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If you need help, please feel free to contact us either by filling the form on the contact page or calling us.

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Mon – Fri 09:00-18:00

L-1 Visa Benefits for Foreign Workers

The L-1 visa is broken down into two subcategories: the L-1A for managers and executives, and the L-1B for employees with specialized knowledge. Each has its own requirements and duration of stay. See the section below comparing the difference between L-1A and L-1B.

When comparing these L-1 visas with many of the other work visa classifications, you will find that, depending on your immigration situation, it has many benefits that the others do not.

Relatively Low Requirements

There are many work visas available to foreign professionals who wish to be employed in the U.S. Many of them have very steep requirements that are difficult to fulfill.

For example, the O-1 visa requires applicants to show their extraordinary ability through international awards or a substantial salary. The TN visa is only available to Canadians and Mexicans. The E-2 visa requires a substantial investment in a U.S. enterprise.

The L-1 visa, however, only requires you to be a manager, executive, or specialized employee in a multinational company in order to be qualified. This opens up the door for many people that are otherwise ineligible for other work visas.

No Job Offer Required

One of the most difficult aspects of acquiring an H-1BJ-1, or TN visa is finding an entity that is willing to sponsor you for the visa. If you are a qualified L-1 applicant, then you are already employed with a U.S. company that will sponsor you.

No Annual Limits

Typically, the L-1 visa is compared to the H-1B on account of their similarities. However, they differ largely here as there is a strict annual cap on how many H-1B petitions are approved. Each year, a small number of petitions are randomly selected from the pool of submitted petitions, making it very difficult to obtain an H-1B if you are subject to this lottery.

On the other hand, there are no limits to how many L-1 visas are approved each year. This means that your petition will not be rejected due to the fact that there are no more available visas.

Period of Stay/ L-1B Visa Duration

For the L-1A visa, holders will be granted an initial three years of stay in the U.S. They can then extend their stay to a maximum of seven years, this surpasses the H-1B’s maximum of six years and the J-1’s maximum of five years.

However, the L-1B visa can only be extended to a maximum of five years, making its period of stay a disadvantage when compared to other work visas.

Educational Requirements

One of the greatest L-1 visa benefits is the fact that you do not need a degree to qualify. This is a large advantage over the H-1B, though there are some other visas that do not necessarily require an education. These include the O-1, E-2, TN, and J-1 visa classifications.

Spouses and Dependents Can Work

If you are in the U.S. on L-1 status, you will be able to bring your spouse and children along with you through the L2 visa and the validity period will be the same as that of the L-1 visa holder. Also, if they qualify for Employment Authorization Documents, they will be able to work in the U.S. as well. This is a great L-1 benefit because it allows your spouse and dependents to make supplementary income to help support the family if necessary. Parents of L1 visa holders are not eligible for the L2 visa, unfortunately.

Check out this guide on the L-2 Visa Process for Dependents. 

Dual Intent

Like several other nonimmigrant visas, the L-1 is considered by the USCIS to be “dual intent”, meaning that L-1 holders are able to pursue lawful permanent resident status during their stay. This is in contrast to work visas such as the J-1 and TN visa classifications through which pursuing a green card would violate your status and possibly incur consequences with the USCIS.

Here’s a recap of what you can apply for as an L visa holder while physically in the U.S.:

  • Labor Certification Application
  • Immigrant visa application
  • Adjustment of status application
  • Application for H-1B visa or L visa extension

It really is a tremendous benefit to be able to apply for permanent residency (while in the U.S. on L1) without facing negative repercussions. Moreover, one advantage over the H-1B is that employers don’t need to prove that the wage meets the prevailing wage of similar domestic workers.

L1 visa benefits 2023

How the L-1 Visa Benefits Employers

Applicants are not the only ones who can take advantage of the L-1 visa benefits. Employers have much to gain from choosing to use this visa over others.

Blanket Petition

The first and perhaps the greatest L-1 benefit that employers can enjoy is the fact that the L-1 has a blanket visa option for companies that have combined U.S. revenue of at least $25 million or have a minimum of 1,000 employees working in the U.S.

An L-1 blanket petition allows employers to file a single petition for multiple employees, meaning that you will not be required to file and pay for a petition for each employee. For large companies that need to get many employees over to the U.S. with short notice, the blanket petition is an invaluable advantage.

New Offices

Another equally important L-1 benefit is the fact that, if a multinational employer does not currently have an office or branch in the U.S., an L-1 holder can be sent in order to establish a new one.

While there are different limitations attached to this process, it is extremely advantageous to be able to establish a new office in the U.S. Employer will be able to send L-1 holders to the new office once it has been established.

Labor Condition Application Requirement

Even though it is not a necessarily arduous or expensive process, obtaining a Labor Condition Application (LCA) for each H-1B or E3 employee can add up in both time and money. Fortunately, the L-1 does not require that you obtain this certification when petitioning for an employee transfer.

Wondering what your L1 status is? Give us a call to schedule a consultation! 

L-1B vs L-1A – Visa Requirements

The L-1A visa is designed for intracompany transferees who work in managerial or executive positions (company outside the U.S.) while the L-1B is for intracompany transferees who work in positions requiring specialized knowledge.

L-1A Visa Requirements

In order to meet the L-1A requirements you must:

  • Have been working for a qualifying company overseas for one continuous year within the past three years immediately before your admission to the U.S.
  • Have an interest in coming to the U.S. to provide your skills in a managerial or executive capacity for a branch of the same employer or a qualifying organization

L-1B Visa Requirements

In order to qualify for an L-1b classification you must:

  • Have been working for a qualifying organization overseas for one continuous year within the past three years immediately before your admission to the U.S.
  • Have an interest in entering the U.S. to provide services in a specialized knowledge capacity to a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations

Have questions about the L-1B or L-1A visa requirements? Have your case handled by experienced immigration professionals!

What defines specialized knowledge?

“Specialized knowledge either means knowledge you have about the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures. (See 8 CFR 214.2(l)(1)(ii)(D).)” 

L-1 Visa Restrictions and Disadvantages

Unfortunately, all of these L-1 benefits do not come without some drawbacks. Even though the L-1 can be relatively easy to obtain, those same advantages can be considered disadvantages if you are not already employed.

Must Already Be Employed

While this was counted as an advantage earlier, it could easily be a disadvantage depending on your situation. If you are not currently employed with a multinational company that is large enough to have or plant an office in the U.S., then this could be a very difficult hurdle to surpass. This is especially true since you must work at that company for one full year in the three years that precede your entry into the U.S.

E2 VISA

People describe the E-2 visa as the next best thing to citizenship, since unlimited extensions are possible. A person with an E-2 visa can live in America for the rest of their life.

The holder of an E-2 visa can stay in the United States as long as they run the company listed on their application. Unlike most visas, the E-2 visa has no true expiration date. The holder doesn’t have to keep a home in a foreign country, either.

The first visa lasts for up to five years, but the recipient can ask for extensions over and over again. During first entry into America, the investor is given a period of stay of two years. They can ask for an extension when they need one.

The length of the original visa depends on America’s agreement with the investor’s country of origin. A new company will have a shorter duration for its visas. The government wants to study whether a business is trying to succeed. Some people start fake businesses to buy their way into America. The shorter visa protects the government against such attempts.

The other benefit is that family members are eligible for E-2 visas as well. A spouse and any children considered minors can get one. Only the spouse can ask for a renewal, though. Most states consider someone under the age of 21 as a minor.

An investor can hire co-workers from their country of origin to work in the United States. These employees must meet the same criteria for an E-2 visa.

The E-2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa. It is temporary. For this reason, it’s different from a green card through investment. Green card status is permanent. It also requires an investment of at least $500,000. An E-2 visa has no official requirement.

What’s the Risk in Applying for an E-2 Visa?

The applicant must prove they already have a financial stake in a company. They can’t apply until they’ve already invested money into the company. Should the federal government reject the E-2 visa application, the investor cannot enter the United States. They don’t lose their investment money, but they can’t use it as a reason to live in America.

The political climate is also a potential risk. The United States government generally protects E-2 visas to make sure United States citizens in other countries don’t face similar issues. Still, a change in government leadership could cause ripple effects on E-2 visa acceptance rates.

Legal analysts believe that even under the Trump administration, the E-2 visa is safer than an H-1B or a TN visa. While there is a risk, the E-2 is the safest bet right now.

What Are the Rules for Acquiring an E-2 Visa?

To qualify, the business owner must live in a treaty country. The United States has trade agreements with more than 70 countries. Anyone from these foreign states can buy an ownership stake in an American business. They can either invest in an existing company or start a new one.

The investor must own controlling interest, but they can have partners. 

The federal government does require the person to make a significant investment in the business. While the amount varies, a person can earn an E-2 visa with only $15,000 worth of ownership interest.

Usually, though, it is difficult to get an E-2 visa without an investment of more than $100,000 or $150,000. Visas can be awarded for all kinds of businesses, and each of these businesses could require a different level of investment.

The government considers the investment amount as the capital required for a new business to become operational.

Some companies will require more purchases to become operational than others. Simply owning undeveloped land and business equipment isn’t enough to qualify.

The business must demonstrate operating ability. Also, the applicant should own or lease commercial property where they can operate the business.

The applicant must make all required investments prior to submitting the visa form. Adding funds in a business bank account isn’t enough to prove commitment in the operation of the business.

The foreign investor has only one choice for a job under the E-2 visa. The holder is only eligible to work for the company that sponsors their application.

The most important rule is that the investor must have a hand in running the company. In most cases, the applicant must show that they’ll direct the business. Otherwise, the government will question the need for the person to live in the United States.

What Are the Financing Rules for an E-2 Visa?

An investor doesn’t have to pay for the entire purchase at once. They have the right to finance some of the cost. A consular officer will decide the amount. Generally, financing 25 to 30 percent of the purchase price is OK.

The percentage amount a buyer can finance increases with the cost of the business. Someone buying $1 million worth of a company can finance a larger percentage than someone buying $100,000.

How Old Is the E-2 Visa?

This type of visa is one of the oldest in America. Its roots go all the way back to a treaty signed at the end of the War of 1812. The details have changed over the years, but the premise remains the same.

The American government wants to encourage commerce. One of the best ways to do this is by offering strong incentives to foreign investors. The E-2 visa lets someone come to the United States and run a business.

What Are the Requirements for an E-2 Visa?

The applicant for an E-2 visa must meet the following criteria:

  • Live in a country that has a trade agreement with the United States
  • Plan to live in America while working for a company where the applicant has a 50 percent ownership interest
  • Have a title that indicates ownership or executive-level employment in the company
  • Have a substantial financial stake in the American business
  • The company must have legal standing in its state of operation
  • Promise to leave the country once they’ve finished with their business

A couple of exceptions are available to applicants. People who can’t afford to buy 50 percent of a company can still apply. They need to invest in a business that their international countrymen own. The 50 percent stake still applies. The government allows others from the applicant’s country to have controlling interest.

The definition of substantial financial stake varies. Most government officials consider the amount in simple terms. The investor must have assets or money at risk in the business. The applicant also needs to prove they’re trying to make a profit.

An E-2 holder also has the right to hire employees from their country. These workers must prove they are executives, supervisors, or have highly specialized skills that make them necessary for the job. Regular skilled and unskilled workers are not eligible. 

An L-1 visa is an option for workers who cannot qualify for an E-2.

What Types of Transactions Qualify as a Significant Investment?

The government expects the applicant to prove their stake is significant. Acceptable transactions are:

  • Business bank account with large balance
  • Proof of income
  • Business loan secured by applicant’s assets
  • Unsecured business loan with investor’s signature
  • Business purchases such as office space and equipment that show assets at risk in the investment

Applicants can try to use the following transactions as proof:

  • Personal bank account with large balance
  • Loans that have earlier claims, such as mortgage debt
  • Loans that aren’t secured

Government officials generally reject applications with these forms of proof. The investor isn’t doing enough to show significant risk with such transactions.

What Are the Differences in the E-1, E-2, and E-3 Visas?

The E-1 visa is for residents of countries that have substantial trade with the United States. The amount of trade has to justify employment for a large number of people in the United States. Also, it should represent the majority of trade interests.

The E-2 visa is for investors who buy at least 50 percent ownership of a United States company. 

The E-3 visa is exclusively for Australians. Residents of this country must come to the United States to hold a job in a specialty occupation. To prove qualified, the applicant must hold the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in the field of the specialty occupation.

P VISA

The P visa is divided into several classifications: P-1, P-2, P-3 and P-4.

A P visa holder may travel in and out of the United States or remain continuously in the country for the allotted time. 

The time it takes for a P visa to be issued is usually significantly quicker.

The holder of this visa can legally work in the US for their sponsor. However, if the individuals wish to change jobs, they need to obtain another visa.

Allows spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of the visa holder to accompany them. 

The length of stay in the United States is long. In addition, athletes can be admitted for a period of up to 5 years with an extension of another 5 years.

Did you like your stay in the US? It is possible that you may be able to become a lawful permanent resident. Check our article on how to get a Green Card to assess your chances of becoming a resident. 

Types Of P Visa In The United States

The P visa has several classifications:

P-1A ​​for athletes. The P-1A classification applies to foreign national athletes who wish to travel to the US temporarily to participate in athletic competition.

P-1B for members of an artistic group. Applies to individuals who wish to travel to the US temporarily to perform as part of an established artistic group for a minimum of one year and have been recognized internationally. 

P-2 for artists or members of an artistic group. It applies to individual or group artists or entertainers who will temporarily travel to the US to perform under a reciprocal exchange program.

P-3 for artists or presenters under a cultural program. Applies to performers or artists who wish to temporarily travel to the US to perform, train, or teach as performers or artists under a unique cultural program.

P-4 for dependents. This classification is for the spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of P-1, P-2, and P-3 visa holders. P-4 visa holders will not be able to work in the country.

Highly qualified essential support personnel who are part of the success of the P-1, P-2 or P-3 visa holder’s filing (individual or as part of a team) may also qualify for a P visa.

How Is The Type P Visa Applied For?

In order to apply for the P visa, the visa beneficiary must have a US sponsor or employer. That sponsor must file the petition on their behalf with USCIS using Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. 

After USCIS approves the Form I-129, the alien will be able to file their P visa application at a US embassy or consulate. 

Are you traveling to the US soon and don’t know the requirements to legally enter the United States? We invite you to read them in our respective blog.

What Are The Requirements Of The Type P Visa?

The P visa requirements are divided among its multiple categories. Here we detail it in depth:

united states p visa for artists

P-1A ​​Visa

The applicant’s purpose is to compete in a specific and temporary sports competition. To do this, the applicant must be an athlete who meets the following criteria:

Is A Professional

If the alien is traveling to the US to be employed as an athlete, they must be from:

A team that belongs to an association of 6 or more professional sports teams and whose total combined revenue exceeds $10 million per year.

Any minor league team that is affiliated with the association.

Will Compete In An Individual Event

The athlete must have a level of performance with international recognition. For it:

You must have a high level of success or achievement in a sport.

They have evidence of their high level of skill and recognition substantially above the usual.

Their achievements are recognized in more than one country.

Be Part Of An Internationally Recognized Team

The athlete belongs to a team that, as a unit, has achieved significant international recognition.

Work As A Coach

The athlete is part of a team or franchise that is located in the US and is a member of a foreign league or association. The league must meet the following requirements:

It consists of 15 or more amateur sports teams.

Must be at the highest level of amateur performance for that sport in a foreign country.

A significant number of league or association players are recruited by a major sports league or minor league affiliate.

Skate On The Ice

Ice skaters can qualify in this category. They can be professional or amateur athletes who will perform individually or as part of a group. 

p visa ice skaters

P-1B Visa

At least 75% of the members of the artistic group must have had a substantial and continuous relationship with the group for at least one year.

The artistic group is internationally recognized and has reached a high level of achievement in the area. Such achievements are evidenced by substantial above-average recognition.

You have a written inquiry from a labor organization.

It has an itinerary with the dates and places of the presentations.

You have a copy of the contract between the petitioner and the beneficiaries or a summary of the terms of said contract.

Evidence that the group has performed continuously for at least one year.

You have a written statement from the petitioner listing all the members of the group and their respective dates on which they were hired.

Evidence that the group is internationally recognized for a substantial and continuous time. 

All this can be verified with 3 evidences of different criteria. Contact our firm for further information.

P-2 Visa

Evidence that a United States labor organization participated in the negotiation or agreed to the reciprocal exchange of the foreign artists and presenters.

Evidence that the foreign and American artist or entertainer were subject to a reciprocal exchange agreement with comparable skills and similar terms and conditions of employment.

Written consultation by an appropriate labor organization.

Copy of the formal reciprocal exchange agreement between the sponsoring US organization and the organization in the foreign country that will receive the US artists or entertainers.

Statement from the sponsoring organization describing the reciprocal exchange of American artists or entertainers and how it relates to the petition for the classification being sought.

If the events or performances are held in different locations, for the P-2 visa, an itinerary must also be submitted.

P-3 Visa

To be eligible for this classification, the P-3 visa applicant must perform, coach, teach, or represent an ethnic, theatrical, cultural, musical, or artistic performance or event that may be unique or traditional. In addition, the applicant must provide:

Documents that demonstrate the functions or presentations of the event.

Written consultation of the appropriate labor organization.

Copy of any contract between the petitioner and the beneficiary or a summary of the terms established in an oral agreement.

Explanation about the activities, copy of the itinerary, validity dates, events and termination of events.

Affidavits, expert letters or testimonials certifying the authenticity of the applicant’s or group’s skills to present, train or teach traditional and/or unique arts. 

What Documents Must I Submit To Apply For The P Visa?

The documents to submit for this visa vary depending on your classification. Such documents are:

Employers Or Sponsors

Inquire in writing about the appropriate labor organization. Such inquiry must describe the work or services to be performed in the US and your qualifications for such employment. 

If there is no labor organization, this requirement is waived.

Copy of the written contract or verbal summary of the terms of employment.

Explanation of the events or activities, start dates, end dates of events or activities and a copy of the itinerary for such activities.

Any additional documents that are required for the P-1A category.

Internationally Recognized Individuals Or Teams

They must submit a copy of a contract provided by a major sports league or team in the US or in an individual sport with international recognition in the sport. 

In addition, at least two pieces of evidence based on specific criteria must be included. Contact our firm for more information in this regard.

Professional Athletes

Evidence establishing that the athlete will work for a team in the US that is a member of an association of 6 or more professional sports teams. 

Evidence that the total combined revenue of the association’s teams exceeds $10 million per year.

Evidence that the association governs the conduct of its members and regulates its contests and exhibitions. 

For Minor League

If working for a minor league team affiliated with the association in good standing, the applicant must include:

Contracts or agreements.

Marketing and promotional material from the league or association identifying the affiliation of the minor league team.

Statements from association or league officials detailing and confirming team affiliation.

Articles or reviews by sports media outlets showing that the team is affiliated with a qualifying league or association.

Amateur Athletes Or Coaches

The employer or sponsor must submit evidence that the alien wishes to travel to the US to perform as an athlete or coach as part of a US team or franchise. The following evidence is required:

Established sports media articles and reports demonstrating the level of performance of the league or association.

Contracts, bylaws, copies of rules and any other documents from the league office that demonstrate the level of performance of the teams.

p visa for athletes

Theatrical Ice Skaters

Ice skaters must submit evidence that they will perform individually or as part of a group in a theatrical ice skating production. This includes:

Reviews, magazines, descriptions, newspapers, and other established sports or entertainment media.

Evidence of previous achievements and awards.

Itinerary or schedule of the performances.

How Long Can I Stay With The P Visa In The United States?

Individual athletes with a P-1A visa may remain in the United States for as long as necessary to complete their event or competition. However, it should not exceed 5 years. Athletic groups with a P-1A visa cannot exceed one year.

Members of entertainment groups on P-1B visas, artists or members of an artistic group on P-2 visas, and P-3 visa holders have an initial period in the US of up to one year.

how long can we stay in usa with tourist visa

Staying in the United States longer than is permitted can lead to serious immigration consequences. Such consequences are deepened in our article on “How long can we stay in the US on a tourist visa“. 

Can I Extend The P Visa?

P-1, P-2, and P-3 visa holders can extend their time in the United States. This extension is as follows:

P-1A ​​holders: Individual athletes can extend their stay up to 5 years with a maximum of 10 years in total. Support staff for P-1A holders can also extend their stay for this same time.

Athletic groups and their support staff are only limited to increments of up to one year.

P-1B, P-2 and P-3 holders: Only limited to increments of up to one year to continue the event or activity.

To extend the stay, a Form I-539 , Application to Extend or Change Nonimmigrant Status, must be filed with USCIS.

Can You Change Employers With A P Visa?

Applicants may change employers. However, they will only be able to do so after the new employer has filed a new Form I-129 with USCIS. They will not be able to start their new employment with the new employer without the I-129 being approved.

How Much Does It Cost To Apply For The P Visa?

The cost of filing Form I-129 with USCIS is $460 for each petition. Additionally, the P visa application fee is $190. Other additional charges may apply depending on the relationship of the national foreigner’s country of origin and the US.

How Long Does It Take To Process The P Visa?

After submitting the P visa application, the waiting time can take between 3 to 6 months. However, it is possible to file Form I-907, an application for premium processing to reduce the time of delivery of the visa. This form has a cost of $2,500.

Talk With An Experienced Immigration Attorney For Your P Visa Application

If you wish to travel to the US on a P visa (regardless of your classification), or if your organization needs to bring national foreign artists or athletes to the US, our firm will be able to help you.

Curbelo Law’s team of professionals has helped hundreds of national foreigners obtain this visa. Our attorney Carolina T. Curbelo has more than 10 years of experience in all types of immigration cases.

Call us today to let us know about your case so we can start examining your chances of entering the US legally.

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