L-1A filings allow a foreign employer to transfer a manager/executive to their US office provided there is a qualifying relationship between the two entities (parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch).
This can be an existing office, provided there are 3-5 employees to manage, or it can be a new office. For a new office filing, the employer will have to demonstrate that they have sufficient physical premises to house the employees that they intend to hire and that by the end of the first year the office can support a manager.
New office filings allow a manager/executive to come to the US to set up the US operations and hire 3-5 employees. For a new Office filing, the beneficiary will receive L-1A status for 1 year only. Regular L-1A filings receive approval for 3 years.
While 3-5 employees are not a specific requirement for L-1A eligibility, a manager/executive needs to demonstrate that they will spend the majority of their time managing/supervising employees. Any less than 3 employees and this requirement would be difficult to meet. However, it is possible to argue that the beneficiary will continue to manage employees abroad, once he/she arrives in the U.S.
Most of the Requests for Further Evidence (RFE) focus on whether the beneficiary will manage/supervise professional employees. Professional employees are generally individuals who work in a position that requires a Bachelor’s degree and who also possess a degree.
Although the definition of professional doesn’t require an individual to have a specific degree, USCIS typically requires Employers to demonstrate this. Therefore, when you have a manager who is supervising mostly sales staff, (even ones with degrees), obtaining approval can be difficult, unless the employee works in technical sales and has a relevant technical degree.
Employers will need to demonstrate that the beneficiary has worked in a managerial/ executive capacity for at least one year for the foreign entity. The following list of documents can be helpful:
- Detailed Letter from Foreign Company explaining beneficiary’s managerial/executive role at the foreign company and confirming employment for at least 1 year. This letter should explain the beneficiary’s job duties including % of time spent on each duty and include a chart listing the employees that the Beneficiary supervises, including details of their degrees.
- Detailed job description for all employees managed/supervised by the beneficiary at a foreign company;
- Resumes and copies of education for employees managed/supervised by the beneficiary at a foreign company;
- Copies of recent paystubs for employees managed/supervised by the beneficiary at a foreign company;
- Copies of performance reviews and timesheets for employees managed/supervised by the beneficiary (These should be completed by the Beneficiary); and
- Notarized affidavit’s from employees managed/ supervised by the beneficiary explaining how the Beneficiary supervises and manages them. This should include the length of employment, details of their education/experience and how they are assigned tasks on a daily basis. It should also explain how their degree is related to their role.
- Copies of offer letters signed by the beneficiary;
- Evidence that Beneficiary has interviewed and hired candidates. Please prepare a chart as per the attached template and provide copies of interview notes etc.
- Termination letters signed by the beneficiary;
- Evidence that Beneficiary holds regular meetings with his/her team and minutes of those meetings;
- Copies of e-mails in which Beneficiary has acted in his managerial/executive capacity;
- Copies of policies formulated by the beneficiary; and
- Evidence of executive decisions taken by the beneficiary.
Additionally, the employer will have to demonstrate that the beneficiary will be employed as a manager/executive once he/she arrives in the U.S. The following list of documents can assist:
- Detailed Letter from U.S. Company explaining beneficiary’s proposed managerial/executive role. The letter should explain the beneficiary’s proposed job duties including % of the time that will be spent on each duty. This letter should also include a chart listing the employees that the Beneficiary will supervise, including details of their degrees.
- If filing for a new office it will be necessary to include a detailed business plan which lays out the hiring requirements.
- Detailed job descriptions for all employees who will be managed/supervised by beneficiaries at the foreign entity and U.S. company. For future positions, you will still need to provide detailed job descriptions for the proposed roles. This should include the minimum education and experience requirements;
- Resumes and copies of education for employees who will be managed/supervised by the beneficiary at a U.S. company (if applicable); and
- Copies of recent paystubs for employees who will be managed/supervised by beneficiaries at a U.S. company (if applicable).
Please note that the above lists are not exhaustive.
If you do not manage professionals, it is possible to demonstrate that you will work as a functional manager. However, to do this, you would have to show that you manage a specific department, which is essential to the functioning of the business. Unfortunately, even when you apply as a functional manager, USCIS will still issue an RFE asking if you manage/supervise professionals.
Obtaining L-1A approval is not an easy task and is one that requires the assistance of an experienced Immigration Attorney. If you are interested in transferring a manager/executive from abroad, please reach out to PLG Partner and Immigration Attorney Chris Prescott at email@example.com.