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L-1 versus H-1B

L-1 Visa Overview: Temporary, Nonimmigrant Visas for Intra-company Transferees

As you may be aware, bringing a foreign worker to the US on an H-1B temporary work visa is difficult because there are a limited numbers available each year, and the visa is so over-subscribed that only about 1 out of 3 are picked up in the lottery.  If there is a company with an overseas subsidiary, another possible visa for a foreign worker is an L-1 (intra-company transferee) which is a non-immigrant petition filed by a company on behalf of an employee coming to the United States temporarily to work for the company in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity.  The employee must have worked for the company or its related entity overseas for at least one year, either in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity within the three years preceding application for admission.

Qualifying Relationship Between Overseas Company and U.S. Company:  the overseas company and U.S. company must show a qualifying relationship such as parent, subsidiary, affiliate, joint venture, proprietorship ,or branch office.

L-1 Requirements: The L-1 individual may work in either a Managerial/Executive or Specialized Knowledge capacity, and the individual must have worked for the foreign entity at least one year in the prior three years.  Note:  If the individual wishing to come to the United States on L-1 is an owner or major stockholder of the petitioning company, the USCIS requests evidence that the individual is coming to the United States temporarily, and will be transferred to an assignment abroad, after completion of the temporary assignment in the U.S.

L-1A:  Managerial Capacity:   First line supervisors are not considered managerial unless they are supervising professional-level employees.   Therefore, to be managerial, the person must either be managing other managers or managing professional-level employees who have at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. An L-1A managerial capacity employee may work for a maximum of 7 years in L-1A status.

L-1A Executive Capacity:  The person must direct the management of the company or one of its major functions; he or she must establish policies and goals; he or she must exercise wide latitude in discretionary decision making; and must only receive general supervision or direction from higher level executives.  An L-1A executive capacity employee may work for a maximum of 7 years in L-1A status.

L-1B: Specialized Knowledge:  For specialized knowledge capacity, the individual must have specialized knowledge in the company’s products, processes or procedures.  If individual is coming to the US in a specialized knowledge capacity, then the individual can only be located off-site, if the sponsoring company will continue to maintain control over the individual’s work.  Specialized knowledge of the company’s products or processes must be necessary for the job.  An L-1B specialized knowledge employee may work for a maximum of 5 years in L-1B status.  L-1B status is very difficult to get.

Blanket L-1’s:  A blanket L-1 allows a company to pre-qualify for L-1 status for its qualified employees.  With an approved blanket petition, there is no need for the company to file a separate petition for each L-1 employee.  Only certain companies can qualify for blanket petitions.  Namely, a company must meet normal L-1 requirements, plus have 3 or more branches, affiliates or subsidiaries and must have combined U.S. annual sales of at least $25 million, at least 1,000 employees (U.S.), or received approval of at least 10 L petitions in prior year.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed to be indefinitely up to date. This information is of a general nature and is not intended to apply to any specific or particular circumstance.

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Infographic: An overview of the H-1B quota process (FY2017)

An overview of the H-1B Quota Process. (Click on the image above to enlarge.)

An Overview of the H-1B Quota Process

H-1B quota season for Fiscal Year 2017 is coming quickly—since cases must be filed by April 1, 2016.  We anticipate a very busy quota season.

In order to file an H-1B case, the position must normally require a Bachelor’s degree or its US equivalent, and the person being sponsored must have the equivalent (including a combination of education and experience) of a US Bachelor’s degree.

Your cases will need full project information and supporting documentation for filing. All filings for the Fiscal Year 2017 H-1B quota have to be received by USCIS in the first week of April, for a position starting on October 1, 2016.

USCIS will likely accept cases under the quota over a range of days this year, as they have in years past, (Usually the first five business days of April).  Once that range is defined, cases received by USCIS during that range are treated equally for purposes of inclusion and selection under the lottery – there is no advantage to filing on the first day, once a multiple-day range for case acceptance has been defined.  Accordingly, we file all cases on a first-in first-out basis.

After the last day for accepting the cases for inclusion in the selection process has passed, USCIS begins selecting cases. Again, cases received by USCIS during the acceptance period are treated equally for purposes of inclusion and selection under the lottery. Once the cases have been picked, USCIS sends receipt notices for them, and cashes the filing fee checks. USCIS does not cash your fee checks on cases not accepted under the quota, and starts returning the case documents and checks.

Once cases have been picked up, USCIS starts processing them. It means one of the following three things can happen; USCIS issues an approval, or USCIS denies the case; finally USCIS can also issue an RFE, which is request for additional evidence to establish eligibility for petition approval. USCIS suspends processing on cases it has sent out RFEs for till it receives the additional information it has requested, or the last day to submit additional information has passed. USCIS will either approve or deny a petition based on this additional evidence.

After USCIS approves a petition, it sends out an approval notice. The approval notice in itself does not grant the beneficiary admittance into the United States or authorization to work in the United States. The beneficiary has to make an appointment at a United States consulate in her/his country of residence to get a H-1B Visa. The wait time for visa appointments can be found here.

For H-1B visas approved for Fiscal Year 2017, the earliest an employee can start working is October 1, 2016. Also, H-4 petitions for dependents can be filed after the case has been picked up in the lottery.

In order to start a quota case, please send documents to our quota intake email   quota@sgimmigration.com

Disclaimer: The information provided here is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed to be indefinitely up to date. This information is of a general nature and is not intended to apply to any specific or particular circumstance.

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