When you are attempting to stay in the United States for an extended period, there are several visas you may acquire that will allow you to stay. However, each of these visas have different requirements, and you will want to make sure that you meet the requirements for a specific visa before applying.
Work Experience Requirements
L1 visas are intended for employees who will be serving the function of a manager. To obtain it, you must have worked abroad for at least one year within the last three years. For example, if it is the year 2018 and you worked for a year in 2017, you would make this requirement. However, if you worked in 2014 abroad, you would not meet this requirement.
You must fulfill a specific role in your company. You must have specialized knowledge that could not easily be taught to a domestic employee, or you must hold an executive or manager role. If you were an accountant for the company outside the United States, you may not qualify for an L1 visa because the work you performed could be performed by anyone trained as an accountant. However, if you are an engineer who has worked on a prototype and training someone else would jeopardize your company's trade secrets, or it would be challenging to train someone else, you may qualify for this visa.
If you are in an executive function, you must be free to make decisions without the oversight of someone else working for your firm. For instance, you may make decisions such as whether your company will run a particular marketing campaign. If you must receive permission from a superior, you may not be considered an executive.
If you are a manager, you will be responsible for overseeing personnel. If you are the only employee at a particular office, you may not be considered a manager if you are not overseeing anyone else at your small office. Even if you worked in one of these capacities in the past, you must work in a similar capacity in the United States.
Working with an Attorney
If you are unsure if you qualify for an L1 visa, you should consider contacting an immigration attorney. He or she will advise you on whether you qualify and what steps you may need to take to be able to qualify. If you will not be performing your role on a temporary basis, for example, you may need to pursue a different type of visa.