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L-1 Visa: Qualifying Employment

What is the one year qualifying employment requirement?

In order for you to qualify as an L-1 employee beneficiary, you must have been employed full-time by the foreign company for a continuous one year in a position as an executive, manager, or person with specialized knowledge. You must have completed this employment within the three years prior to the filing date of the visa petition. If you would like to speak to an attorney about the L-1 visa, contact The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates for a consultation. We have more than 50 years of combined legal experience in a wide variety of complex and immigration law matters.

When must the one year qualifying employment be completed?

According to the statue, to qualify as an L-1 employee you must have one year of qualifying employment completed at that time you enter the United States with your L-1 visa at the start date of your assignment. This seems to indicate that your sponsor company could file the L-1 visa petition before you have completed the one year of qualifying employment because you don't need to complete it in order to file, you need it by the time you enter the US to start working using the L-1 visa. However, in reality it would not be possible for your company to establish the one year requirement when filing the petition if you have not yet worked there for one year. It may be a good strategy to avoid possible problems by adjusting the starting date of your US employment and the petition filing date accordingly to allow you to complete the one year employment first before filing.

Do visits to the United States cause a break in my continuous one year period?

The one year of employment must be continuous. You cannot add up separate periods of employment to get one year of employment. There is an exception for short trips to the US under certain circumstances. If you make a trip to the United States during the one year employment period, this may not break the continuous nature of the employment. These trips should be authorized periods of stay, should be for short trips for business or pleasure. However, the time you spend in the US may not be counted as employment to satisfy the one year requirement. Therefore, you should accumulate at least 365 days of qualifying employment outside the US before filing the petition.

Can qualifying employment be part-time?

Your one year of qualifying employment outside the US must have been full-time. You cannot add up to part-time hours to get the equivalent of one year of full-time hours. There is an exception if you are working part-time in two or more jobs with affiliated companies if the hours add up to a full-time work week. For more information or if you have questions about 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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