IPC clinic in Dorchester

By Kieran C. O’Sullivan, Immigration Counselor

L-1 Visa options

We had a good turnout at our recent clinic, and two people present were visiting the US but worked for US companies in Ireland. They were inquiring about transfer visa options.

L-1 visas are granted to applicants who are being transferred from their company abroad to a United States parent company, subsidiary, affiliate or branch. The visa is valid for an initial period of (3) three years, and can be extended for a further (2) two years. Managers can extend for an additional (2) two years, for a total of (7) seven years. For other L-1 non-immigrants, a sixth year extension is granted only in extraordinary circumstances. Immediate family members are allowed to enter the US on L-2 visas. Previously, spouses and children of L-1, E-1, and E-2 foreign nationals could live and attend school in the U.S. while the principal visa holder was working in the U.S. but they were not permitted to work in the U.S. In 2002, Congress instructed the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to provide spouses in these categories with an "employment authorized endorsement or other appropriate work permit."

In order to qualify for an L-1, the person must have worked with his or her company for one full year in full-time employment outside the US and this is particularly relevant in your sister’s case. This year must be continuous, and must have occurred within the past (3) three years. However, Congress amended this to allow immigrants seeking admission under the L visa where a blanket petition has been filed need only be working for the company abroad for a period of 6 months. A person should check with their employer to see if an L-1 blanket petition has been approved by USCIS.

The employee to be transferred must have been employed in an executive, managerial or a position involving specialized knowledge. They must be entering the US to fulfill one of these capacities and must have prior experience in that job. The employee can be employed in a permanent position with the US Company, but his/her transfer must be temporary in nature. However, it is possible that during their stay in the US, a petition for a green card can be filed on the employee’s behalf. Employees who have qualified as a manager or executive on their L-1 application fall into the EB-1 category, which means that no application for labor certification has to be made. These employees will be admitted to the USA on L1A status as opposed to others who may enter on L1B status. On L1A status, when going forward with an application for permanent residency, there is no need for the US employer to prove that the immigrant is not displacing an American worker.

For larger companies, there is available a new procedure known as Blanket L-1 Visas. This enables US companies that require frequent international transfers of personnel to avoid lengthy delays and paperwork. Instead of individual applications, the company gets general approval.

Fast track premium processing service

The USCIS will provide 15-calendar day processing to those who choose to use this service or the USCIS will refund the Premium Processing fee and the relating case will continue to receive expeditious service.

Attorney Chris Lavery who along with Dan Harrington provides probono assistance at our clinic said “The fees are subject to change at any time, but the fee for this service at the moment is $1,250.”

October legal clinic

Dan Harrington and Chris Lavery are immigration attorneys in Boston. Immigrants can have free one to one consultations with them at our legal clinics. Our next legal clinic at the Banshee, 934 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester, will be on Oct. 2nd. It begins at 630 pm.

Email me your immigration query or a topic you would like us to cover today: Kieran@ipcboston.org

 Disclaimer: Please note that the information contained in it is provided to inform generally, and is not intended as a substitute for individual advice. Immigration law is subject to frequent changes and individual circumstances can affect the application of certain legal provisions. For individual legal advice, please contact the Irish Pastoral Centre directly regarding upcoming legal clinics or consultation with an immigration attorney.