The L-1 visa application process can be complex and time-consuming, so you need to be well-prepared and informed before you start. In this article, we will explain the L-1 Visa application process from start to finish to give you a better idea of what to expect.
Getting Started: Filing a Petition with USCIS
The first step of the L-1 visa application process is for your employer to file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on your behalf. The petition is filed using Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, which is used to request approval for your L-1 Visa classification and to establish your eligibility and qualifications. Your employer must file the form at least 45 days before your start date and not more than six months before your employment begins.
Your employer must also submit supporting documents along with Form I-129, such as:
- A letter from your employer describing your position, duties, qualifications, salary, and duration of stay in the U.S.
- Evidence of your employment abroad for at least one year within the three years preceding your application
- Evidence of the relationship between your employer abroad and the U.S. entity
- Evidence of the financial viability and business activities of both entities
- Evidence of your managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge role and skills
- A copy of your passport and any previous U.S. visas
- A copy of your resume or curriculum vitae
- Any other relevant documents
Completing Your Online Visa Application Form
Once USCIS approves your petition, you will receive a notice of approval (Form I-797). The next step is to complete an online visa application form (Form DS-160) on the website of the U.S. Department of State. This form is used to collect your personal information, travel details, work history, education, contact information, and other relevant data. You must fill out the form accurately and truthfully, as any false or incomplete information may result in delays or denial of your visa.
After completing the form, you must print out the confirmation page with a barcode and bring it with you to your interview.
Acing Your Interview
The final step of the L-1 Visa application process is to attend an interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country or country of residence. You must schedule an appointment for your interview online or by phone through the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate where you plan to apply.
During your interview, a consular officer will ask you questions about your purpose of travel, your background, your employer, your position, and your ties to your home country. You must answer the questions honestly and confidently, and provide any additional information or documents that the officer may request. The officer will also take your fingerprints and a digital photo. At the end of the interview, the officer will either approve or deny your visa application or place it on hold for further review or processing.
How Long Does It Take to Get an L-1 Visa?
The processing times for the L-1 Visa may vary depending on several factors, such as the workload of USCIS and the U.S. consulate or embassy, the completeness and accuracy of your application, the availability of appointments, and any security checks or administrative processing that may be required. In general, you can expect the following processing times for each step of the process:
- Filing a petition with USCIS: 2 to 4 months for regular processing, or 15 days for premium processing
- Completing an online visa application form: As soon as you receive your Form I-797 notice of approval
- Attending an interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy: 1 to 3 weeks after scheduling an appointment
Therefore, the L-1 Visa application process can take between 3 and 7 months to complete if you choose regular processing, or 2 to 4 weeks if you choose premium processing.
Are You Ready to Apply? We Can Help You
Although the process described above seems straightforward, it not always is. Issues can arise during the L-1 Visa application process that only an experienced immigration attorney can resolve. That is why we recommend hiring one before you start preparing your application. A skilled immigration lawyer can not only help you put together a strong and convincing application that increases your chances of getting your L-1 Visa approved but also resolve any issues that may arise during the application process.
Fortunately, finding a law firm that specializes in the L-1 Visa is way easier than applying for it. In fact, you already did – you found us. At Jurado & Associates, P.A., our dedicated and knowledgeable immigration attorneys have helped many clients obtain their L-1 Visas successfully and can help you do the same. If you are ready to get started, call us today at (305) 921-0976, email us at [email protected], or WhatsApp us at +1 (305) 921-0976.