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Can I apply for an L1A Visa if I am a founder of a remote startup?

Maybe. There are several qualifications involved with an L-1 visa. One specific requirement I would like to address is the definition of the terms “manager,” “executive,” and “specialized knowledge.”

– A manager oversees people in production or in function. You stated that there are remote employees, but the founder would need to be the person actually managing employees.

– An executive has the authority to make decisions without a lot of oversight. As a founder, he likely meets this criteria unless the majority of business decisions are made by board members.

– Specialized knowledge is knowledge that not just any of his employees would have. If he is actively running the business, he likely qualifies here.

So, ultimately, at least for this portion of L-1 qualification, it would depend on whether the founder is active in running the business and managing his business.

For a new office, the business itself would need to be able to show that:

– Sufficient office space is acquired for the new office

– The founder has been in the executive or managerial role for at least one continuous year during the three years before filing the petition

– The new office will support the executive or managerial position within the first year of the petition’s approval.

Since this situation is unique compared to the more traditional use of an L-1 visa, it would be prudent for you to visit with an immigration attorney. Getting legal help with preparing your L-1 visa petition and documentation could be very beneficial. LawTrades is a legal marketplace that offers amazing vetted attorneys at affordable flat rates. All projects come with end-to-end customer support and are backed by a satisfaction guarantee!

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