Tens of thousands of companies apply for L-1 visas every year to make their businesses run smoothly. L-1 visas come in various types, but let’s focus on L-1A visas that allow managers and executives from foreign offices to live and work in the United States for up to 7 years.
Before you start filling out all of the paper work, make sure you can prove that the applicants are managers or executives. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, here are some clear ways to prove someone is a manager or executive:
- Show the organization chart of their position (tip: make one for their home office, and one for the new position they will have in the U.S.)
- Include organizational job descriptions of the applicant, their subordinates, and their superiors
To get an L1 visa, the company needs to file Form I-129 (not the individual who will receive the visa). This puts a big burden on HR personnel to get the details right the first time. If the first application doesn’t include everything clearly (like an org chart and job description), then the USCIS can send a dreaded Request for Evidence (RFE) that can postpone the process even further.
Clarity is key when making an org chart for an L-1 visa application. This forum post explains that the USCIS wants simple org charts with just the names of people and their positions. No need to complicate things with division names and dotted-lines. Stick to a basic hierarchy that shows how the applicant works as a manager within a chain of command that ends with the CEO.
The I-129 Form requires a few more pieces of data that you should be able to find in your corporate org chart:
- Number of employees inside the U.S.
- Number of employees outside the U.S.
- Number of employees in the U.S. with managerial or executive positions
If you don’t have an up-to-date org chart for the L-1, then that’s where an online org chart tool can be very helpful. Before choosing an org chart software, check that it can do these things:
- Automatically draw and place org chart boxes in a hierarchy
- Add people names, positions, and position descriptions
- Quickly create an org chart from simple spreadsheet data
- Drag-and-drop org chart boxes to change reporting lines (hierarchy)
- Export to PowerPoint in your corporate colors and styles
- Clone an org chart to show the current state and future state of the organization
- Calculate the number of positions that report to a manager automatically
Before you go off searching for the right org chart software, know that OrgWeaver does all of these things and you can create a free account quicker than a few Google searches.
L-1 Visas can be a pain, but the reward is definitely worth it for your business. If you know what to expect from the process, have the right org chart tools and a good team, then you can get through the application without so much pain.