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L-1 Intracompany Transferee

The L-1 visa is similar to the H-1B visa but it is reserved for intracompany transferees who are entering the United States to further the business needs of foreign or multinational corporations. This visa allows foreign workers to relocate to the corporation’s offices in the United States after working abroad for the company for at least one continuous year, within the previous three years prior to being admitted to the U.S.

The L-1 Visa Process

In order to be granted nonimmigrant status under the L-1 visa the petition (Form I-129 and L supplement) must be submitted by the employer and approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). There are two types of L-1 visas. The L-1A visa is for employees that are at the managerial or executive level, and the L-1B visa is for employees with “specialized knowledge.”

Requirements for an L-1 Visa

In order to obtain an L-1 visa certain requirements must be met.

The foreign national must have been employed continuously abroad for one of the past three years by a parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of a U.S. company preceding his application for admission.

Employment must be by a firm, corporation, or other legal entity or its parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary.

The company must be a qualifying organization which is doing business in the United States and one other country during the whole period of the transfer.

The foreign national is not required to perform full-time services in the United States but must dedicate a significant portion of his time to the company.

The foreign national’s employment at the overseas company must be as a manager, executive, or an employee with specialized knowledge in the United States.

Specialized knowledge is defined as, “special knowledge of the company product or its application in international markets or… an advanced level of knowledge of processes and procedures of the company.”

Length of Time for an L-1 Visa

L-1 visa holders are granted up to a three year stay and can extend up to seven years for managers or five years for visa holders with specialized knowledge.

The L-1 Visa Holder’s Family

The spouse of the L-1 visa holder and their unmarried children under the age of 21 are admitted to the United States in the L-2 category. The L-1 visa holder spouse can obtain employment authorization once he or she enters the United States allowing him or her to work in the U.S.

The L-1 Visa Cap/Quota

Unlike the H-1B visa the L-1 visa is not subject to a quota limitation.

L-1 Visa allows for Dual Intent

The L-1 visa is considered a “dual intent visa”. Meaning that the visa holder may be able to pursue permanent residency in the United States while they are a holder of the L-1 visa. However, the L-1 visa holder must intend to depart the United States upon completion of his or her authorized stay if their status does not adjust. The company must submit an affirmation that the transferee will temporarily depart the United States upon completion of his or her authorized stay.

Contact Our Firm to Speak With a Lawyer

If you are an employer or employee wishing to obtain an L-1 Intracompany Transferee visa our attorneys want to help you. Call our Boston, Massachusetts, office at 617-426-8100 or send an email for a confidential meeting.

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