Obama’s Plan to Reform the Investor L-1 Visa


“One of the things that would make America even more attractive to businesses and that would grow our economy and shrink our deficits, and keep this country safer, stronger, and smarter, would be a comprehensive immigration reform package,” stated Obama at the SelectUSA Investment Summit on March 23, 2015.  Of this immigration reform package, Obama focused on his plan to reform the L1 visa process.  Obama announced his plan to make the L1 process much easier for foreign nationals.

The L1 visa an attempt both to bring successful foreign nationals to the United States as well as provide a boost for the economy.  Those eligible for the L1 visas are any employees of an international company with offices abroad as well as in the United States.  These are nonimmigrant visas that may be valid from three (3) months to five (5) years with a possible extension up to seven (7) years.

There are two subcategories to the L1: L1-A and L1-B.  Both require that the foreign national have been employed with the company for one continuous year within the three years preceding his or her admission into the United States.  The L1-A require the employee to be in an executive or managerial position and the L1-B requires the employee to have specialized knowledge.  Family members of the employee may be eligible for the L2 visa.

Obama’s executive action on immigration reform has come at a great time for foreign investors.  “My administration is going to reform the L-1B visa category, which allows corporations to temporarily move workers from a foreign office to a U.S. office in a faster, simpler way.  And this could benefit hundreds of thousands of nonimmigrant workers and their employers,” Obama announced at the summit.  This will specifically be of benefit to Indian technology professionals that were of recent in decline.  However, there is backlash on Obama’s executive action by those who would oppose a huge influx of foreign workers favored in the well-known Silicon Valley.  On the other hand, Obama and those investors at the Summit believe that Obama’s immigration reform will make the application process for the L1 visa much easier for those seeking to temporarily work in the states.

Although Obama plans to make the process easy for potential immigrants, problems can still arise.  This is still a difficult and complex area of immigration law and an experienced attorney on the matter is recommended.

Cynthia I. Waisman focuses her practice in the area of Immigration Law. Contact our Clearwater office at 727.712.2299 or Tampa office at 813.279.6180 today to discuss your immigration case.  We are here to help immigrants obtain the benefits they deserve.