The L-1 visa allows an American company to transfer employees working abroad at a parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch of the American company to the United States
More Information About the Process
In order to qualify for this type of visa, the employee must have worked:
- for at least one year, full-time for the company abroad;
- in either a managerial/executive capacity or a specialized knowledge capacity; and
- must be transferring to the US also in a managerial/executive capacity or specialized knowledge capacity.
Unlike the H-1B (specialty worker) visa, there is no lottery or limit to the number of L-1 applications the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can approve each year. Furthermore, the length of time that these visas will be valid varies, as L-1A multinational managers are eligible for a total of seven years of L-1 status while L-1B specialized knowledge employees can get a total of five years of L-1 status. For the most part however, L-1s are typically granted for an initial three year period with two year extensions thereafter. The exception being for new office Ls - that is a US company that has been operational and doing business for less than a year at the time of filing the L-1. New office L-1 applications are limited to an initial year, but are eligible for two year extensions if they continue to merit qualification for L-1 status.
Frequently asked questions about L-1 Intra Company Transfers Visa
1. Must I transfer to the US in the same capacity as I was abroad?
No. If you were a manager/executive abroad, you can transfer to the US in a specialized knowledge capacity. Conversely, if you are in a specialized knowledge capacity abroad, you can transfer as a manager/executive.
2. How many offices must there be in the US and abroad to qualify for the L-1?
There must be at least one company abroad and one company in the US that have a qualifying relationship – parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch relationship that can be demonstrated.
3. I started out in a specialized knowledge role in the US, but was promoted to a managerial role. Can I get the additional two years in L-1 status?
Generally, yes, assuming all other requirements are met.
4. If I was in a specialized knowledge position abroad, but was transferred to, or am now in, a managerial role, can I bypass the Permanent Labor Certification process?
No, the requirement is that you are in a managerial/executive position abroad and also in the US.
5. Can I change employers while on the L-1?
No. The L-1 is employer specific, so unless you qualified for and received another type of authorization to stay and work in the US, you would need to leave the US once your employment ended.
Why should you hire Mamann, Sandaluk & Kingwell to represent you?
The Trump administration has made it more challenging than ever to get an L-1, making it more difficult than ever to file an L-1 petition without the assistance of experienced immigration legal counsel. Our processing team has experienced counsel who can assist to ensure that any concerns are addressed and that your application is successful.