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The L-1 Category and “Doing Business”

The L-1 category allows a U.S. employer to transfer an executive, manager, or specialized knowledge employee from an affiliated foreign office to one of its offices in the United States. To qualify, there are specific requirements that must be satisfied by both the petitioning employer and the beneficiary employee. On the employer’s side, it must be established that a qualifying relationship exists between the U.S. petitioner and the beneficiary’s foreign employer (e.g., parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch) and that both entities are “doing business”.

The regulations define doing business as “the regular, systematic, and continuous provision of goods and/or services by a qualifying organization and does not include the mere presence of an agent or office of the qualifying organization in the United States and abroad.” In other words, the government wants to see that the multinational company is actively operating. An idle office will not satisfy the L-1 doing business requirement.

To satisfy the doing business requirement, an application should include evidence demonstrating that the U.S. petitioner and foreign employer are both providing goods and/or services, generating revenue, accruing operating expenses, paying wages, and paying taxes. Common forms of evidence include:

  • Federal tax returns;
  • Audited financial statements;
  • Annual Reports;
  • Payroll report or summaries;
  • Quarterly wage reports;
  • Invoices or purchase orders;
  • Contracts of sale or service contracts;
  • Marketing materials; and/or
  • Website information.

The L-1 category is utilized by multinational companies all over world to transfer key staff members to the United States. If you are interested in applying for L-1 status on behalf or yourself or for one of your employees, contact our office today to schedule a consultation.