Evidence of Qualifying Organization for L-1 Visa Petition

Evidence of Qualifying Organization for L-1 Visa Petition

Depending upon the nature of the petitioner, a different type of evidence may be required for L1 visa petition, as described below. Whether such evidence will be sufficient to met the petitioner’s burden of establishing such a qualifying relationship will depend on the quality and probative value of the evidence submitted. 

  • Large, Established Organizations
    Such organizations may submit a statement by the company’s president, corporate attorney, corporate secretary, or other authorized official describing the ownership and control of each qualifying organization, accompanied by other evidence, such as a copy of its most recent annual report, Securities and Exchange Commission filings, or other documentation which lists the parent and its subsidiaries.

  • Small Business and Medium Operations
    In addition to a statement of an authorized official regarding ownership and control of each qualifying organization, other evidence of ownership and control should be submitted, such as records of stock ownership, profit and loss statements (or other accountant’s reports), tax returns, or articles of incorporation, by-laws, and minutes of board meetings.

  • New Offices
    If the beneficiary is coming to the United States to open a new office, proof of ownership and control, in addition to financial viability, is required. The petitioners’ statement of ownership and control should be accompanied by appropriate evidence, such as evidence of capitalization of the company (or evidence of financial resources committed by the foreign company); articles of incorporation, by-laws, and minutes of board of directors’ meetings; corporate bank statements; profit and loss statements or accountant’s reports; or tax returns.

  • Partnerships
    To establish who owns and controls a partnership, a copy of the partnership agreement must be submitted. To establish what the partnership owns and controls, other evidence may be necessary. By law, international partnerships which provide accounting services or management consulting services meet the criteria as qualifying organizations for L-1 purposes. Extensive documentation in such cases is not required. 

  • Proprietorships
    In cases where the business is not a separate legal entity from the owner(s), the petitioner’s statement of ownership and control must be accompanied by evidence, such as a license to do business, record of registration as an employer with the Internal Revenue Service, business tax returns, or other evidence which identifies the owner(s) of the businesses. 

  • Joint Ventures
    There are two types of joint venture business enterprises – equity joint ventures and non-equity joint ventures:
    1. An equity joint venture is created under corporate law and exists when two or more companies contribute capital to the venture. A qualifying L-1 relationship can exist between a contributing company and the resulting venture if the contributing company owns at least 50% of the venture and exercises control over the venture. 

    2. A non-equity joint venture, on the other hand, is a contractual arrangement in which one or more of the contributing companies provides non capital resources (e.g., manufacturing processes, patents, trademarks, managerial know-how, or other essential factors). A non-equity joint venture does NOT establish a qualifying L-1 relationship.

Ownership and Control

Ownership and control are the main factors in establishing qualifying relationship between business entities.

Ownership: The legal right of possession and full power over a business entity.
Control: The right and authority to direct the management and operations of that business entity. 

The petition must document ownership and control of both legal entities to establish that a qualifying relationship exists. Ownership requirements are not as strict in the case of very large corporations, where a substantial minority share holding will be a qualifying relationship. 

Stock certificates alone may not be sufficient to establish that a qualifying relationship exists. Documents, such as the corporate stock certificate ledger, stock certificate registry, corporate bylaws, and the minutes of relevant annual shareholder meetings when appropriate, should also be examined to determine the total number of shares issued, the exact number issued to the shareholder, and the subsequent percentage ownership and its effect on corporate control. When appropriate, a petitioning company should be asked to provide all agreements relating to the voting of shares, the distribution of profit, the management and direction of the petitioning company, and any other factor affecting actual control of the entity. Without full disclosure of all relevant documents, USCIS may be unable to determine the elements of ownership and control. Evidence of the acquisition of the actual ownership interest (i.e., capital investment, wire transfers, stock purchase agreements, etc.) may be required as additional supporting evidence.

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