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An “L” Non-Immigrant Visa May Be Right For An EntrepreneurHere are a few subjects to think about for an alien entrepreneur...
Matter of Aphrodite Investments Limited, 17 I&N Dec. 530 (Comm’r 1980),held:      “A corporation is a separate entity from...
As for the scope of the relationship2 between the foreign and U.S. location, it issomewhat variable. An entrepreneur’s sta...
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L nonimmigrant entrepreneur path to a greencard

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L nonimmigrant entrepreneur path to a greencard

  1. 1. An “L” Non-Immigrant Visa May Be Right For An EntrepreneurHere are a few subjects to think about for an alien entrepreneur who cannot orsimply decides not to utilize the EB-5 immigrant investor path to a green card.The “L” non-immigrant visa may be suitable for a foreign entrepreneur to enter theUnited States in order to expand his or her existing business and set up a newoffice1. An intra-company transferee has been allowed to come to the United Statesfor the purpose of setting up a new office for a multinational company since 1971,shortly after the nonimmigrant classification was created.Matter of LeBlanc, 13 I&N Dec. 816 (Reg. Comm’r 1971) held: “The statue does not require that the beneficiary of a visa petition to accord nonimmigrant classification as an intra-company transferee under section 101 (a) (15) (L) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, be coming to an existing office, branch, or other establishment of his employer in order that the petition may be approved. While there may be a question as to whether or not the petitioning company actually has an existing or established affiliate in the United States at this time, where, as the record in the instant case shows, the petitioner has acquired physical premises necessary to its functions here which evidences the bona fides of its operations in this country, the petition may be approved if otherwise approvable.”Even a principal in the business (the entrepreneur) may enter as an “L” in order toget things rolling. This should include a partner in a limited partnership (LP), apartner in a limited liability partnership (LLP), or a partner in a limited liabilitycompany (LLC). This should encompass an alien entrepreneur regardless if (s)he isthe general partner or a limited partner.1 8 CFR § 214.2 Special requirements for admission, extension, and maintenance of status. (l) Intracompany transferees — (1) Admission of intracompany transferees — (ii) Definitions — (F) New office means an organization which has been doing business in the United States through a parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary for less than one year. 1
  2. 2. Matter of Aphrodite Investments Limited, 17 I&N Dec. 530 (Comm’r 1980),held: “A corporation is a separate entity from its stockholders for the purposes of qualifying an alien beneficiary as an intra-company transferee under section 101(a)(15)(L) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(L). Cf. Matter of M--, 8 I&N Dec. 24 (BIA 1958; A.G.1958).”Matter of Tessl, Inc., 17 I&N Dec. 631 (Assoc. Comm’r, Exams [AAO] 1981),held in pertinent part: (4) The corporation is a separate legal entity from its stockholders, able to employ them and to file a petition on their behalf.Many “L” non-immigrants eventually obtain an EB-1C (E13) immigrant visa as amultinational executive or manager. In the very first administrative appellatedecision on June 26, 1970, almost immediately after the creation of the “L” visaby an amendment to the INA via Pub. L. 91-225 (84 Stat. 116) on April 7, 1970; itwas already acknowledged that a “dual intent” could surface or, if things workedout well, something that started out as “temporary” could evolve into something“permanent”. This was not fatal to the non-immigrant petition.Matter of Bocris, 13 I&N Dec. 601 (Reg. Comm’r 1970) stated in dicta: “The legislative history of such amendment discloses that the above provision was intended to help eliminate problems faced by American companies having offices abroad in transferring key personnel freely within the organization; that, previously, international executives coming for temporary assignments have been forced to apply for immigrant visas and qualify as permanent resident aliens; that the class of persons eligible for such nonimmigrant visas has been narrowly drawn and it is anticipated that their number will not be very large; that the stay under an “L” visa should not exceed three years, although bona fide requests for extension beyond such time as well as applications for adjustment for permanent residence would be considered. (House Report (Committee on the Judiciary), No. 91- 351, (To accompany S. 2593)).” At p. 602-603. 2
  3. 3. As for the scope of the relationship2 between the foreign and U.S. location, it issomewhat variable. An entrepreneur’s stake in the foreign company and thepurpose and nature of the U.S. new office might or might not qualify the alien foran “L” visa. The following holdings are not exhaustive of the myriad possibilities.Matter of Hughes, 18 I&N Dec. 289 (Comm’r 1982), informs on this aspect,thus: (1) For the purpose of section 101(a)(15)(L) of the Act, 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15) L), affiliation exists between two companies when the petitioning company: Has a 50% financial interest in the foreign company; has de facto control over the foreign company; and, the foreign company exists solely to sell the petitioners product. (2) The terms "affiliate" or "affiliation" may be broadly used to describe business entities which have relationships with one another based upon both ownership and control. Ownership need not be majority if control exists. (3) The term "affiliate" is sometimes more specifically used to describe the relationship between two companies which have no direct linkage but are directed, controlled, and at least partially owned by the same parent corporation. (4) The term "subsidiary" is a more specific form of affiliation in which the company so described is subordinate to the control of another.2See in part: 8 CFR § 214.2 Special requirements for admission, extension, and maintenance of status.(l) Intracompany transferees — (1) Admission of intracompany transferees — (ii) Definitions — (G) Qualifying organization means a United States or foreign firm, corporation, or other legal entity which: ( 1 ) Meets exactly one of the qualifying relationships specified in the definitions of a parent, branch, affiliate or subsidiary specified in paragraph (l)(1)(ii) of this section; ( 2 ) Is or will be doing business (engaging in international trade is not required) as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary for the duration of the aliens stay in the United States as an intracompany transferee; and ( 3 ) Otherwise meets the requirements of section 101(a)(15)(L) of the Act. 3

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