A Business Plan and an L1 Visa – Do I Need One to Get the Other?

Businesses who want to bring experienced immigrant employees to the United States to work often choose the L-1 nonimmigrant visa. This visa is for executive team members and therefore can be difficult to acquire. To improve their chances of USCIS approving the L-1 visa petition, companies may want to consider presenting a business plan with their applications.

Different Types of L-1 Visas

The L-1 visa is comprised of two subcategories: L-1A and L-1B visas.

  • An L-1A visa permits a company in the United States to relocate an overseas employee into the country to work for their U.S.-based branch. This employee must be an executive or manager for the company.
  • An L-1B visa allows the company to move an employee who has “specialized knowledge” to their local offices. USCIS provides clarification of the term “specialized knowledge” on their website.

All employees under the L-1 visas must have an established relationship with their employers, which usually means they have worked for the company for at least one year. If the candidate is coming to the U.S. to open a new office, the visa is granted for one year’s stay.

If they come to work at an office that has already been established, their visa will be active for three years. Extensions may be granted up to the seven-year limit for L-1A visas and the five-year limit for L-1B.

Reasons to Create a Business Plan

  • It provides proof of the business. The L-1A visa allows companies who do not yet have a presence in the U.S. to establish one by sending employees to the country to work. USCIS will likely need some proof that there is even a business in the first place before the L-1A is approved. Including a thorough business plan with your application provides verification of your company.
  • It defines employee’s roles. As mentioned above, the employees who qualify for the L-1 visa must be either an executive, a manager, or a specialized employee. USCIS may provide their interpretation of what these roles entail, but it’s up to you to give a solid understanding of exactly what training, education, and duties people in these positions have. Providing a hierarchical organization chart along with brief list of job descriptions could better your chances of getting your application approved.
  • It strengthens your company’s profile. A business plan that includes important details like your goals, your projected profits and ideas to increase them, and an analysis of your competitors, could improve the company’s standing in the eyes of USCIS.

How an Immigration Attorney Can Help

Filling out visa applications can be tedious, and it’s easy to overlook crucial details. Fortunately, the immigration attorneys at Udall Shumway, PLC have assisted many businesses with the L-1 as well as other visa applications. We can help you fill out forms and gather necessary documents to ensure your application is complete.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding A Business Plan and an L1 Visa, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at 480.461.5330, log on to udallshumway.com,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.