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What Is a Dual Intent Employment Visa?

When a foreign national enters America, they are most likely either entering with the intent to immigrate into the country or as a nonimmigrant. For example, someone in California on a visitor visa has demonstrated to the necessary officials that he or she qualifies for a nonimmigrant visa in that they do not want to permanently immigrate and will only visit the country temporarily. Without establishing this intent, it is often difficult for foreigners to get a nonimmigrant visa.


There are however situations in which someone can enter the country as a nonimmigrant and yet retain the option to apply for a permanent visa in the future. An L-1A visa of such a nature-it establishes dual intent. It allows an American employer to transfer either a manager or an executive from a foreign affiliated office to an office in the country. Even companies that do not yet have an office in America can send an executive or a manager to the country to establish an office there.


The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department has comprehensive regulations about employer and employee qualifications for this visa category. For example, the employee in question must have been working for the qualifying organization for a continuous year in the three years preceding his or her admission and must be entering the country to provide either a managerial or executive service. These terms are also defined by USCIS.


In order to qualify for this visa category, it is important to understand the applicable employer and employee regulations. Since dual intent visas do not undergo the same scrutiny as other visa categories, there is often a backlog in petitions. Any inaccuracy or mistake in the application could end up delaying one’s ability to legally enter the county. An experienced attorney may be consulted for guidance on how to complete one’s paperwork accurately and efficiently.

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Sweta Khandelwal

Sweta completed her Masters in Law from the University of California, Los Angeles and her JD from the Faculty of Law, Delhi University in India and has been practicing law for 15+ years getting visas, green cards, and citizenship for 1000+ clients, 100+ companies across 50+ nationalities.

Sweta has been recognized as a ” Super Lawyer, Rising Star,” and as amongst the ” Top 40 under 40″ immigration attorneys in California (American Society of Legal Advocates). She is also the recipient of the Advocacy Award by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Sweta is also a chartered accountant — the equivalent of a CPA. This makes her uniquely positioned to understand the immigration needs of her business clients in the broader context of their corporate objectives.

Sweta is actively involved with immigration issues and immigrant communities in various capacities. She has assumed key roles at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), both at the local and national level. She has been a past chair at the Santa Clara Valley Chapter at AILA and has also been involved in various practice area committees at AILA National. Sweta has addressed multiple conferences/forums in the United States and worldwide on immigration and business issues.

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