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L-1A visa gives foreign executives the right to work in U.S.

The modern business world has blurred national boundaries as perhaps never before. Large corporations have operations in multiple countries, including the United States. Still, when one of these companies wants to transfer an executive from overseas to a job in the U.S., immigration law comes into play.

Different legal nonimmigrant statuses apply to different types of jobs. For corporate executives and managers, the most appropriate status to seek is probably the L-1A visa.

As the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ website explains, L-1A status is for executives and managers who are transferring from an employer’s foreign office to an office in the United States. To qualify, the U.S. employer must have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company; that is, it must be a branch, affiliate, subsidiary, or the like, with the foreign firm. It must also be doing business in the U.S. and at least one other country while the employee is in this country.

USCIS defines “doing business” as a regular, systematic and continuous provision or goods and/or services.

In addition, the employee must generally have been working for his or her employer in another country for one continuous year in the past three years. The employee must also be coming to the U.S. to work as an executive or manager for the same employer or one of the employer’s qualifying organizations. In other words, he or she must have the authority to make “decisions of wide latitude” regarding the company’s local operations, or supervise and control the work of employees.

Workers approved for L-1A status may bring their spouse and any unmarried children under age 21 under L-2 classification.

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