L-1 Visa for Intracompany Transferees — Managers/Executives and Specialized Knowledge

L-1 visa includes to sub-categories, i.e. L-1A and L-1B. L-1A visa is issued to the aliens who worked abroad in a managerial or executive capacity, and L-1B visa is issued to the aliens who possess specialized knowledge. They will work in the U.S. in one of these capacities. They are assigned by their foreign company to work for the same, subsidiary or affiliated company in the U.S.


What is Required for L-1 Visa

Employers for Which the L-1 Employees Worked before and Will Work in the U.S.  To qualify for L-1 visa, there must be qualified organizations (employers) both abroad and in the U.S. such as a firm, corporation or other legal entity or its affiliate or subsidiary, including profit, nonprofit, religious charitable organizations. The organization must conduct regular business. The two organizations must have the required ownership and controlling relations. In the case of parent company and subsidiary, such relationship exists where the subsidiary is (1) a firm, corporation, or other legal entities of which a parent company owns more than 50% and controls the entities; (2) a 50-50 joint venture company in which the parent company owns 50% of the entity and has equal control and veto power over the entity; or (3) a firm, corporation, or other legal entity of which parent company owns less than 50% of the entity, but in fact controls the entity. The parent company can be an overseas company, and the subsidiary is a U.S. entity; or vice versa.

L-1 Employee. During the three years prior to the L-1 visa application or change of status, The L-1 Employee who will be transferred to the U.S. company must have worked for the overseas company for one year (1 of the 3 years). He or she must work in the capacity that is managerial, executive or involves specialized knowledge, and will continue to perform the similar duties in the U.S.

Distinction between L-1 Transferees and H-1B Professional Workers. L-1 transferees are persons who have the managerial or executive work experience, ability and skill, Bachelor degree is not key factor for their qualification. However, H-1B is for professionals in a specialty occupation, therefore, bachelor degree or its equivalent is a must.


Distinction between L-1 Multinational Executives and Managers and Immigrant EB-1C Multinational Executives and Managers

L-1 visa is a nonimmigrant category which authorizes only a limited period of stay in the U.S. EB-1C is the employment-based first preference immigrant category, which enable alien to stay permanently in the U.S. If the L-1 visa holder’s companies are doing business on the regular, systematic, and continuous basis, he or she can seek to apply for immigrant visa/green card on this basis. Click EB-1C Multinational Executives and Managers for more information about this category.

Dual Intent of L-1 Multinational Executives and Managers. As an L-1 visa holder, he or she can have the immigrant intent at the time of application. Such intent should not be the ground of denial of his or her visa application.


Length of Stay, Extension, Change and Adjustment of Status

The maximum period for L-1A (performing the duty in managerial or executive capacity) is seven years, for L-1B (performing the duty of specialized knowledge) is five years. If the U.S. company is a new office, the L-1 is granted for one year. The employer can petition for extension of status prior to the expiration date. L-1 visa holder can apply for change to F-1 student, H-1B professional workers and other nonimmigrant categories, and seek adjustment of status in the U.S.

Family Members (spouse/children). They can accompany or follow to join the L-1 transferees in the L-2 visa.  Spouse of L-1 visa holder can work with USCIS employment authorization.