What is an L-1 Visa?
An L1 visa is known as an “Intracompany Transferee” visa and enables foreign workers with executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge to temporarily transfer to the U.S. to continue employment with the same employer or one of its affiliates, branches, parent branches, or subsidiaries. Note that the L1 visa then allows the spouse and minor, unmarried children under the age of 21 to obtain an L2 visa. Many of L1 applicants eventually apply for a green card, filing for adjustment of status or obtaining an immigrant visa.
In order to quality, the employee must be employed on a full-time basis with the company. However, they do not have to be working in the U.S. on a full-time basis; rather, they must dedicate a significant portion of their time—on a regular and systematic basis—to the company while in the U.S. This means that they can divide work between the U.S. and another country, if need be.
The L-1A Process: Qualifications and Requirements
To obtain L-1A nonimmigrant classification for a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the U.S. (or to allow a foreign company to send an executive or manager to the U.S. with the purpose of establishing an affiliated U.S. office), the employer must fill out Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker and pay the fee on behalf of the employee.
In order for an employer to qualify, they must:
- Have a qualifying relationship with the foreign company (this can be the affiliate, branch, parent, or subsidiary, known as the “qualifying organizations”); and
- Currently be engaging—or plan to engage—in business as an employer in the U.S. and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the employee (L1 beneficiary)’s stay (note that this does not have to technically involve international trade), where “doing business” means more than just the mere presence of an agent or office in the U.S. and abroad; and instead involves the continuous, regular, and systematic provision of goods or services by a qualifying organization.
In order for the employee to qualify, he or she must:
- Be seeking to enter the U.S. to provide service in an executive or managerial capacity for a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations; and
- Have been working for a qualifying organization abroad for one continuous year within the three years preceding their admission to the U.S.
The L-1A vs. L-1B Visa
The L-1B is similar to the L-1A except that it is for transferees who have specialized knowledge in a particular field versus those who will be working as employees or executives. In order to qualify, the L-1B employee must have knowledge or expertise of the company’s products or services, and must be “special” to the organization such that his or her position cannot be filed by a U.S. citizen.
If you have questions regarding family based immigration, it is best to work with an experienced immigration attorney here in Los Angeles. Give our office a call at 800-597-0019.
Child Status Protection Act (CSPA)
The Child Status Protection Act is a law amending the Immigration Nationality Act to allow “alien” applicants to retain classification as “children” even if they have reached 21 years of age. Prior to the law’s enactment, anyone who reached the age of 21 prior to receiving permanent residence was no longer considered to be a “child” for immigration purposes, usually due to large backlogs and long processing times for visa petitions. Specifically, prior to the Act, if children “aged out” by turning 21 before their parents’ immigrant visas were issued, the child would then lose eligibility. By the Act protecting their classification as a “child,” it helps prevent people from “aging out” due to long processing times.
The Act thus protects “derivative beneficiary children” by allowing them to recoup the amount of time the immigrant visa petition was pending adjudication at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Note, however, that it does not protect children from aging out due to quota delays.
How it Works
Whether and to what extent a child is protected depends upon the date that they turned 21 and the number of days their IV petition has been pending. On the date that their IV petition is approved, the child is essentially considered to be the age that they were when it was filed.
However, in moving forward, this age is not “locked in,” thus, a child could still age out due to visa backlogs and quota delays as they wait for visa availability. This is because there are only a number of visas allocated in each category each year. The child must take the next step in the visa process prior to their 21stbirthday. Note that the child’s age also freezes through the petitioner’s naturalization if the child becomes an immediate relative.
In order to be eligible for age out protection under the Act, the following requirements must have been met:
- The child must have been the beneficiary of an approved or pending visa petition on or after August 2, 2002;
- The child cannot have had a final decision on an application for adjustment of status or an immigrant visa before the Act was enacted (August 6, 2002); and
- The child must seek to acquire (i.e. they must have filed a Form I-824, I-485, or DS-230) permanent residence within one year of a visa becoming available (or the first day or the first month the appropriate visa was listed as available in the Department of State’s visa bulletin or the date the visa petition was approved).
If you are concerned that your child has potentially aged out, know that you still have options. If you have questions regarding family based immigration in El Segundo, CA give us a call at 310-997-0197.
Sponsors/Affidavit Of Support
A sponsor is often required in family based immigrant petitions to show that a family member coming to live in the United States will not be dependent on public benefits. The sponsor must also be the petitioner who is applying on behalf of his or her family member(s).
Who May Become A Sponsor
You might me wondering who can be a sponsor in family based visa cases. So, let’s cover the basic requirements of sponsor eligibility. To qualify as a sponsor one must be either a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR). Second, he or she must be at least 18 years of age. Third, the sponsor must be domiciled in the United States. This usually means that a person lives and works in the United States. Finally, the sponsor must be financially able to support both his or her family and the immigrant(s) at an annual level equal to 125% of the poverty guideline amount. The government will accept tax returns and pay stubs as proof of annual income. In family based immigrant visa cases the sponsor must be the petitioner. It cannot be a corporation or organization. Sponsors who are also active-duty service members need only be at 100% of the poverty guideline.
There are times when the petitioner does not meet the income requirement. However, this does not always prevent him or her from applying for an immigrant visa on behalf of a family member. A joint sponsor can be used to overcome the income requirement hurdle.
What this means is another person is willing to accept the financial responsibility jointly with the petitioner. The joint sponsor is subject to the same requirements discussed above with one exception. He or she is not required to be a visa petitioner.
If you have questions regarding family based immigration give us a call at 800-597-0019.
USCIS InfoPass Service
How It Works
Infopass service is a convenient way to schedule an in-person appointment with USCIS regarding your immigration case. Appointments can be scheduled online. You can choose a day and time that works for you based on your schedule. Appointments are generally offered from around 8:00 am until 2:30 pm Monday through Friday. To schedule your appointment you’ll need to go on the government’s website provided here:
Some Do’s and Don’ts
InfoPass is a great way to get in touch with an immigration officer to get the latest information about your immigration case or to pick up immigration forms. Best of all, InfoPass appointments are free of charge. You are encouraged to arrive 15 minutes early for your appointment. If necessary, you’re allowed to bring a translator or an attorney with you. However, do not bring any sharp objects such as scissors, knives or nail clippers. If you do, you will not be allowed through security.
If you currently have a case pending with USCIS make sure to bring the latest correspondence from USCIS. This information should also include your receipt number. The receipt number will allow an immigration officer to look up your case in USCIS system. Also, have your Alien Number (A Number) ready as it might be requested by an immigration officer. You Infopass appointment may also be a good way to update your address to ensure that USCIS is sending all of its correspondence to the right mailing address.
In conclusion, InfoPass appointment is a great way to get the latest information about your case. It’s free and easy to schedule online.
On January 27th, 2017 Donald Trump signed an executive order (EO) banning travel to the United States for 90 days from seven countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya. This ban initially applied to current valid visa and green holders from the countries. According to New York Times, the new law affected over 67,000 business visitors and travelers, 14,000 students, 1000 temporary workers and over 700 fiances of US Citizens. In addition, the EO affected thousands of people holding immigrant visas and refugees. (Source: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/01/31/us/politics/trump-immigration-ban-groups.html?_r=0)
On January 29th, Trump administration clarifies that the law does not apply to green card holders from those countries. The statement was made due to mass confusion and protests at US airports.
Beginning January 30th, several courts in the United States order a stay on key provisions of the EO citing harm to residents, harm to economy and family separations.
On February 3rd, US District Judge James Robart temporarily suspends the EO. The suspension is applied nationwide, meaning that no federal employee anywhere in the United States can ban travelers under the new law.
On February 4th the Department of Justice (DOJ) files an appeal with the 9th Circuit Court Of Appeals. The court denies to issue the order reinstating the immigration travel ban despite DOJ’s assertion that the judicial branch of government is interfering with national security judgment of the President. Instead, the 9th Circuit Court orders both proponents and opponents of the EO to file legal briefs in support of their respective positions. The briefs are due today at 6:00 pm.
As of now the order suspending the EO is still in effect.
On February 9th, the 9th Circuit Court upheld the temporary restraining order on the traveling ban. The three-judge panel voted unanimously.