L-1A Visa for New Office


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For the L-1A beneficiary to be a manager or executive who will open or be employed in a new office in the United States, you must establish the following:

  1. Sufficient physical premises to house the beneficiary have been secured;
    • The U.S. company must provide evidence, at the time of filing, that it has secured sufficient space to support its U.S. operations, which includes adequate room to house all employees the company proposes to hire within one year of the L1A petition’s approval. Generally, this requires the submission of a signed lease or ownership documentation that indicates the total square footage of the premises.
  2. A qualifying relationship between the U.S. entity and foreign entity exists;
  3. The beneficiary has been employed in an executive or managerial capacity for one continuous year in the three-year period before the time of his or her application for admission to the United States;
  4. The proposed employment involves executive or managerial authority over the new office; and
  5. The proposed U.S. office will support an executive or managerial position within one year.

One Year Requirement

You must prove that the new office will support an executive or managerial position within one year of petition approval. You must show this with evidence regarding:

  1. The proposed nature of the office describing the entity, its organizational structure, and its financial goals;
  2. The size of the U.S. investment and the financial ability of the foreign entity to pay the beneficiary and to begin doing business in the United States; and
  3. The organizational structure of the foreign entity

When establishing a new U.S. Subsidiary or Affiliate company, you will want to keep the following in mind

  1. The foreign firm and the US firm must have a “qualifying relationship.”
  2. The US and the foreign firm must have common majority ownership, or, where there is less than majority ownership, common control by the same person or entity.
  3. Ownership by a common group of owners where no owner has control or a majority interest can cause a problem if each individual owner does not own approximately the same amount of both the US and the foreign company.
  4. This issue can sometimes be worked around if the owners have set up a voting agreement to ensure that there are not different groups controlling the foreign firm and the US firm.
  5. Generally speaking, the Owner of the Foreign Company should own at least 51% of the U.S. Company.

Recent Adjudication Trends – Investment in U.S. Company

Based on recent responses to L-1 new office petitions filed, it seems that the USCIS is closely scrutinizing the source of investment in the U.S. office by the foreign entity. The USCIS is now routinely requesting evidence that the foreign company has actually wired or transferred its capital contribution to start the U.S. entity’s operations. The investment typically should be consistent with the capital contribution indicated on the business plan.

Find out more about investor visas.


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