L-1 Visa (Intra-company Transferee)
- L-1 is a nonimmigrant visa which allows a foreign qualified employee of a multinational company to enter the U.S. as a temporary nonimmigrant to work for the company’s U.S. parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary, or to establish a new U.S. office.
- The petitioner must be a qualifying organization that is seeking to temporarily transfer a foreign employee at one of its foreign operations to the U.S. The petitioner may be the U.S. employer or the foreign employer.
- Beneficiaries may file petition for permanent residence (“dual intent”) without jeopardizing their status or visa petitions at U.S. consular offices abroad.
- The L-1 visa nonimmigrant classification has two subcategories:
L-1A: intra-company transferee executives or managers
L-1B: professional employees with specialized knowledge
- The alien must demonstrate that he or she is coming to the United States to perform temporary services for qualifying organization.
- The alien must qualify in an executive or managerial capacity, or in a specialized knowledge capacity.
Requirements for the Employer:
- Have a relationship with a foreign company as parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch of the company; and
- Currently or prospectively be actively engaged in providing goods and/or services in both the U.S. and abroad with employees in both countries, and this engagement must be direct or through a parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay.
- Additional requirements for new offices:
1) The employer has secured sufficient physical premises to house the new office; and
2) The employer has the financial ability to support the executive, managerial or specialized knowledge position within one year of the approval of the petition.
Requirements for L-1A:
- The named employee must generally have been working for a qualifying organization abroad for 1 continuous year within the 3 years immediately preceding his or her admission to the U.S.; and
- Be seeking to enter the U.S for the purpose of providing service in an executive or managerial capacity for a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.
Executive capacity generally refers to:
- Make decisions of wide latitude without much oversight.
Managerial capacity generally refers to:
- Supervise and control the work of professional employees;
- Manage the organization, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the organization;
- Run an essential function of the organization at a high level, without direct supervision of others.
Requirements for L-1B:
- The employee must generally have been working for a qualifying organization abroad for 1 continuous year within the 3 years immediately preceding his or her admission to the U.S.; and
- Be seeking to enter the U.S. to provide services in a specialized knowledge capacity to a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.
Specialized knowledge means:
- Special knowledge possessed by an individual of the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets;
- Advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures.
Period of Stay:
- Qualified employees entering the United States to establish a new office will be allowed a maximum initial stay of one year. All other qualified employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of three years.
- Requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to an additional two years, until the employee has reached the maximum limit (7 years for L-1A and 5 years for L-1B).
Change of Employment:
- Change of Employment is allowed.
- If there is a material change in the terms of conditions of employment (including an employer), a new nonimmigrant worker petition must be filed with the USCIS requesting an approval of the change.
Family of L-1 visa holder:
- L-1 visa holders’ spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age qualify for L-2 visas.
- During their stay in the U.S., the family members may engage in employment.