EB-1-C: Obtaining Permanent Residency Through Intracompany Transfer as an Executive Or Manager
The EB-1-C Immigrant visa category awards
Green Cards to individuals who have been employed abroad by a qualifying entity
and who are transferred to a U.S. entity in a managerial or executive capacity
on a permanent basis. While it does require a U.S.-based employer (a
petitioner), it is a method frequently utilized by entrepreneurs around the
world. For those individuals who qualify, the EB-1-C Green Card provides a
relatively straightforward path to a Green Card in a preference category that
historically has no quota backlogs. As
discussed further below, many executives and managers also utilize the
L-1A nonimmigrant visa to enter the U.S.
relatively quickly with their family members and then file for the EB-1-C when
it is appropriate to do so.
to qualify for an EB-1-C visa, an entrepreneur must:
- Have been employed abroad for
one year in the previous three years before entry into the U.S. by the
parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of the
U.S. employer / petitioner. The key qualifications are that the entity abroad
and the petitioner need to have common control, usually evidenced by >50%
- The employment abroad was in a
managerial or executive capacity;
- The qualifying foreign entity
must continue to be doing business and have the requisite qualifying
relationship with the U.S. petitioner at the time the immigrant petition is
- The intended position with the
U.S. employer must be in a managerial or executive capacity; and
- The U.S. employer must have
been doing business for at least one year and have the ability to pay the
Unlike EB-5, the EB-1-C does not require a personal investment,
nor does it bestow conditional residency. The Green Card that is issued
following successful immigration is unconditional.
The immigrant petition (Form I-140) is filed with USCIS. If the
manager/executive is already in the United States in a valid nonimmigrant
status (such as L-1A, see below), Form I-485 may be concurrently filed with
USCIS if visas are available. If the applicant is abroad, s/he must wait for
Form I-140 to be approved before consular processing.
Premium processing is not currently available for the EB-1-C
category and processing times generally vary from a few months to a year.
Further, given its “doing business” requirements on both the foreign and
domestic entities, it cannot be used in startup scenarios. Individuals seeking
to enter the U.S. more quickly or those establishing new companies may find it
more convenient to obtain L-1A visas first and then apply for the EB-1-C once
the immigrant petition can be supported.
The L-1A Visa
The L-1A nonimmigrant visa is analogous to the EB-1-C. The requirements are quite similar in terms of
the qualifying entities and employment. A few notable exceptions however
- The employment abroad need not be in a managerial / executive capacity
but can be qualifying with a “specialized knowledge” capacity. Styling an L-1A
petition this way, however, may make it difficult to obtain EB-1-C approval
- The L-1A may remain on foreign payroll;
- The petition may be decided with premium processing, enabling the ability
to attend a visa appointment in as little as 14 days;
- The L-1A may be used to start up a U.S. entity, as discussed below.
An L-1A petition is valid for three years following approval in cases where
the U.S. employer has been doing business for at least one year. Petitions may
be extended in two-year increments. The maximum stay in L-1A status, subject to
some exceptions, is seven years.
Spouses and dependent children of L-1 visa
holders may obtain L-2 visas. Spouses may apply for work authorization,
allowing them the opportunity to work in the U.S. for any entity. Children do
not qualify for work authorization; however, they may attend public or private
schooling without student visas until the age of 21.
Options for Startups
can be utilized in conjunction with a startup entity that has not been doing
business for a full year prior to filing, which is known as a “new office”
petition. This provides key opportunities for entrepreneurs who have run
successful, sustained businesses abroad and now seek to open businesses in the
Office petitions tend to
be more document intensive as they have
additional requirements beyond those imposed upon established L-1 petitioners.
Specifically, such petitions must include evidence that:
- Sufficient physical premises
for the office have been secured. Usually a lease must be signed and in effect
prior to filing;
- The L-1A beneficiary has met
the one year continuous employment abroad requirement. Time spent in the U.S.,
even if done in conjunction with establishing the new entity under the control
of the foreign employer, does not count toward qualification;
- The intended U.S. operations
will, within one year, support an executive / managerial position. Startup
companies often have employees wearing many hats and requiring executives to
perform clerical or administrative work. The new office L-1A petition allows
this, however, a sufficient position must be created during the year; and
- Usually, comprehensive business plans are required. Such plans need to
detail the foreign and domestic entities, include financial pro formas, document
investments made, and the ability to pay employees. Detailed hiring plans are
also helpful in such discussions.
A “new office”
petition is approved for only one year. The petitioner may extend the petition
for two additional years toward the seven-year limit upon showing that the
entity remains active and operating and that the executive / managerial
petition is sustainable.
many entrepreneurs that are executives or managers abroad are able to immigrate
to the U.S. by establishing a new office, obtaining an L-1A visa and extension
approval, and then pursuing a Green Card through the EB-1-C category.