.
To qualify, the employee must have been working for your company’s affiliated foreign office for at least one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding their admission to the U.S. Moreover, the employee must be seeking to enter the United States to provide services in an executive or managerial capacity.
USCIS defines executive capacity simply as the ability to make decisions of wide latitude without much oversight, the managerial capacity is more complex. It is defined as an ability of the employee to supervise and control the work of professional employees and to manage the organization, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the organization. It may also refer to the employee’s ability to manage an essential function of the organization at a high level, without direct supervision of others. The criteria to be considered a manager or executive are strict and are closely-scrutinized by USCIS. Below we delve into the distinction between managing personnel and managing a function and its implications for the visa application process.
As previously mentioned, L-1A visa can be used for foreign-born employees who will be directing and supervising other employees at a qualifying company. Your organization’s number of employees and revenues will be considered. To establish a managerial role, your company may need at least two or three tiers of employment. For example, a first line supervisor is not considered to be acting in a managerial capacity unless the employees supervised are professional. Professional is the key word here. Employees to be supervised cannot be entry-level, minimum wage, or base-line employees. They must engage in professional work, with a bachelor’s degree or higher, licensure or a board certification. The petitioning employee must also be a professional and document that he or she has qualifications and experience needed to carry out their managerial duties. It is vital to make an objective assessment whether the individual applicant meets these criteria. The petition will be tested during the application process and requires extensive documentation, including the underlying licenses, training certificates, diplomas, and degrees for each employee.
L-1A managerial visa is also applicable for those foreign-born transferees who will be managing an essential function in your company’s U.S. branch. For example, if the manager oversees sales at your company, he or she can be considered to manage the sales function. To qualify, you must show that the function managed by a qualified employee is essential to the economic benefit of the overall company. You must also demonstrate that the function manager actually manages the overall function and does not merely carry out the duties related to the function. In our example, the sales manager cannot solely conduct sales with clients. He must manage other individuals who are conducting sales. As in the previous instance, you must demonstrate that the function manager has an elevated position in the company’s hierarchy. You can provide evidence by documenting direct reports sent to clients and meetings between clients and other directors and executives within the company.
While an L1A visa may seem easier to obtain than others, such as H-1B or O, it is imperative to gather and provide sufficient documentation to prove both the petitioning company and the international employee qualify. Moreover, your evidence should be tailored to demonstrate you’re applying either for personnel or a function manager. An experienced immigration attorney can assist you in the initial assessment and in preparing sound arguments to ensure the visa is granted by USCIS.