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QUESTION: how long does it take to get approval for the visa ?
ANSWER: The entire process will take some time - approximately 5 to 6 months. This is because there are a few steps that are required in this process. First, you, the employer, must file the petition and get approval of the same. Once the approval is granted, the approval notice must be shipped to the applicant, who will apply for the non-immigrant L1 visa at the US consulate
or embassy closest to where she lives. Of course this timeline could vary, depending on how busy the USCIS is, and how busy the US consulate is, as it relates to scheduling the applicant for an interview.
QUESTION: do I need to apply here in the US for her or can we get the process started at the local US Embassy
ANSWER: The petition must be filed by the sponsoring employer in the US, and it must be approved here first. You will request consular processing on the petition, so that the USCIS informs the appropriate office of the result and intention to apply for the L1 visa stamp.
Here is information about how to get the L-1 visa, once the petition in the US is already approved: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1271.html#apply
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