How To Open a Company Subsidiary In The US and Obtain a Green Card?
It’s no surprise that the American Dream has been a powerful driver of business ownership for many people worldwide. The US is open to foreign-born or non-U.S citizens, own a business abroad and would like to expand their business.
Opening a subsidiary company in the US takes some research of the US market in the area where the business is going to be established. Building a business from the ground up entails many legalities, including deciding on the type of corporation that best suits the type of business. Each state of the US has different requirements to form a corporation. Individual counties also have permitting process deepening on the type of business, whether it sells products or provides services.
The L visas are for people who want to work in the US and reside there temporarily but may wish to apply for permanent residency in the future. This type of visa is considered dual intent, which means that it starts as a nonimmigrant visa but can lead to a green card.
The L1 visa allows companies abroad to transfer an executive or a manager or an essential employee to work in the subsidiary in the US
The USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) has eligibility criteria for the employee to be transferred to the US. The employee must have worked abroad for at least one year out of the last three years.
The are many benefits to this visa. One of the benefits of the L1 visa is that there is no quota or limitation in the visa number issued per year. Other visa categories, such as the H1B visa category, have a quota per year, and only a limited amount can be given every year by law. For example, Indians and Chinese nationals can come to the US under the L1 visa category and cannot come under the E1 and E2 visa. The E1 and E2 visa is limited only to certain nationalities with treaties with the US.
Another benefit is that the L1 visa does not require a Labor Certification, and the application process is fast since premium processing is available for this visa. The premium processing charge is $2,500, but USCIS will respond in 30 days with a decision.
L-1A visas are available to intracompany employees transferred within the same company abroad to the subsidiary or affiliate in the US. The applicant must be employed abroad and come to the US subsidiary to work. The L1A visa is for executives and managers that transfer to the US. This visa lasts for up to seven years.
Period of Stay
L1A employees entering the US to establish a new business will be allowed a maximum initial stay of one year. If the company is established, the maximum initial stay will be three years. Requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of two years until the employee reaches a maximum of seven years.
L-1B visas are available to intracompany employees transferred within the same company abroad to the subsidiary or affiliate in the US. The applicant must be employed abroad on a position that requires specialized knowledge and is transferred to the US to work in a position that requires that specialized knowledge.
Period of Stay
L1B employees entering the US to establish a new business will be allowed a maximum initial stay of one year. If the company is established, the maximum initial stay will be three years. Requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of two years until the employee reaches a maximum of five years.
Family of L1 Worker
The family of the transferring L1 employee may be accompanied by the spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age. The family can apply for L2 nonimmigrant classification and come together or join the L1 employee at a later date.
The L-1A visa filing process is a complex endeavor. The employer and applicant must submit an application package to the USCIS Service Center with jurisdiction over their residence.
The main parts of the petition include:
- USCIS Form I-129 petition and its supplement;
- Evidence of business ownership in the US;
- Evidence of the ownership of the business abroad;
- Evidence of the qualifications of the employee (years of experience) and a detailed explanation of the duties in the US business;
- The US business must have a physical location;
- The business must be validated through the VIBE program- validation instrument for Business enterprises.
The petition must include documentation such as tax returns and financial statements from both the company abroad and the company in the US. This is needed to satisfy requirements related to earning capacity, net worth. In addition, the employee is required to submit the Curriculum Vitae and pay stubs showing employment for the company abroad to show managerial experience or specialized knowledge.
After You Have Filed L1A Petition
What happens after filing the L1 visa petition? Well, it’s time to wait while the petition is processed by USCIS and then approved or denied. The standard processing time can be up to 7 months; however, employers have the ability to pay for premium processing provides a quicker response. The premium process is a great way to get the employee to work as soon as possible managing and developing the business.
Change L1A Visa to Green Card
If the employer wants to continue sponsoring the employee, after the employee has worked for the subsidiary or affiliate for a year in the manager or executive position, then the employer can petition the employee for a green card. This category is called EB1C. One of the most important benefits of applying for a green card through this process is that a PERM Labor Certification is not required. As a result, employers can sponsor the employee in a more straightforward manner and with fewer requirements than other employment based categories.
Requirements to Apply for the Green Card
Some of the requirements to apply for a green card for the L1A visa holder include:
- The US entity must be open for at least a year;
- The Employee/Applicant must be in the position of manager or executive;
- The employer needs to have a job offer for the manager or executive;
- The visa for the EB1 category for the specific country must be available (see the most current US Visa Bulletin).
Since the L-1A visa holder is working in the US, the best option to apply for the green card is to adjust the status to a green card by submitting the Form I-485 package to USCIS. Otherwise, the employee can opt to request Consular Process if outside of the US. In that case, the employee and family members will be interviewed at the US Embassy closest to their home abroad.
To apply for the adjustment of status in the US, the company must submit a Form I-140 package along with the Form I-485 package of the employee. The final package must include evidence of compliance with all the legal requirements of the permanent residence. This process also allows premium processing.
If the employee came to the US with an L1B visa as an essential employee, the employer would need to submit the PERM Labor Certification process to the US Department of Labor. If the Department of Labor certifies the PERM, the employer can submit to USCIS the Immigrant Petition Form I-140 and Form I-485 packages and include the Labor Certification.
The L1 visa is for managers, executives, and specialized knowledge professionals to come work in the United States for the time specified in the visa. However, this visa allows the employee to change to a green card if the employer continues to need the employee’s services of the management employee.
US immigration laws are complex. Therefore, foreign nationals must ensure that any immigration benefit request is submitted according to the legal requirements. Our immigration attorneys are available to represent you with your immigration process. You can contact us today to get our help. Call +1(407) 818-1244.