To be eligible for an L1 visa, Indian nationals must meet certain requirements set by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). These requirements include:
One of the key requirements for an L1 visa is that the US company must have a qualifying relationship with the foreign company where the applicant is currently employed. This relationship can be established in three ways:
In the case of a parent-subsidiary relationship, the US company must be able to exercise control over the foreign company. This means that the US company must have the power to determine the foreign company’s policies and day-to-day operations. In the case of a branch office, the US company must have a physical presence in the foreign country. This means that the US company must have an office or other facility in the foreign country. In the case of an affiliated company, the same group of individuals or entities must own and control both the US and foreign companies. This means that the same individuals or entities must have the power to determine the policies and day-to-day operations of both companies.
The applicant must have a valid job offer from the US company to be eligible for an L1 visa. This job offer must be for a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge position. The job offer must also include details such as job title, job duties, salary, and other terms and conditions of employment.
The job offer must be genuine and the position must be available at the time of the visa application. The job offer must also be consistent with the applicant’s qualifications and experience. This means that the job duties must require the skills and experience that the applicant possesses. The salary must be commensurate with the position and the prevailing wage in the area of intended employment. The terms and conditions of employment must be in compliance with US labor laws and regulations.
The L1 visa is only available to individuals who possess the necessary qualifications and experience for the position in the US. This means that the applicant must have the required education, skills, and experience to perform the job duties in the US. The USCIS may request evidence of the applicant’s qualifications and experience, such as educational certificates, work experience letters, and professional licenses.
The applicant must have a degree or diploma in a field related to the position. The applicant must also have relevant work experience. This means that the applicant must have worked in a similar position or in the same industry for a certain period of time. The applicant must also have the necessary skills to perform the job duties. This means that the applicant must have the technical skills, soft skills, and language skills required for the position. The USCIS may also consider the applicant’s professional achievements, such as awards and recognitions, in assessing the applicant’s qualifications and experience.
The process of obtaining an L1 visa for Indian nationals is similar to that of other foreign nationals. However, there are a few additional steps that Indian nationals must follow. These steps include:
The first step in the L1 visa process is for the US company to file a petition with the USCIS. This petition, known as Form I-129, must include all the necessary documents to prove the applicant’s eligibility for the L1 visa. These documents include the job offer letter, proof of qualifying relationship between the US and foreign companies, and evidence of the applicant’s qualifications and experience.
The job offer letter must clearly state the position, job duties, salary, and other terms and conditions of employment. The proof of a qualifying relationship can be in the form of corporate documents, such as articles of incorporation, bylaws, annual reports, and financial statements. The evidence of the applicant’s qualifications and experience can be in the form of educational certificates, work experience letters, and professional licenses.
Once the petition is filed, the USCIS will review it and make a decision. This process can take several weeks or even months, depending on the workload of the USCIS and the complexity of the case. If the petition is approved, the US company will receive a Notice of Action (Form I-797) from the USCIS. This form serves as proof of approval and must be presented when applying for the L1 visa.
If the petition is denied, the USCIS will provide a reason for the denial. The US company can appeal the decision or file a new petition. It is important to note that the approval of the petition does not guarantee the issuance of the L1 visa. The final decision is made by the consular officer at the US embassy or consulate.
With the approved petition, the applicant can then apply for the L1 visa at the nearest US embassy or consulate in India. The applicant must submit Form I-797, along with other required documents, such as a valid passport, photographs, and application fee. The application fee is non-refundable and must be paid in US dollars.
The applicant must also complete the online visa application form, known as Form DS-160. This form requires the applicant to provide personal information, such as name, date of birth, address, and marital status, as well as information about the proposed travel to the US, such as the purpose of travel, intended date of arrival, and intended length of stay.
After submitting the visa application, the applicant will be required to attend an interview at the US embassy or consulate. The purpose of the interview is to verify the information provided in the visa application and to assess the applicant’s eligibility for the L1 visa.
During the interview, the consular officer will ask questions about the applicant’s job, qualifications, and purpose of travel to the US. The applicant must answer all questions honestly and provide any additional documents requested by the consular officer. The applicant must also demonstrate ties to India, such as family, property, or employment, to convince the consular officer that they will return to India after their stay in the US.
If the consular officer is satisfied with the applicant’s eligibility, the L1 visa will be issued. The visa will be stamped on the applicant’s passport, and the applicant can then travel to the US. The validity of the L1 visa can be up to five years, depending on the reciprocity agreement between the US and India.
The L1 visa allows the holder to work for the sponsoring US company and to travel in and out of the US. The L1 visa also allows the holder’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age to accompany them to the US. The spouse can apply for work authorization, and the children can attend school in the US.
One of the advantages of the L1 visa is that it can lead to a green card, also known as permanent residency, in the US. This is because the L1 visa is a dual intent visa, which means that the applicant can have the intention to immigrate to the US while on this visa. However, obtaining a green card through the L1 visa is not automatic and requires a separate application process.
The most common way for L1 visa holders to obtain a green card is through the EB-1C category. This category is for multinational managers and executives who have been employed by the same company, or its affiliate or subsidiary, outside the US for at least one continuous year within the past three years. To be eligible for the EB-1C green card, the applicant must meet the following requirements:
If the applicant meets these requirements, they can file an immigrant petition (Form I-140) with the USCIS. Once the petition is approved, the applicant can then apply for a green card through consular processing or adjustment of status.
The EB-1C green card is a great option for L1 visa holders because it does not require a labor certification. This means that the US company does not need to prove that there are no qualified US workers available for the position. The EB-1C green card also has a relatively short waiting time compared to other green card categories.
Apart from the EB-1C category, L1 visa holders may also be eligible for other green card categories, such as the EB-2 and EB-3 categories. These categories require the applicant to have a job offer from a US employer and go through the labor certification process. However, L1 visa holders may be exempt from the labor certification process if they can show that they possess specialized knowledge or have extraordinary ability in their field.
The EB-2 category is for professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability, and the EB-3 category is for skilled workers, professionals, and unskilled workers. Both categories require the US employer to obtain a labor certification from the US Department of Labor. This involves proving that there are no qualified US workers available for the position and that the employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of US workers.
However, L1 visa holders who possess specialized knowledge or have extraordinary ability may be able to bypass the labor certification process. This can be done by applying for a National Interest Waiver (NIW) for the EB-2 category or by demonstrating extraordinary ability for the EB-1A category. Both options require the applicant to prove that their employment in the US would be in the national interest or that they have achieved a level of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in their field.
The L1 visa is a popular option for Indian nationals who wish to work in the US. With its relatively low requirements and the possibility of obtaining a green card, it is no surprise that many Indian professionals choose this visa. However, it is essential to note that the L1 visa is not a guarantee for a green card, and the process can be complex and time-consuming. It is always advisable to seek the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney to ensure a smooth and successful L1 visa application process.
The L1 visa offers a unique opportunity for Indian professionals to gain international work experience and to contribute to the global success of their companies. It also offers a pathway to permanent residency in the US, which can provide numerous benefits, such as the freedom to live and work anywhere in the US, access to certain public benefits, and the ability to sponsor relatives for immigration. However, the L1 visa also comes with responsibilities, such as complying with US laws and regulations, maintaining valid immigration status, and paying taxes. Therefore, it is important for L1 visa holders to understand their rights and responsibilities and to plan their immigration journey carefully.
Global Immigration Partners PLLC is a specialized immigration law firm. A substantial part of our practice focuses on assisting business owners and investors with E1, E2, L1 and EB-5 visas.Through our international presence we have specialist knowledge of the specific procedures in multiple embassies and consulates around-the-world.
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