New Office Visa (L-1)
The new office L-1 petition process enables a foreign employer to transfer one of its foreign executive or managerial employees to an executive or managerial position at a U.S. parent, branch, affiliate or subsidiary within the first year of the U.S. entity’s start of business. If awarded, the new office L-1A status allows the transferred employee to remain in the United States for an initial period of one year.
After the first year, the employee may renew his/her L-1A status for three two-year periods. In practice, this allows a maximum stay in the United States of seven years in L-1A status (one year initial status plus three two-year status renewals).
Once in the United States, the employee in L-1A status may work in the United States only for the petitioning company. The principal employee's spouse is awarded an employment authorization document and is not limited as to employers.
How does a company qualify for an L-1 "New Office" Visa?
The employer abroad and in the U.S. must meet certain conditions in order to be eligible to apply for a new office L-1A petition. As a general matter, these conditions are as follows:
The U.S. company must be a “new office” which has been doing business for less than one year – “doing business” is defined as providing regular, systematic, and continuous goods or services.