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L-1 Visa: Executive Position

For you to be eligible for the L-1 visa, your work assignment in the US must consist of duties that are managerial, executive, or require specialized knowledge. The L-1A visa is for executives and managers, and the L-1B visa is for those with specialized knowledge. To qualify as an executive you must establish to the USCIS that you meet the definition of an “executive” as defined by immigration law. If you have questions about the L-1 visa or would like to consult with an attorney, contact The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates. We have over 50 years of combined legal experience in a wide variety of complex and immigration law matters.

What is an L-1 executive?

The L-1A “executive” position is similar to the L-1A manager position, but it requires you to have a more senior position overseeing the activities of the company and have wider latitude of decision-making authority with less oversight. Think of it this way, a manager would oversee a team of supervisors, while an executive would oversee a team of managers. A company vice president, or someone with similar authority, would be one example of an executive position.

Control of subordinates

Even if you do not have control of subordinates, you may also qualify as an executive if you can show that you manage an “essential function” of the company, as explained in another article following this one.

Executive duties

Some of the duties that would establish your position as an executive are as follows: If you utilize subordinate staff to manage all the activities of the whole company, or manage the activities of a significant division; if you have authority to hire and fire subordinate staff and also those employees that are supervised by your subordinate staff; if you develop goals and policies for the whole company or division; if you develop the company or division budget; if your immediate supervisor is another senior executive, for example the company president or board of directors.

Your responsibilities must be wide in scope

To qualify as an executive, you must establish to the satisfaction of the USCIS that your duties are wide in scope so as to cover the entire company or an entire division of the company. This should be done by providing detailed descriptions of your specific duties, and showing how your duties are connected to the goals of the company. These goals should be of a senior-level to encompass the whole company or key division or a major company objective. The USCIS will also want to look at the number of company employees, and the company’s reasonable needs and its level of development.

You must be “primarily” engaged in executive duties

You will not qualify as an L-1 executive if your primary duties are to conduct the day-to-day operational or administrative tasks of the company. Here is one example of how this can manifest itself. If the company has a low number of employees, this may indicate to the USCIS that you conduct the company’s day-to-day activities because the company isn't big enough to really need and support an executive position, so in this case it would be wise to provide sufficient evidence to establish that your duties are executive and are connected to the goals of the company. If you would like more information about the executive position or the L-1 visa, please contact our immigration attorneys at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA to schedule a consultation with an attorney at an office near you.

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