“NEW COMPANY” L-1 VISAS

Opening and investing in a new office (parent, subsidiary, branch or affiliate) of a foreign company could pave the way for obtaining lawful permanent residence (commonly called “green card”)  by later utilizing the EB-1(c) Multinational Manager/Executive preference category.

New Office L-1A Visa Requirements

A new office is “an organization which has been doing business in the United States through a parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary for less than one year.” Because the new office must be “doing business,” the “mere presence of an agent or office” is not enough.

The petitioner must submit evidence that: (a) sufficient physical premises for the office have been secured (usually by providing a lease); (b) the beneficiary meets the one-year continuous employment abroad requirement; and (c) the intended U.S. operation within one year “will support an executive or managerial position.”

To prove that the U.S. office will support an executive or managerial position within a year, the petitioner must provide information regarding: (a) the proposed nature of the office, describing the scope of the entity, its organizational structure, and its financial goals; (b) the size of the U.S. investment and the financial ability of the foreign entity to remunerate the beneficiary and to commence business; and (c) the organizational structure of the foreign entity. It is highly recommended that a detailed and credible business plan containing financial and personnel projections should be included with the new office L-1A petition.

A “new office” L-1A petition is typically approved for only one year. It may be extended upon presentation of evidence that the business is active and operating. To determine extension, USCIS looks to the “number of employees, significant growth in cash flow, presence of significant customers and clientele, or similar elements.”

L-1A Status to EB-1(c) Green Card

Upon successful grant of the first L-1A extension, the newly established U.S. company could apply for Green Card on behalf of the foreign national by utilizing the EB-1(c) Multinational Manager/Executive preference category.

To qualify for the EB-1(c) Green Card, the foreign national must have been employed outside the United States in the three years preceding the petition for at least one year by the parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of the newly established U.S. company. The foreign national employment must have been outside the United States in a managerial or executive capacity.

Because Labor Certification by the U.S. Department of Labor is not required for EB-1(c) Multinational Manager/Executive preference category, the U.S. company can directly submit the Green Card petition by filing Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (I-140 petition), along with relevant documentary evidence. Depending on the country of nationality of the foreign national and the availability of the visa numbers, I-140 petition and adjustment of status application (Form I-485) can be concurrently filed.