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Are Small Businesses Eligible for the L-1 Visa?

1.75 minute read
"Are you a small business owner who wants to expand your business in the United States? The L-1 Visa may be the answer to your problems."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Jun 22, 2021
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Are you a small business owner who wants to expand your business in the United States? The L-1 Visa may be the answer to your problems. 

What Is the L-1 Visa Program?

The L-1 Visa program allows businesses to transfer their senior managers or executives and employees with specialized knowledge from their overseas office to a US office. 

Unlike other business immigration visa programs, the L-1 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows dual intent. This means that the visa will allow temporary residence for the applicant with the option of later applying for permanent residence. 

There are 2 types of L-1 Visas:

L-1A Visa: Executives and Managers: 

This L-1A Visa allows the transfer of senior executives or managers who have a supervisory position for a key function or department of the business. This visa is usually issued for up to 1 year for newly established small businesses and 3 years for established businesses. This visa can be extended for up to 7 years.

L-1B Visa: Specialized Knowledge: 

This L-1B Visa allows the transfer of professional employees with specialized knowledge about the product and service provided by the business or the operation and expansion of the business in the US. This visa is usually issued for up to 1 year for newly established small businesses and up to 3 years for established companies. This visa can be extended for up to 5 years.

Can Small Businesses Be Eligible for the L-1 Visa?

It is a common misconception that an L-1 Visa is for established multinational companies as most applicants work for large companies. However, it does not mean that small and medium-sized companies are not eligible for the L-1 Visa.

Companies do not require an established US premise to apply for this visa. The main thing required is a relevant relationship between the US office and the overseas company. The US company could be the parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or extended branch of the overseas company. The L-1 Visa for small businesses are usually issued for a year to allow the authorities to keep a check on their progress and to motivate the business to meet its set targets.

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