The L-1 Visa route to the United States has reopened after President Trump’s temporary ban came to an end last night. President Biden chose not to renew the ban, which Trump had introduced as part of Covid restrictions last summer.
L-1A Visa allows international managers and executives to move to the American office of their company for up to seven (7) years. The L-1B Visa allows an employee with specialized knowledge to relocate for up to five (5) years. Spouses of L-1 visa holders can apply for a work permit.
Trump temporarily banned the L-1 Visa together with the H-1B visa on the grounds that he wished to protect American jobs amid the economic uncertainty of the Coronavirus pandemic. He extended the ban until March 31 shortly before leaving office. Biden opted to let the ban elapse naturally rather than explicitly rescind it.
Applicants still have to contend with a reduced number of consular appointments worldwide as well as travel bans affecting people from Europe, the UK, Ireland, and elsewhere. Davies & Associates has successfully made the case for L-1 (and E-2) Visa clients to be granted a National Interest Exception to be allowed to travel to the United States from countries subject to a travel ban. We even managed to secure some L-1 approvals despite the ban.
Many of our clients took the opportunity of the last few months to prepare their applications for when the L-1 route reopened. The release of this pent up demand, coupled with the reduction to consular operations, mean that new applicants could face a backlog and ongoing disruption until things are ironed out.
New Office L-1 Visas
The L-1 Visa is an intracompany transfer visa. It is regularly used by large multinationals to move staff from an overseas office to one of their US offices. It can also be used to support the growth of a new US operation. New-Office L-1 Visas allow entrepreneurs and business owners to send qualifying senior-level employees to the United States to set-up the new business.
Benefits of L-1 Visa
There are many benefits to the L-1 Visa, notably the fact that an accompanying spouse could apply for a US work permit. There are also no annual quotas based upon country of origin, which means there are no wait lists based upon supply and demand. The L-1 Visa is a temporary work visa, but applicants could subsequently decide to transition to a Green Card. The usual route from the L-1 visa to a Green Card is through the EB-1(c) visa. The EB-1(c) visa offers permanent residency for international managers and executives.
L-1 Visa for Indians
Indians are one of the largest recipient groups for the L-1 Visa with over 40,000 issued the year before the pandemic. Indians are not directly eligible for the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, so L-1 is viewed as a popular alternative for Indian business owners and entrepreneurs. However, a small but growing number of Indians are first obtaining Grenadian citizenship in the West Indies and then obtaining an E-2 Visa by virtue of their Grenadian citizenship.
Other countries with large number of applications are L-1 Visa from Mexico, L-1 Visa from Japan, L-1 Visa from the United Kingdom, L-1 Visa from China, and L-1 Visas from Brazil. All have around 10,000 L-1 Visa issuances per year.
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