Visas for International Business Owners
- By Nisha Karnani
- May 15, 2015
- Business Immigration
Many visas available for international business owners are restricted by the owners’ nationality or the amount of money invested. However, the L-1A visa does not have these limitations, and is a good way to transfer multinational executives and managers into the U.S. The L-1A is also a helpful visa for international businesses hoping to expand into the US since it can be used to transfer manager and executive employees to either a new or existing business.
What are the basic requirements of the L-1A visa?
Generally, the L-1A immigration applicant must have been a manager or executive in a foreign company for at least one out of the last three years who is being transferred to a manager or executive position in a related U.S. company. The U.S. and foreign companies must have a specific legal relationship, which typically involves particular types of shared ownership (e.g. parent, subsidiary).
Some frequently asked questions regarding L-1A visas are:
Can I qualify for the L-1A if I have not yet opened my U.S. business?
Ø Yes, L-1A visas are available for new U.S. offices, but also have an option for a shortened visa validity of one year. Careful preparation is critical for L-1A new office cases because they are more closely scrutinized. For example, most attorneys will recommend a detailed business plan for a successful new office L-1A case.
Do I have to invest a specific amount of money for the L-1A visa?
Ø There is no minimum investment amount for an L-1A visa (unlike the investor greencards or E-2 visas), but the amount of money paid and payable towards US operations should make sense for other businesses of similar size in the industry. Keep in mind that US CIS is looking to understand that the US and foreign companies are legitimate and viable.
Can I bring my spouse and children to the US on an L-1A visa?
Ø Yes, the spouse and children under 21 years of age are issued L-2 visas. Also, the L-2 spouse is eligible for a work permit.
Do I have to stay in the U.S. if I have an L-1A visa?
Ø There is not a minimum amount of time an L-1A visa holder must stay in the U.S. In fact, it’s very common for L-1A executives to have frequent or long-term international travel given they are running a multinational business.
Can I get a greencard with the L-1A visa?
Ø Many L-1A visa holders will qualify for the multinational manager/executive greencard process, which is relatively quick and easy compared to other work-based greencards. For new U.S. offices, though, it often makes sense to wait until the U.S. operations are up and running smoothly before initiating this process.
No matter your particular immigration situation, contact us so we can help advise you on your options and strategy. The attorneys at Antonini & Cohen have many years of immigration experience in all areas of immigration law and are happy to be of help. Click here to complete our contact form to get in touch.