What is an L-1A Functional Manager?
An L-1A is a non-immigrant work visa that “enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. https://www.uscis.gov/working-in-the-united-states/temporary-workers/l-1a-intracompany-transferee-executive-or-manager (accessed July 6, 2021). There are two types of L-1A visas, executive and manager. Moreover, there are two types of manager L-1A visas, personnel managers and functional managers. Personnel managers are generally what people think about when they think of the term manager, they manage organizations or departments and supervise and control supervisory, professional, or other managerial employees. In short, personnel managers manage people. Functional managers manage an essential function within the organization.
So how does an employee show that its functional manager is a functional manager? In 2017, USCIS adopted the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) decision in Matter of G- Inc. and have created a five part test. In order to prove that an employee will be employed as a functional manager, a company will have to provide evidence that:
- The function is a clearly defined activity within the Petitioner’s organization;
- The function is “essential,” i.e. core to the organization;
- The employee will primarily manage, as opposed to perform, the function
- The employee will act at a senior level within the organizational hierarchy or with respect to the function managed; and
- The employee will exercise discretion over the function’s day-to-day operations.
See generally, https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/document/memos/APPROVED_PM-602-0148_Matter_of_G-_Inc._Adopted_AAO_Decision.pdf (accessed July 6, 2021).
It is important to submit evidence on each of these elements as USCIS will have to review the entire record to ensure the position meets the above criteria. The evidence will need to address what the “function” is and show that it is a part of the normal operations of the business, the impact that the function has, and the level of importance the function has on the business. It will also have to show the level of control the employee has over the function.
If you have any questions about whether the position you are being offered or are offering to an employee qualifies as an L-1A function manager, please feel free to contact us.
By: Steven Brown