What’s the Difference between Executive Capacity and Managerial Capacity?

If you are an executive in an overseas office of the company based in the United States, you may be asked to relocate if your skills demand it. The visa you will need is called the L-1A Intra-company Transferee Executive or Manager visa. As you might expect, you must first determine the type of position your job will demand. The executive capacity visa is somewhat easier to get, and those who apply might want to consider the criteria of you job as see if it fits with that category.

First let’s distinguish between the criteria for managerial and executive positions: differences.
• Do people report directly to you and do you have the capacity to hire and fire? If so you will probably be classified as a manager.
• Do you have a great deal of capacity in decision making with respect to the goals and policies of the company? Then you will probably be classified as an executive, even though employees may report to you.

So, the essential difference is that managers manage people and executives manage the organization or project. There is a slight catch: some positions may be classified as managerial but do not involve any subordinate employees. This may sound curious, but immigration law doesn’t taken number of reporting employees into account when determining applicant status. Nevertheless, these managers operate at a high level of functioning in the corporation even without have broad decision making capacity.

In this sounds like you, you can apply for an L-1 as a “function manager.” The difference here is that a function manager may only supervise other supervisors, i.e., not employees directly, yet retain executive status. Additionally, the function manager must work in a capacity that involves an essential function of the organization, especially one in which he or she has some power to make decisions regarding the direction of the company.

Keep in mind that L-1 visas have come under scrutiny by the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services. If you are considering applying for one, have your company speak to a qualified attorney.