The L1A visa is one of the most desirable work authorization categories under U.S. immigration law. One of the main reasons is the seamless transition from a L1A visa to U.S. permanent resident status (green card). For companies of all sizes, this is a great way to bring executive/managerial employees to the U.S. to work on a permanent basis. The L1A can be used for the initial transfer, and if the need becomes permanent, a petition can be filed to adjust from an L1A visa to a green card. The L1A to green card process is often used by foreign companies expanding operations into the U.S. to secure permanent status for founders and owners. Adjusting to permanent resident status eliminates the need for costly L1A visa renewals and gives permanent work status in the U.S. for managers, executives, and owners.
In order to qualify for permanent residence status through the L1A visa the following criteria must be met:
- The foreign worker during the 3 years prior to the filing of the petition, must have been employed in a managerial or executive capacity for at least 1 year;
- The employment must be with a firm or corporation or other legal entity; and
- The employee must enter the United States to continue to render services to the same employer, or to a subsidiary or affiliate, in a capacity that is managerial or executive.
A the petition for a foreign worker to obtain permanent residence as an employee in a managerial or executive capacity is done by filing Form I-140 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Currently expedited processing is not available for Form I-140 petitions for managers and executives. Processing is subject to current USCIS processing times and has traditionally varied from 2 to 6 months. As with all applications for immigration benefits, it is important to file the proper Forms along with the required supporting evidence to facilitate smooth processing. We recommend consulting with a licensed U.S. Immigration Attorney prior to filing Form I-140 with USCIS.