This blog focuses on outlining the USCIS regulations regarding L-1A managerial or executive qualifications for new office applications and provides tips on how applicants can strengthen their applications.
To qualify for L-1A classification, the applicant must demonstrate the following general requirement:
- Has at least one continuous year of full-time employment abroad with a qualifying relationship:
- Within the 3 years before application for admission to the U.S.
- In a position that is managerial or executive
- Will be employed in a managerial or executive position in the U.S.
- Has prior education, training, or employment that qualifies applicant to perform the intended services in the U.S.
1-in-3 Requirements: Whether the applicant is an executive or manager of the foreign company, they must have worked full-time for at least one year with the qualifying foreign company within the three years preceding the L-1A visa application. This requirement is often referred to as the “one in three years” rule.
To demonstrate the applicant’s 1 year employment, the USCIS officers look for documentation such as payroll stubs, employment verification, resume, and other relevant documents.
[TIPS]: It is crucial to ensure that the information listed on all the documents is consistent and precise. A well-organized and well-prepared petition undergoes meticulous scrutiny to verify the precision and uniformity of all the documents submitted to the USCIS.
Employment Abroad: The next significant challenge is providing a substantial amount of documentation and job descriptions to prove that the applicant is indeed an executive or manager.
To prove an executive position, the applicant must show:
- How the applicant will direct the management of the organization, or a major component or function of the organization
- How the applicant will establish the goals and policies of the organization, component, or function
- How the applicant will exercise wide latitude in discretionary decision-making; and
- Whether the applicant will receive only general supervision or direction from higher level executives, the board of directors, or stockholders
All 4 aspects can be illustrated by a detailed job description outlining the applicant’s daily executive duties, supported by documents such as drafted policies, agendas, annual goals, presentations, reports, strategy meetings, and internal documents directing the subordinate departmental managers.
[TIPS]: A well-drafted support letter that methodically illustrates applicant’s executive duties will be crucial in addressing questions about the nature of the executive duties, how they are carried out, and why executive role is important to the company. Addressing the “what, how, and why” aspects will tell a compelling story about the applicant’s employment and satisfy USCIS requirements.
To demonstrate the position is managerial, we must show:
- How the applicant managed the organization, department, subdivision, function, or component of the organization he or she oversaw
- How the applicant supervised and controlled the work of other supervisory, professional, or managerial employees, or managed an essential function, department, or subdivision of the organization
- Whether the applicant had the authority to hire and fire or recommend similar personnel actions (such as promotion and leave authorization) if other employees were directly supervised (or if no other employee was directly supervised, how the beneficiary functioned at a senior level within the organizational hierarchy or with respect to the managed function)
- How the applicant made decisions on daily operations of the activity or function under his or her authority. If the applicant was a first-line supervisor, submit evidence showing the supervised employees were professionals
In this scenario, the managerial capacity is further divided into personnel managerial capacity and functional managerial capacity. The distinction between these two subcategories is determined by whether the applicant manages a function or other professionals.
[TIPS]: If the applicant manages other professionals, it is crucial t to provide sufficient supporting documentation that addresses the following three “Ws”:
- Who are the subordinate employees?
- What authorities does the applicant have over those employees such as control the work of subordinate employees’ daily tasks
- Whether the beneficiary has the authority to hire and fire, or recommend similar personnel actions (such as promotions and leave authorizations)
[TIPS]: If the applicant manages a function of the company, they should gather and prepare the following documents, which demonstrate another set of three “Ws”:
- Why is this function essential to the company
- What are the duties performed by the applicant to manage this essential function
- Whether the applicant acts at a senior level within the company’s hierarchy or with respect to the function managed
[TIPS]: A well-drafted petition will emphasize the managerial capacity by addressing these sets of three “Ws” and methodically selecting supporting documents that purposefully demonstrate the applicant’s managerial duties in terms of personnel management and/or functional management. Sometimes, these two sub-categories may overlap, so it is crucial to evaluate the applicant’s duties to determine which sub-category is best suited for their own qualifications.