L1 Visa New Office

Receiving approval for an L1 New Office Petition is just the first step in the process of expanding operations into the United States. It is important to understand the limits of the L1 visa and the requirements that must be met within the first year of US operations to prepare for the extension process. We discuss how to prepare for and what to expect during the extension process here. 

My new office L1 visa status was approved, now what?

If you were approved for L1 Visa status based on a new office (US Office with less than 1 year of operations), the visa is limited to a temporary 1-year time period.   Begin preparing now to meet the qualifications at the time of renewal. At a minimum, the following supporting evidence will be required to obtain an extension of your L1 visa based on a new office:

  • Proof of Employees in the United States – Employment of workers in the US sufficient to support the office and employment of a managerial/executive employee in the US is crucial to renewal. Without sufficient staff within the US, it is very difficult to obtain a renewal. These employees should be on the payroll as W2 employees. Some limited exceptions apply.
  • Significant Growth in Cash Flow – USCIS will want assurances that the US office is actively doing business in the United States by taking orders, fulfilling invoices, making products, and servicing clients/contracts.
  • Proof of US Office – You will need to provide proof of space sufficient to support your business growth and enterprise. This can be through the purchase, lease, or rental of a sufficient premise.
  • Proof of Continuing Foreign Operations – You will need to demonstrate that the foreign office continues to do business and has T4 employees on the payroll.

It is very important to grow your business in the US as quickly as possible and maintain evidence of your progress. This will aid in a smooth and successful L1 Visa extension. 

I am Canadian, can I do my extension at the border?

If you are Canadian, in order to take advantage of the application process at the border, your time inside the USA on the L1 visa must be temporary in nature. This means that you cannot spend more than 50% of your time inside the United States. If you spend more than 50% of your time inside the United States your renewal/extension must be done by mail with the USCIS. If possible, we recommend tracking your time and spending less than 50% of your time inside the United States as the process with USCIS is much more difficult. You can apply for renewal up to 6 months in advance by mail or same day at the border.

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The immigration lawyers at Richards and Jurusik Immigration Law have more than 20 years of experience helping people to live and work in the United States. Contact us today for an assessment of your legal situation.

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