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Intracompany transfers and immigration

For a U.S. employer in South Carolina to move a manager or executive from an affiliated foreign office to an office in the United States, the employer and employee must obtain L-1A nonimmigrant classification. Gaining this status also allows foreign companies to send managers or executives to the United States to establish offices. However, there are several qualification requirements that the employer and worker must meet.

First, the employer has to have a relationship with the foreign entity, such as an affiliate, subsidiary, branch or parent company. The employer also has to be doing business or plans to do business in the United States and one other nation as an employer. The business could also be operated through a qualifying organization during the employee's stay under the L-1 nonimmigrant visa program. The operations have to include the continuous supply of services or goods, but the mere establishment of an office or agent does not qualify.

The worker must have been under continuous employment overseas for the employer for at least one year during the previous three years directly prior to being admitted into the United States. The employee also has to seek L-1 status to provide a managerial or executive capacity for the same employer or an employer in the same qualifying organization.

Managerial capacity means that the worker will control and supervise other employees as well as manage a function, component, subdivision or department of the organization or the organization itself. The worker could also manage a vital part of the business without directly overseeing other employees. Executive capacity means that the worker has the ability to make a wide range of decisions with little oversight.

Not all circumstances involving the transfer of managers or executives are clear cut, and the application for the L-1 nonimmigrant classification may be denied if the application forms are not properly completed. When employers and employees find themselves in complex situations, they could contact immigration attorneys for assistance.

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