The L Visa applies to foreign workers who are employed by a company with a branch, subsidiary or affiliate in the U.S. These workers come to the U.S. as intra-company transferees who are coming temporarily to perform work in either:

  • a managerial or executive capacity, or
  • a position that requires specialized knowledge.

To qualify, the employee must have been employed abroad on a full-time basis for at least one continuous year of the last three years.  There is currently no annual cap on L-1 visas and the visa is issued for 3 years.  In cases where the foreign entity opens a new branch, subsidiary or affiliate in the US, the L Visa is only issued for one year and must be extended thereafter.  There is a 7-year maximum for managerial or executive workers and a 5-year maximum for foreign workers with specialized knowledge.

An L Visa allows dual-intent.  An L Visa holder can therefore pursue permanent residency without jeopardizing the ability to file for an extension of the L status.

E visa

The E Visa category is only available to those who are nationals of countries that have a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation or a Bilateral Investment Treaty with the US (for a full list please click here).  The Treaty Trader Visa (E-1) is based on substantial trade between the US and the country of nationality.  The Treaty Investor Visa (E-2) is based on a substantial investment in an ongoing, operating enterprise.  Some countries have either E-1 or E-2 Treaties, but not both.  Essential employees from the treaty countries are also eligible for E Visa status.  Those who hold an E Visa may stay in the U.S. for as long as they maintain their position with the enterprise.

EB-5 Visa Program

The EB-5 visa program allows entrepreneurs (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) who make an investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States and who plan to create or preserve ten permanent full time jobs for qualified United States workers to apply for a green card (permanent residence). By investing in certain qualified investments or regional centers with high unemployment rates, the required investment amount can be as low as $500,000.

Business Immigration

Our firm assists companies and individuals obtain nonimmigrant and immigrant visas based on employment and investments.   We also offer other immigration services.  For more information with other immigration issues, please visit our sister website here.

US Corporate, Partnership and Business Law

We represent clients in virtually every area of general corporate, partnership, and business law.  The services we provide include advice regarding the type of business entity to establish, drafting of business documents such as employment contracts, and maintaining corporate books.

We emphasize high-quality, cost-effective service for businesses and entrepreneurs. We offer personalized attention to the needs of our clients, providing a full spectrum of services including representation in civil and administrative litigation, business consultation, review and drafting of contracts, including leases, financing agreements, asset purchases and sales and business restructuring and reorganization.

We will help you and your business with all your transactional legal needs including:

  • Setting up and organizing Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies (LLC), and Corporations;
  • Negotiating and preparing legal agreements, including buy-out agreements, employment agreements, and purchase and sales agreements;
  • Providing written legal opinions where appropriate;
  • Negotiating commercial and business financing, leases, and other agreements

Lebanese Probate, Estate and Family Laws

We render legal assistance to Americans of Middle Eastern origin in family and probate matters and business transactions. We work closely with our clients to select the legal formula that works in their best interest, while considering all possible venues and issues, which might arise out of the conflict of law.

International Law

We provide American businesses interested in doing business in the Middle East with legal, business advisory, and consulting services designed to facilitate success in their chosen business or investment.

We assist American law firms in the following:

  • Litigation and arbitration
  • Execution of judgments against foreign defendants
  • Accessing assets of judgment debtors in Europe, Lebanon and the rest of the Middle East


We represent foreign business and government entities in the United States, including representation rights, contracts, business negotiations and arbitration.

We work closely with foreign counsel to enforce money judgments in the United States. We also assist in various commercial transactions throughout Europe and the Middle East, working with local counsel on each transaction.



Wafa J. Hoballah, attorney at law, has over twenty years of experience representing clients across the globe in business, commercial and corporate law. She has developed a unique practice in which she tailors her services to the clients need in branching to the United States. She has worked with clients from Europe, the Middle East, West Africa, and Vietnam, focusing on major aspects of international business transactions, negotiations, due diligence investigations, development, financing, and joint ventures. Ms. Hoballah’s practice focuses on international investments and investment and employment based immigration.

Ms. Hoballah is an expert on U.S. Lebanese Comparative laws including religious laws as applied by the Lebanese courts. Her domestic practice focuses on assisting Lebanese Nationals with family, probate and estate matters particularly as it relates to religious and civil laws and its compatibility with local United State laws.

Ms. Hoballah also has an expertise in US Immigration and Nationality Law. Combining her personal and legal experience with her cultural background, she provides legal services sensitive to the ethnic, business and cultural needs of the community including, U.S Permanent Residency based on business and investments specifically EB-5, Political Asylum and Violence against Women Act petitions (VAWA).

Wafa Hoballah has been a keynote speaker and featured panelist on a broad range of topics at conferences, organizational meetings and special delegations, including The NGO Committee on the Status of Women, U.N., Human Trafficking, Kazakhstan Delegation, Comparative Law at the Ministry of Justice, Oman, Department of State’s International Information Programs, Developing Marketing and Business Plans, Pskov, Russia, A Platform for Business and Investment, Annual Africa Growth Conference at UCLA Anderson. Ms. Hoballah has also authored The Visa Processing Guild & Consular Posts Handbook Chapter on Lebanon in 2006/2007 and 2007/2008.

Ms. Hoballah is admitted to practice law in New York, District of Columbia and Lebanon. She received her LL.M. from the University of The Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law of California, a diploma in International Private Law from the University of Salzburg, School of Law, a License en Droit (JD) from the Lebanese University Faculty of Law, and her B.A. from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.


University of The Pacific’s McGeorge, School of Law of California, L.L.M.
University of Salzburg, School of Law, Diploma, International Private Law
Lebanese University, Faculty of Law, J.D.
American University of Beirut, Lebanon, B.A.

Bar Admissions

New York, Appellate Divisions of the Supreme Courts, Attorney at Law Admitted January 1998
District of Columbia Bar, Admitted 2012
Beirut Bar, Lebanon, Attorney at Law Admitted February 1982

Professional Bar Associations

New York State Bar Association
Los Angeles County Bar Association, International & Immigration sections
American Immigration Lawyers Association
International Bar Association, Business, International Trade, Human Rights sections
Arab American Lawyers Association of Southern California

Organizations / Affiliations

Chair, Member, Board of Directors, Los Angeles Beirut Sister Cities Committee
Chair, Board of Directors, International Visitors Council of Los Angeles, Past President
Member, Board of Directors, Lebanese American Foundation, Los Angeles, California, 1999-Present, Secretary-Executive Committee
Member, Community Based Organizations Committee, a program sponsored by DHS/USCIS to promote better relations between local communities and the District Offices
Member, Advisory Board, Refugee Safe Haven Shelter for Victims of Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence, Los Angeles, California
Member, Board of Directors, Lebanese Ladies Cultural Society established to “Fulfill a Child’s Dream through Education”, Los Angeles, California
Member, Advisory Board, von Grunebaum Center for Near Center Eastern Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

Bassel Cheaib

Bassel Cheaib is Of-Counsel to the Law Offices of Wafa J. Hoballah in contentious and non-contentious matters related to Middle Eastern and European Law. Mr. Cheaib completed his university education in Beirut where he obtained his law degree (L.L.B.) from the Sagesse University (in collaboration with the University of Montpellier-France), with a specialization in business law. He also studied in France where he graduated with a D.E.A. (the equivalent of a US Masters Degree) in Commercial Contracts from the University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines. Currently he is working on his Ph.D. thesis entitled “Concentration & Corporation” with the University of Paris II Pantheon-Assas. Mr. Cheaib began practicing law in 1999 when he registered before the Beirut Bar Association. Since then he has practiced in the areas of international business law and commercial law, with a focus on corporate law, finance law and mergers and acquisitions.

Leslie Mahley

Leslie Mahley

Since joining the firm in 2010, Leslie Mahley has successfully represented clients in all areas of U.S. immigration law, with a focus on Family-Based Permanent Residency, Non-Immigrant Employment Based Visas (E, H, L, J, O, TN), and humanitarian-based relief such as asylum, relief under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and T and U visas.


Ms. Mahley regularly represents couples in the complicated process of obtaining spousal petitions and adjustment of status applications.  She guides clients from the beginning, when filing petitions, through the green card interview, and subsequent removal of condition process. She has also assisted many same sex couples through this process since the US Supreme Court overturned DOMA.


In employment based immigration, Ms. Mahley specializes in representing small to mid-sized companies and growing startups in obtaining visas for highly qualified workers and executives.


Ms. Mahley has a strong record of giving back and in 2013-2014, served as a Pro Bono liaison with American Immigration Lawyers Association and currently serves as Chair of the Pro Bono Committee.  She often represents clients pro bono in their humanitarian based immigration cases.


Ms. Mahley was honored by the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, for her work to provide pro bono legal services to individuals detained and placed in removal proceedings during Immigration and Customs Enforcement workplace raids.


Ms. Mahley obtained an undergraduate degree in Urban and Environmental Policy from Occidental College and her JD from UCLA School of Law. While attending UCLA, Ms. Mahley volunteered with the Los Angeles County Public Defenders Office, The California Appellate Project in San Francisco, and the HIV and AIDS Legal Services Alliance. Ms. Mahley was admitted to the California State Bar in 2009.



University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law, J.D. 2009


Occidental College, B.S., Urban & Environmental Policy


Bar Admissions




Organizations / Publications / Speaking Engagements


Los Angeles County Bar Immigration Legal Assistance Project

Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA) Immigration Section

LACBA Law Day 2014 Featured Speaker: “Immigration Petitions for Same Sex Bi-national Couples”

American Immigration Lawyers Association

Lesbian & Gay Lawyers Association of Los Angeles