Immigration Law Firm

L Visas

Intracompany Transferee Nonimmigrant Visa (L):

The L visa allows an individual to transfer from a parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of a U.S. company abroad in order to work temporarily for the same organization in the U.S. The L visa is available for both managers and executives (L-1A) and employees working in a position requiring specialized knowledge (L-1B).

General Requirements Intracompany Transferees:

  • The individual must have worked abroad for the parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of the U.S. petitioning company within the three years preceding the application for admission. The individual must have worked for the company abroad for at least twelve months, but time spent in the U.S. does not necessarily interrupt the one year abroad requirement.
  • The individual must seek to enter the U.S. to work for the same employer or an affiliate, or subsidiary. Most businesses entities are eligible to petition for L employees, including, but not limited to, organizations, corporations, companies, partnerships, associations, trusts, foundations, or other permanent or temporary associations. The foreign and U.S. entities must be owned and controlled by a common group to be affiliated.
  • Full time employment is not required, but the employee must dedicate a significant portion of time on a regular and systematic basis.
  • Managers and executives (L-1A’s) must be assigned to positions that primarily involve managerial or executive authority, usually demonstrated by the authority to supervise and control the work of other supervisory, professional or managerial employees, usually has the authority to hire and fire or recommend personnel actions; and normally exercises discretion over day-to-day operations of the enterprise.
  • Specialized knowledge employees (L-1B’s) must possess special knowledge of the company’s product, service, research, equipment or techniques. These positions require more than a worker being merely skilled and usually involve knowledge that has been gained through extensive prior experience.

Procedural Aspects:

  • L employee petitions are initially approved for 3 years and thereafter for 2-year increments. Petitions based on new offices are approved for 1 year, and thereafter in 2-year increments.
  • Managerial and executive employees (L-1A’s) have a maximum stay of 7 years, whereas specialized knowledge employees (L-1BA’s) have a maximum stay of 5 years. Time spent outside of the United States may be recaptured and used to extend the individual’s time in the United States. When the temporal cap is reached the L-1 worker must remain outside the U.S. for one year before he or she can obtain another L-1 or H-1B visa.
  • Visa validity times vary greatly by country depending on the reciprocity schedule of the individual’s native country. Thus, employees from certain countries may need to renew their visas more frequently than others.
  • The derivative spouse and unmarried child under the age of 21 of the principal L-1 beneficiary may enter the U.S. for the same term as the principal L-1A or L-1B. Additionally, the L-2 may remain in the U.S. after the principal L-1 has departed if the L-2 has not reached the 5 or 7-year limitation. L-2 beneficiaries are eligible for employment authorization.
  • L-1’s enjoy dual intent. Thus, the individual may seek to immigrate to the United States permanently while in L-1 status and may travel while an adjustment of status application is pending.

Procedure:

  • The U.S. based parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary must file a petition on behalf of the foreign worker. Expedited processing is available for a fee.

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