Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 16

Thread: L-1 Visa: Would You Like to set up a Branch or Subsidiary Business in the U.S.A.?

  1. #1
    Junior Member HPretorius's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    10
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    L-1 Visa: Would You Like to set up a Branch or Subsidiary Business in the U.S.A.?

    As I practice immigration law in Los Angeles, California, I often speak to fellow South Africans who are considering their options in terms of entering the U.S. to live and work, while at the same time acting as entrepreneurs. There is often a misconception that the only way to start up a business in the U.S. is to invest an exorbitantly large sum of money, like 1 million U.S. Dollars, which is in fact not true.

    The L visa for example, allows one who owns and has been operating a business in South Africa for at least one year and who satisfies a number of other requirements, to apply for an L-1 visa if one wishes to establish a new branch or subsidiary business in the U.S. As one can imagine there are specific requirements that must be satisfied, such as proving that the S.A. and the newly created U.S. business are related in ownership, that there are sufficient funds to operate the new business , that the South African business will continue to operate while the L visa is being used etc., however it is a very useful visa that is available to South African entrepreneurs. With the L visa it is not even strictly necessary that the S.A. and U.S. businesses be in the same line of business or industry.

    In addition, an L visa such as this allows dual intent, which means that a person could apply and enter the U.S. on an L visa and then if they decided that they wish to remain in the U.S. long term, petition for a green card without losing their L visa status.

    I thought I would post this brief visa background not as advice but in part to help educate those who are interested in immigrating to the U.S. about the fact that there are visa options available and also to get some feedback perhaps on the prevalence of the misconception that the only way to enter the U.S. is to have 1 million dollars.

    Hendrik Pretorius
    www.mjlaw.co.za
    Note that none of this information is intended to be taken as legal advice.

  2. #2
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    361
    Thanks
    51
    Thanked 41 Times in 32 Posts

    Question on Visa Application

    Quote Originally Posted by HPretorius View Post
    The L visa for example, allows one who owns and has been operating a business in South Africa for at least one year and who satisfies a number of other requirements, to apply for an L-1 visa if one wishes to establish a new branch or subsidiary business in the U.S. As one can imagine there are specific requirements that must be satisfied, such as proving that the S.A. and the newly created U.S. business are related in ownership, that there are sufficient funds to operate the new business , that the South African business will continue to operate while the L visa is being used etc., however it is a very useful visa that is available to South African entrepreneurs. With the L visa it is not even strictly necessary that the S.A. and U.S. businesses be in the same line of business or industry.

    In addition, an L visa such as this allows dual intent, which means that a person could apply and enter the U.S. on an L visa and then if they decided that they wish to remain in the U.S. long term, petition for a green card without losing their L visa status.



    Hendrik Pretorius
    www.mjlaw.co.za
    Note that none of this information is intended to be taken as legal advice.
    Henrik, thanks for this information, can you give any forum members an approximate idea of what they need to budget for the costs of this visa? I realise there are variables, but a ballpark figure would be of great assistance to anyone considering this visa.

    Thanks
    Yvonne

  3. #3
    Junior Member HPretorius's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    10
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Hi Yvonne,

    I would encourage any interested parties to contact me directly to discuss their specific cases. Please visit www.mjlaw.co.za from where you can easily send me an e-mail. I would be more then pleased to discuss any fee issues at that time. The fees vary over time so I would not want to list a cost and then have it become outdated at a later time.

    Thank you for your comment Yvonne,

    Regards,

    Hendrik Pretorius
    www.mjlaw.co.za
    www.los-angeles-immigration.com

  4. #4
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    20,980
    Thanks
    3,055
    Thanked 2,462 Times in 2,067 Posts
    Blog Entries
    12
    Not even an example?

    I don't know how everyone else feels, but for me an unwillingness to provide any level of detail does not inspire confidence in the "expert."
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  5. #5
    Silver Member Loman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Karoo
    Posts
    298
    Thanks
    19
    Thanked 13 Times in 10 Posts
    No, because I'll never again move out of Africa.

    Where else but in Africa is there such wonderful business opportunities with such big profits?
    Take this one for example:
    On my last trip through southern Africa my windscreen was stolen.
    But only shortly after i realized this and finished with the cursing
    a young fellow walked by and asked if i would like to buy this
    windscreen he is taking to his uncle.
    It appeared to be in great condition and the price was quite cheap.
    Only the screen was mine to begin with.
    The man who smiles when things go wrong has thought of someone to blame it on. - Robert Bloch

  6. #6
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    361
    Thanks
    51
    Thanked 41 Times in 32 Posts
    Are there any members of the forum who have an existing business in South Africa and have applied for this visa - based on a new branch or subsidiary business in the U.S.A.?

    Or is there any member who is considering trying to obtain this visa?

    Yvonne

  7. #7
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    20,980
    Thanks
    3,055
    Thanked 2,462 Times in 2,067 Posts
    Blog Entries
    12
    I had a little look at the requirements for an L1 Visa when Hendrik first joined. To my eye it looked like it's intended for staff of international corporates and the requirements that need to be met are fairly stringent.

    My sense was that it would be easier/more likely to get a greencard on the $1 million capital method than to structure your affairs to meet the L1 requirements for the average owner-managed business owner.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  8. #8
    Junior Member HPretorius's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    10
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    The L Visa can be used in two capacities, the one being to exchange employees between a Foreign and U.S. based company that has already been established. The second use allows persons who have a business in a foreign country, assuming other requirement's are met as well, to enter the U.S. to open a new affiliate business and bring over an employee of the Foreign company to the newly established U.S. operation.

    In terms of the $1 million green card petition, although that option is often easier, we are of course assuming that the "average owner-managed business owner" is able to invest that sort of money. That is precisely one of the main advantages of the L Visa, in that the amount of money that needs to be invested can often be fairly minimal depending on the industry of course.

  9. #9
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    361
    Thanks
    51
    Thanked 41 Times in 32 Posts
    I estimate a budget of approx R35,000 - R50,000 for the visa application costs.

    At least US$ 50,000 - $ 80,000 for basic food and shelter, for 9- 12 months whereafter the business would have to support you and your family, so ideally the business cannot be a risk venture, but a definitely viable business.
    Ideally with some additional financial support coming from South Africa if you wish to maintain your current standard of living.

    Living costs vary dramatically between cities in the US so this would need to be taken into consideration.

    It is almost impossible to purchase anything on credit when you in the US on a visa.
    So you may need sufficient cash for a vehicle. (Average ZAR 160,000 - 250,000 for a new vehicle, and used vehicle : ZAR 100,000 - 160,000 - for anything half decent!)

    Then of course the funds in the US bank for the business, required to satisfy the visa requirements depending on the business itself.

    Travel and moving costs will take a big chunk of your assets.

    Please note, this is a rough estimate based on our own experience within the last few months:
    Our cost for the visa and legal fees to register the business etc. was ZAR 80,000.

    Do get comparison quotes from immigration lawyers, but better still, make sure you find someone who has obtained a visa and is willing to provide a personal reference.
    Some immigration lawyers take months to submit the application, in fairness, this could be due to the client not supplying sufficient information, or be the "normal" procedure,
    most people we have spoken to say it is between 1 - 6 months:
    Our first legal meeting was in July 2008, the submission was denied mid October, another application was made in November and granted in December. We altered the application to a "transfer" application, when the "business" application failed.

    So even for a non-immigrant visa, it could take over 6 months.

    If your age excludes you from attempting to formally immigrate, it is the only way to even have a hope of eventually applying for a green card in the U.S. so if you have the finance, and this is something you are seriously considering, it is possibly the best option available to you.

    Yvonne

  10. Thanks given for this post:

    Dave A (15-Jan-09)

  11. #10
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    20,980
    Thanks
    3,055
    Thanked 2,462 Times in 2,067 Posts
    Blog Entries
    12
    How are you going managing keeping an eye on your SA business from a distance, Yvonne?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. No more business plans please!
    By Vincent in forum Entrepreneurship and Business Management Forum
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: 12-Nov-10, 09:57 AM
  2. Fundamental business principles - Get and keep customers
    By Dave A in forum Entrepreneurship and Business Management Forum
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 12-Oct-09, 08:20 PM
  3. [Article] Communication: The Key To Business Turnaround
    By Vincent in forum Entrepreneurship and Business Management Forum
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 26-Apr-08, 04:20 PM
  4. Replies: 1
    Last Post: 22-Feb-08, 04:38 PM

Tags for this Thread

Did you like this article? Share it with your favourite social network.

Did you like this article? Share it with your favourite social network.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •