Utilizing the L-1A Visa as Investment Visa
Sheetal A. Patel of Pasricha & Patel, LLC explains the Benefits of Utilizing the L-1A Visa as an Investment Visa in her new article published in the New India Abroad.
An L-1A visa is an intercompany transfer visa typically utilized for individuals employed with an employer abroad, in a managerial or executive capacity for a period of at least one (1) year out of the last three (3). For L-1A eligibility, there must also be the existence of a U.S. based qualifying affiliate, subsidiary, or branch office which is seeking to transfer the employee from the company abroad to their company in the United States in a managerial or executive capacity.
Interestingly, the L-1A visa may also be utilized as an investment visa for entrepreneurs and business owners of an active company abroad who are seeking to invest in and develop business operations for a qualifying new or existing business in United States. The prospect for investors and business owners to file a L-1A visa through this category provides a unique opportunity to immigrate to the United States without many of the restrictions that other visas require.
For example, USCIS does not specify a minimum amount of investment required for the U.S. entity. Instead, the investor through its company abroad, will need to demonstrate that sufficient funds are in place by the qualifying U.S. company to cover start-up expenses, including rent and salaries of employees (including prospective employees). Additionally, while employees do need to be hired to establish that the L-1A investor will be focusing exclusively on high level managerial or executive duties, there is not any specific number of employees that is required by USCIS. These are some flexible aspects of the visa.
Additional benefits include the fact that spouses of L-1A holders are currently employment authorized incident to status and may commence employment upon entry to the United States in L-2 dependent status. The L-1A visa is increasingly becoming an optimal visa for business owners abroad to settle down in the United States with their families. The L-1A category offers the ability to apply for an immigrant visa petition in the EB-1 category after the U.S. employer is actively engaging in business activities for a period of one year. This path will lead to eligibility to adjust status to obtain lawful permanent residency (green card). Since the EB-1 Category is the first preference immigrant visa category, it typically moves faster than other categories. As a result, it has the potential to protect children of investors who are close to aging out. Collectively, these factors allow for L-1A visa to be favorable visa category for employees, investors/business owners and their families.
The author is a Member and Managing Partner of the Immigration Practice Group with Pasricha & Patel, LLC in Edison, New Jersey. She has extensive experience in employment-based immigration including H-1B, L, and E visas. She also holds significant experience with investment visas, entertainment visas, provisional waiver cases and family-based immigration.