L-1 Visa – Setting up a new company in the U.S.

When establishing a new U.S. Subsidiary or Affiliate company, you will want to keep the following in mind:

The foreign firm and the US firm must have a “qualifying relationship.”

The US and the foreign firm must have common majority ownership, or, where there is less than majority ownership, common control by the same person or entity.

Ownership by a common group of owners where no owner has control or a majority interest can cause a problem if each individual owner does not own approximately the same amount of both the US and the foreign company.

This problem can sometimes be worked around if the owners have set up a voting agreement to ensure that there are not different groups controlling the foreign firm and the US firm.

As a general rule, the Owner of the Foreign Company should own at least 51% of the U.S. Company.

Proof of Ownership and Control of the US Entity:

When relevant you will want to submit copies of the share certificates issued and list the # of shares of stock issued for the US Entity

Once the US Entity is formed, you will want to set up a US Checking Account and rent office space.

Steps in setting up your new U.S. business for the L-1 Visa:

Step 1: Prepare a Business Plan.

You can use business plan software to accomplish this.

The software will ask you questions and then put your answers in the business plan format.

Here are some links to purchase business plan software:



Step 2: Set up the US Company.

You can use a company like http://www.bizfilings.com to set up your U.S. Branch. Here is the link for Incorporating in the United States as a Foreign National: http://www.bizfilings.com/us-incorporation-package-for-foreigners.aspx

Make sure that the qualifying relationship is correct. 

Here are the documents you are required to show USCIS as evidence of the qualifying relationship

 Step 3: Set up a U.S. Business Checking Account:

Step 4: Obtain a B-1 Business Visa to set up the Physical Office Space

Here are the L-1 Visa requirements for Proof of Sufficient Physical Premises of the US Office:

USCIS offers the B-1 Business Visa for foreign nationals to enter the US to survey potential sites for a business and/or to lease premises.

Step 5: Apply for the L-1A Visa with USCIS

Now you apply for a 1 year L-1A Visa under the new office category.