Selected L-1A Cases

A special qualifying relationship by minority shareholder through actual control:

The majority shareholder of a newly formed U.S. company is a minority shareholder of a Chinese company. Our office was able to establish the qualifying relationship between these two companies by applying the “actual control” doctrine.  This argument of actual control was unquestioned by USCIS.

Key points:
1. A shareholder can own less than 50% of a company’s outstanding shares, but still maintain actual control of the company.
2. Two companies need not have a common majority shareholder in order to be affiliates. The common shareholder can be a minority shareholder of one company as long as she has actual control over the company.

L-1A to Green Card

Our office has successfully seen through a case from initial L-1 approval all the way through green card attainment.

Upon initial L-1 filing, the petitioner was a small tech company established within one year, but has since grown substantially. The initial L-1 petition submitted by our office and approved for one-year.

Our office was subsequently able to secure a two-year L-1 extension on behalf of the beneficiary. After one year, the petitioner desired to start the green card application process. Accordingly, our office filed an I-140 immigrant petition on behalf of the beneficiary along with an I-485 application to register permanent residence. While the I-140 petition was pending, we filed another L-1 extension for two years on behalf of the beneficiary via Premium Processing, approved within just 3 days of filing. After I-140 approval, the beneficiary’s I-485 application was approved and he and his family received their green cards a short time thereafter.

Key points:
1. L-1 visa holders may apply for lawful permanent residency (green card) status without endangering their lawful L-1 status in the U.S.
2. To safeguard against I-140 processing times, an L-1 extension petition may be filed so that the L-1 beneficiary maintains his/her lawful status in the U.S., as long as the total period of stay does not exceed seven years.

L-1A petition based on EB-5 investment enterprise

Our office has successfully secured an 3-year L-1A visa status for an executive chef. This case is distinguished by the fact that the U.S. petitioning restaurant was formed through a direct EB-5 investment. The petitioner came to us expressing the needs of bringing a chef from China to work legally in the U.S. The beneficiary was an executive chef working for a Chinese upscale restaurant owned by the EB-5 investor, and the petitioner wishes to appoint him to the similar managerial role for the U.S. restaurant.

We proposed L-1A status on top of the EB-5 investment, and the petition was duly approved in 7 days, without RFE, via Premium Processing.

The remarkable points:
1. The L-1A petitioner is funded by an EB-5 investor, showing that an EB-5 investment can result in a successful L-1A petition in addition to a successful EB-5 petition.
2. EB-5 investment may be used to establish affiliated relationship for L-1A petition purpose.
3. Executive chef may be considered as a managerial position.

L-1A (3 year) for a start-up company

Our office has successfully secured three-year L-1A visa status for an executive of a small electronics company which had only been established and in actual operation for one full year.

The petitioner used to be an operating arm of an established parent company, and was spun off exactly one year before we filed the L-1A petition. Thus, as its operation was uninterrupted by the spinning off, it qualifies the L-1A requirement of one-year actual operation. However, the employees of the newly established company were still on the parent company’s payroll, and transferred to the new company much later. We overcome the USCIS’s challenges of the one-year of actual operation requirement.  The USCIS finally approved the petition and granted an initial three year period of validity for the L-1 beneficiary, instead of the maximum one year period allotted to beneficiaries of petitions who are seeking admission in order to set up a “new office” for the petitioner.

The remarkable points:
1. The key to proving that a company has been doing business lies in evidence of actual business operation and not incorporation documents.
2. It’s possible to secure an initial three-year L-1A period of validity even if the petitioner is only recently established.

Highlights of a few more L-1A cases

  • L-1A Visa Interview in China: The visa interview administrative processing was approved in 3 days, instead of normal duration of 2 weeks to 3 months, after our offices assisted in communication with the U.S. Consulate.
  • L-1A Extension: Our office successfully secured an L-1A extension for a beneficiary who has physically stayed in the U.S. for only 2 weeks during the initial 1-year L-1A validity period.
  • Our office secured the approval of a L-1A beneficiary who was on the list of the “40 influential entrepreneurs under 40” of Fortune Magazine, China.
  • Our office successfully helped three L-1A beneficiaries to come to the U.S. for formation of a new U.S. subsidiary owned by a  large-scale state-owned Chinese company.
  • Our office secured the L-1A petition for a beneficiary who was 24 year-old via regular processing without RFE.
  • Multiple approvals for L-1A beneficiaries with high school education only.
  • Multiple approvals for U.S. companies with virtual or small office space.

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L-1A Procedures, Application Process, and Fees

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