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Starting out - L1, L2 and GC options

Starting out - L1, L2 and GC options

Old Aug 11th 2009, 3:57 pm
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Default Starting out - L1, L2 and GC options

So I got an email at the start of the week from the big boss confirming - the company's willing to transfer me to the US, sponsoring L1 and on to green card... been frantically researching since then (finding a lot of useful material here in the forums), and now decided to take the plunge and set out my situation on here, see if I'm reading the situation right, and if anyone has advice to offer.

So, here's my status: I'm a software dev, my UK-based employer was bought out a little over a year ago by a US company. I've been in the industry for a little over ten years, now in a senior dev role, but not managerial. One detail that I suspect might put a fly in the ointment: I've not got a degree, though obviously I'm in a job that normally would be graduate level.

Based on my limited research so far, that makes me a candidate for L1B, which may keep me in the US for up to 5 years; but it looks like the GC situation may be more complicated. I suspect we'd need to push for an EB2 classification based on industry experience, or else - as I understand it - I'd be forced down to EB3 'skilled worker' or similar, which would take potentially a very long time to process after labor certification... Am I on the right lines here? Does anyone have experience of going through that process as a non-graduate?

Then the other complication is my wife. Naturally, if I'm on L1, she'd be L2 - but I've found precious little information on routes available for her to pursue a green card, short of waiting for me to obtain one and then sponsor her.

She's a self employed software dev, and has been actively involved in setting up a business with some people in the US for over a year now herself. I'm not sure if that might open up some avenues for her to apply for a GC in her own right... or a visa which isn't dependent on my L1 status persisting.

My main concern is ensuring that we do the right thing for ourselves - while I'm sure the company's HR and legal team will do a fine job, the company's interests are not necessarily exactly the same as mine. I'd be interested in hearing advice on what to look out for in laying the groundwork with the company prior to a move.
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Old Aug 11th 2009, 4:52 pm
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Default Re: Starting out - L1, L2 and GC options

Originally Posted by aziraphale View Post
Naturally, if I'm on L1, she'd be L2 - but I've found precious little information on routes available for her to pursue a green card, short of waiting for me to obtain one and then sponsor her.
From my understanding, when your company sponsors you for a GC, she gets sponsored also.

Ian
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Old Aug 11th 2009, 5:02 pm
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Default Re: Starting out - L1, L2 and GC options

Originally Posted by aziraphale View Post
So I got an email at the start of the week from the big boss confirming - the company's willing to transfer me to the US, sponsoring L1 and on to green card... been frantically researching since then (finding a lot of useful material here in the forums), and now decided to take the plunge and set out my situation on here, see if I'm reading the situation right, and if anyone has advice to offer.

So, here's my status: I'm a software dev, my UK-based employer was bought out a little over a year ago by a US company. I've been in the industry for a little over ten years, now in a senior dev role, but not managerial. One detail that I suspect might put a fly in the ointment: I've not got a degree, though obviously I'm in a job that normally would be graduate level.

Based on my limited research so far, that makes me a candidate for L1B, which may keep me in the US for up to 5 years; but it looks like the GC situation may be more complicated. I suspect we'd need to push for an EB2 classification based on industry experience, or else - as I understand it - I'd be forced down to EB3 'skilled worker' or similar, which would take potentially a very long time to process after labor certification... Am I on the right lines here? Does anyone have experience of going through that process as a non-graduate?

Then the other complication is my wife. Naturally, if I'm on L1, she'd be L2 - but I've found precious little information on routes available for her to pursue a green card, short of waiting for me to obtain one and then sponsor her.

She's a self employed software dev, and has been actively involved in setting up a business with some people in the US for over a year now herself. I'm not sure if that might open up some avenues for her to apply for a GC in her own right... or a visa which isn't dependent on my L1 status persisting.

My main concern is ensuring that we do the right thing for ourselves - while I'm sure the company's HR and legal team will do a fine job, the company's interests are not necessarily exactly the same as mine. I'd be interested in hearing advice on what to look out for in laying the groundwork with the company prior to a move.
make sure you get the bit about them sponsoring you for a GC into your contract
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Old Aug 11th 2009, 5:21 pm
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Default Re: Starting out - L1, L2 and GC options

Originally Posted by ian-mstm View Post
From my understanding, when your company sponsors you for a GC, she gets sponsored also.

Ian
Yes, that was right for us. When I went from an L1A to a GC, my husband and kids automatically followed suit and went from L2s to LPRs.
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Old Aug 11th 2009, 6:22 pm
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Default Re: Starting out - L1, L2 and GC options

if she came across on an L2 then she wouldnt be able to work until she got employment authorisation. this can only be applied for after she arrives and can take 90 days - although mine took nearer 60 earlier this year. Once she has an EAD she can work for whoever she wants to.
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Old Aug 11th 2009, 8:03 pm
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Default Re: Starting out - L1, L2 and GC options

Originally Posted by aziraphale View Post
So I got an email at the start of the week from the big boss confirming - the company's willing to transfer me to the US, sponsoring L1 and on to green card... been frantically researching since then (finding a lot of useful material here in the forums), and now decided to take the plunge and set out my situation on here, see if I'm reading the situation right, and if anyone has advice to offer.

So, here's my status: I'm a software dev, my UK-based employer was bought out a little over a year ago by a US company. I've been in the industry for a little over ten years, now in a senior dev role, but not managerial. One detail that I suspect might put a fly in the ointment: I've not got a degree, though obviously I'm in a job that normally would be graduate level.

Based on my limited research so far, that makes me a candidate for L1B, which may keep me in the US for up to 5 years; but it looks like the GC situation may be more complicated. I suspect we'd need to push for an EB2 classification based on industry experience, or else - as I understand it - I'd be forced down to EB3 'skilled worker' or similar, which would take potentially a very long time to process after labor certification... Am I on the right lines here? Does anyone have experience of going through that process as a non-graduate?

Then the other complication is my wife. Naturally, if I'm on L1, she'd be L2 - but I've found precious little information on routes available for her to pursue a green card, short of waiting for me to obtain one and then sponsor her.

She's a self employed software dev, and has been actively involved in setting up a business with some people in the US for over a year now herself. I'm not sure if that might open up some avenues for her to apply for a GC in her own right... or a visa which isn't dependent on my L1 status persisting.

My main concern is ensuring that we do the right thing for ourselves - while I'm sure the company's HR and legal team will do a fine job, the company's interests are not necessarily exactly the same as mine. I'd be interested in hearing advice on what to look out for in laying the groundwork with the company prior to a move.
Hi:

I have nothing against DIY. However, I remember how daunting first research of immigration law can be.

1. Don't assume you are not a "manager."
2. When it comes to green card eligiblity, spouse and children are "accompanying or following to join" which is known as "FTJ" in the jargon.

At least a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney may very well be in order.
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Old Sep 3rd 2009, 8:43 pm
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Default Re: Starting out - L1, L2 and GC options

Thanks everyone for all the responses and the concrete answers about the GC status for spouses - really helpful.

So - things went a little quiet in my case over the summer, but it's now very much back on the cards and I'm due to be speaking to the company's lawyer soon.

Couple of issues that I'm a little concerned about and hope I might get some hints about here:

1) I'm due to pop over to the company's head office in the US in a few weeks. I'll be entering under VWP for a week, attending a conference and a few meetings, the usual business trip. But given my intention down the line to apply for L1, and ultimately GC... I need to keep my nose clean as far as US immigration are concerned. Are there any things I need to be careful of or wary of doing while in the US that, when done under VWP, might cause me issues down the line? I'm thinking specifically of having discussions with immigration lawyers, agreeing details of a US job, that sort of thing...

2) I'm still trying to figure out how things will work out best for my wife. Obviously I'll discuss with the lawyers when the time comes, but there might be people with relevant experience here. She basically co-owns a company with her business partners in Florida. Not being able to work for 6 to 8 weeks is really not going to be easy. Can she:
a) enter US on L2, apply for employment authorisation, then leave US to continue working in the UK? Or is the EAD tied to the I94? (if so, wouldn't you need a new one each time you leave/reenter the US?)
b) apply, or have her business partners apply, for some other visa program that will give her a right to work in her own right, rather than as an L2? They're a very small startup, there would be no UK operation left once we move to the US...
c) or... something I haven't thought of?
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Old Sep 3rd 2009, 9:59 pm
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Default Re: Starting out - L1, L2 and GC options

AFAIK - no issues with coming in on VWP - I seem to remember coming in on VWP while my L1 was being processed. Unless of course for some reason you're not eligible to use the VWP (CIMT or whatever)

Leaving the US while the EAD is being processed is ok too I think - when it's not ok is if you are waiting for Advance Parole, but unless they've changed the rules L visas don't need to have AP.

Someone else will be along in a minute to clarify further I'm sure. My memories of L1 are getting a bit hazy since I got my greencard :-)

Originally Posted by aziraphale View Post
Thanks everyone for all the responses and the concrete answers about the GC status for spouses - really helpful.

So - things went a little quiet in my case over the summer, but it's now very much back on the cards and I'm due to be speaking to the company's lawyer soon.

Couple of issues that I'm a little concerned about and hope I might get some hints about here:

1) I'm due to pop over to the company's head office in the US in a few weeks. I'll be entering under VWP for a week, attending a conference and a few meetings, the usual business trip. But given my intention down the line to apply for L1, and ultimately GC... I need to keep my nose clean as far as US immigration are concerned. Are there any things I need to be careful of or wary of doing while in the US that, when done under VWP, might cause me issues down the line? I'm thinking specifically of having discussions with immigration lawyers, agreeing details of a US job, that sort of thing...

2) I'm still trying to figure out how things will work out best for my wife. Obviously I'll discuss with the lawyers when the time comes, but there might be people with relevant experience here. She basically co-owns a company with her business partners in Florida. Not being able to work for 6 to 8 weeks is really not going to be easy. Can she:
a) enter US on L2, apply for employment authorisation, then leave US to continue working in the UK? Or is the EAD tied to the I94? (if so, wouldn't you need a new one each time you leave/reenter the US?)
b) apply, or have her business partners apply, for some other visa program that will give her a right to work in her own right, rather than as an L2? They're a very small startup, there would be no UK operation left once we move to the US...
c) or... something I haven't thought of?
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Old Sep 4th 2009, 8:58 pm
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Default Re: Starting out - L1, L2 and GC options

Originally Posted by aziraphale View Post
a) enter US on L2, apply for employment authorisation, then leave US to continue working in the UK?
Several people here have done that. You need to be mindful of the biometrics appointment, so she should hang around for a bit to make sure and get that done, then she can leave.
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Old Sep 8th 2009, 2:22 am
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Default Re: Starting out - L1, L2 and GC options

Originally Posted by meauxna View Post
Several people here have done that. You need to be mindful of the biometrics appointment, so she should hang around for a bit to make sure and get that done, then she can leave.
Make sure you apply for her EAD with a postal application (instead of an on-line application). Biometrics will most likely not be needed (my wife didn't have to have them done and I have heard the same from other people also) and it will be quicker (original came in about 8 weeks and renewal in about 6).
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Old Sep 8th 2009, 4:37 pm
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Default Re: Starting out - L1, L2 and GC options

Originally Posted by dh010447 View Post
Make sure you apply for her EAD with a postal application (instead of an on-line application). Biometrics will most likely not be needed (my wife didn't have to have them done and I have heard the same from other people also) and it will be quicker (original came in about 8 weeks and renewal in about 6).
Thank you SO much for this; I really have not paid close attention to the L-2 EAD situation other than to note it is different from some other types I'm more familiar with.

It would be a terrific service if you could write a wiki entry on this topic, just a short one, with info like the above. Hint hint hint?
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Old Sep 8th 2009, 6:48 pm
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Default Re: Starting out - L1, L2 and GC options

Originally Posted by aziraphale View Post
1) I'm due to pop over to the company's head office in the US in a few weeks. I'll be entering under VWP for a week, attending a conference and a few meetings, the usual business trip. But given my intention down the line to apply for L1, and ultimately GC... I need to keep my nose clean as far as US immigration are concerned. Are there any things I need to be careful of or wary of doing while in the US that, when done under VWP, might cause me issues down the line? I'm thinking specifically of having discussions with immigration lawyers, agreeing details of a US job, that sort of thing...
Bring your business card. If this is your first trip to the USA in a long time (say, over a year), then assuming you're not carry 3 cabin trunks as luggage, you'll look like any business person coming for a seminar and some meetings. Just tell the truth at the POE. Don't VOLUNTEER anything unless asked. (E.g., When the officer says, "what's the purpose of your visit to the US," DO NOT SAY, "well, I'm here for a computer seminar and then to meet with some people from our USA office, before I go back to Blighty. And oh, and by the way, I am hoping to transfer here as an L-1!")


2) I'm still trying to figure out how things will work out best for my wife. Obviously I'll discuss with the lawyers when the time comes, but there might be people with relevant experience here. She basically co-owns a company with her business partners in Florida. Not being able to work for 6 to 8 weeks is really not going to be easy. Can she:
a) enter US on L2, apply for employment authorisation, then leave US to continue working in the UK? Or is the EAD tied to the I94? (if so, wouldn't you need a new one each time you leave/reenter the US?)
She can get her EAD (Employment Authorization Document) and then work in the USA for a US company, travel about working for the UK company she partly owns, she can stay in the USA and receive checks for the work she does for her UK company.

The EAD is a separate document -- a card, actually. It is NOT issued concurrent with the I-94, and as long as your wife has a valid L-2 visa, she can exit and re-enter the USA. Her EAD is irrelevant to he re-entries.

b) apply, or have her business partners apply, for some other visa program that will give her a right to work in her own right, rather than as an L2? They're a very small startup, there would be no UK operation left once we move to the US...
An L-1 has a bad outlook for a situation like this one, because after she goes, the UK operation grinds to a halt. A requirement of L-1 is that BOTH operations, abroad and in the USA, continue to operate.

Why have her small company bother to go to this trouble, when she'll have the EAD?

c) or... something I haven't thought of?
Unless there's something going on that I don't see, don't know, or have missed, I don't see a particular need to seek a separate solution for your wife's immigration status. She essentially gets a free ride on your L-1. And she gets an EAD besides.

The issue for you will be trying to boost your position in the USA side of the company to that of executive or manager, so that you can qualify for L-1A and thus have a fairly straight shot at the LPR status. As has been noted earlier by others, your wife will get LPR when you do. And I second Stuart's admonition NOT to pre-conclude that you're not a manager or executive. Leave that conclusion to your creative and intelligent immigration attorney.

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