An individual may start up a company in the U.S. using the L-1 category. The petitioner should submit evidence that sufficient physical premises to house the new office have been secured. This requires a lease for office space at a minimum. The “new office” must support an executive or managerial position within one (1) year of the approval of the petition. Specialized knowledge personnel can also utilize this “new office” provision.
One of the great aspects of securing an L-1 nonimmigrant visa / status for a manager or executives is that there is a comparable “Green Card” category (to be discussed in more detail below). The first employment-based preference “Green Card” category (EB-1) covers “priority workers,” which include L-1A managers and executives. Assuming an individual is eligible for L-1A nonimmigrant status, and does wish to remain in the United States permanently, this is a relatively straight forward procedure. As this would suggest, like the H-1B nonimmigrant category discussed earlier, the presumption of immigrant intent is no longer applicable to L nonimmigrants and a petition for an immigrant visa or an application for adjustment of status (i.e., a Green Card) may be applied for while an individual maintains his L-1 nonimmigrant status.