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L1A Visa Questions

What is an L-1A visa?

The L-1A visa is a type of non-immigrant visa issued to transfer executives or managers from affiliated foreign offices to offices in the U.S. It also enables a foreign company to establish an office in the U.S. by sending an executive/manager from the home office to build the U.S. affiliate. The employer needs to fill Form I-129 on behalf of the employee.

I am applying for an L-1A visa. While filling the application I reported my employment details inaccurately and I am unable to resubmit the true information. Would the Department of Homeland Security cross verify with past employers?

In most cases, the Department of Homeland Security will verify the information listed in your application including current and past employers. Usually visa applications are scrutinized carefully and thoroughly. They have the discretion to question or deny if they discover inconsistency or misrepresentation during their inquiry.

If you are unable to re-submit the true information, it would be wise not to lie to the immigration officials if you are interrogated about the inaccurate information. If you lie you could be banned from entering the U.S. and charged with a federal crime of obstruction of justice/lying to a government officer. However, you are required to answer only questions posed to you by these officials. You are not obligated to disclose information voluntarily. It would be sensible to hire an immigration lawyer to review your case.

My spouse (an L-1A visa holder) and I live separately, and I intend to divorce my spouse and marry a U.S. citizen. My children, aged 15 and 19 years, and I are L-2 visa holders. What are our options?

The U.S. citizen or your fiancé would be able to petition for a Green Card for you and your 15-year-old. In this scenario, with respect to the Green Card, the law would treat the 15-year-old child as if it were your fiancé’s child if you marry before the child turns 18 years. The 19-year-old child cannot be petitioned as he/she is already older than 18 years of age at the time of marriage. Once you receive a green card, you can petition for your 19-year-old child. However, this may take around three years because visas for Green Card holder’s children are currently unavailable. You should not need to leave the U.S. but instead can file to adjust status through your fiancé. It may be sensible to have an immigration lawyer help you with this process.

I am on an L-1A visa and my Green Card processing has begun. I submitted Form I-140 is and await the receipt. I am interested in another job offer. Can I be transferred to a H-1 visa? Can I work once the processing is complete?

It would be wise to withdraw the Form I-140, after which the new company can file for a change of status from L-1 to H-1 through premium processing. This should help you receive a result within two weeks from the date of receipt of the H-1B petition.

You can commence work from the start/validity date of the H-1B visa. If this is a new H-1B visa, your start date would be considered October 1st of the year in which you applied. Until this time you need to make sure you stay in legal non-immigrant status through your L-1A visa or you need to leave the U.S. and process the H-1B visa through a U.S. consulate abroad. Only in cases of transferred/extended H-1B visas can you start working for another company once the extension request is received by the USCIS.

I currently hold an L-1A visa and my dependent family is under L-2 visa. Once my contract ends, I want my children to continue in their current school for the academic year. What is the legitimate process to do so?

Your dependent wife and children could continue to remain in the U.S. once your contract or employment ceases. They need to file for a change in their non-immigrant status using Form I-539. Form I-539 should be filed prior to the date of expiry of the current L-2 visa and the applications should be filed in good faith. An immigration attorney could be helpful to guide you through this process.

My L-1A visa is valid till next year. Can I resign without another job offer? What is the time period to find another job before I need to leave the U.S.?

A resignation would terminate your L-1 status. If you are out of status, a new employment-based visa cannot be issued because you need proof of paychecks and status maintenance for the duration of stay in the U.S. A transfer of status needs to be applied for prior to the original status expiry. You will need to leave the U.S. immediately but in most cases a ten day leniency is allowed to settle pending affairs.

The L-1A visa provides a great opportunity for foreigners to work in the U.S. or set up an office here on behalf of their employers. It provides exposure and experience and can facilitate business expansion. Legal guidance may prove useful to know your rights and options.
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