Top FAQs for Business Owners Applying for the L-1 Visa

l1 visa for business owners

If you’re a business owner who wants to expand into the US, you may be contemplating an L-1 Visa. You may also have some questions about the visa and what’s involved in applying. Here are some quick FAQs to get you started, based on information from US Citizenship and Immigration Services:

Q: Do I qualify for an L-1 visa? Does my business qualify?

A: You and your business may qualify if;

  • You have a qualifying relationship with a qualifying foreign company (the parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate company).
  • It is important that you are or will be doing business in both the US and at least one other country. Doing business is more than just having a representative or office present in the country in question; you have to be providing good and/or services in a “regular, systematic, and continuous” fashion.
  • If your application involves a new office, your business abroad and the US business you want to establish are related.
  • If your application involves a new office, the new location will be up and running soon after your employee’s arrival in the US.
  • If your application involves a new offices, your current foreign company will continue to operate.

Q: Does my employee qualify?

A: Your employee may qualify if;

  • They have been working abroad for a qualifying organisation (which must be your company or a qualifying branch of your company) for a minimum of one continuous year within the past three years.
  • They will be working in a managerial or executive capacity, in the case of an L-1A Visa application, or in a specialized knowledge capacity, in the case of an L-1B Visa application.

Q: What do I have to prove for the L-1 Visa for new offices?

A: According to US Citizenship and Immigration Services, you initially have to prove that your new company has a qualifying relationship with your foreign company and that you have secured enough physical space in the US for your new business. If you are requesting an extension of stay, you need to show that is “active an operating” within one year and, after one year, that the business is active enough to support someone working largely in a managerial or executive role, as opposed to dividing their attention between those tasks and other aspects of the company(L-1A) or that the company has the financial resources to compensate the employee with specialised knowlege (L-1B).

Q: Can my employee’s spouse work?

A: Your employee’s spouse can work after applying to USCIS and receiving an employment authorization document.

Why Hire Us to Help You With Your L-1 Visa Application?

Learning if you qualify is the first step towards success, and then you will need to ensure that all of the related documents are prepared properly.  Our lawyers have extensive experience in handling L-1 visas for large, medium and even small businesses.

The first step towards obtaining an L-1 visa is getting an assessment of your case. Fill out our free immigration assessment form and we will get back to you within 24 hours to discuss your eligibility and options.


Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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