L1 Visas and US Company Registration
The following article attempts to provide insight into both the US Immigration and company registration process for those seeking an L1 visa to the USA.
The L-1 visa was created in order to provide a travel document for intra-company transferees within multi-national organizations. For instance, the Director of an offshore division of a US company could use the L-1 visa when he transfers to the corporation’s home office in the USA.
There are two subclasses of the main visa category classified as L-1 which should be examined when analyzing this travel document. The L1A visa was designed for executives and management transferees who wish to take up employment within the same corporation, but in the United States. The L-1B visa was meant to be used by very skilled technicians and other essential technical employees who must be transferred to an employment position in the USA in order to provide integral technical expertise.
The registration of an American corporate entity is relatively easy when compared to jurisdictions outside of the United States. However, the ease with which a Limited Liability Company (LLC) can be formed has lead many to the erroneous conclusion that L-1 visas can be easily obtained once a company is incorporated in the USA. In truth, this is incorrect. The L-1 petition is often painstakingly examined by officers at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). In their adjudication, USCIS must make a determination as to the bona fide nature of the business enterprise. A US corporation should never be registered strictly as a pretext for seeking visa benefits. In fact, taking such action could be viewed as an attempt to defraud the US government. That being said, those natural persons and corporate entities with a bona fide business enterprise which requires skilled labor from outside of the USA could apply for an L1 visa.
Adjudication of L-1 visa applications at United States Embassies and United States Consulates abroad is rather routine. However, those seeking an L1 visa are well advised to retain competent legal counsel in order to ensure the compiling of a well-founded petition or application. In some cases, a US Immigration lawyer can prove helpful for corporations and individuals seeking visa benefits under the L1 visa category.
Corporations and natural people interested in retaining an American Immigration attorney overseas should remember to check the credentials of those who claim to be able to assist with the American visa process. Only an American attorney is allowed to charge fees for services rendered in connection with a US visa application. Always ask a purported attorney for a copy of their license to practice law or their membership card in a State or Federal Bar Association.