The L-1 visa or “Intracompany Transferee” is a non-immigrant visa, which allows companies operating both in the United States, and abroad, to transfer certain classes of employee, in the managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge, to U.S. subsidiaries.
Even though L-1 visa was created for large multinational companies, it allows a start-up foreign company, which does not yet have a U.S. subsidiary, to expand its business and services. With the aim of creating a branch or subsidiary, a skilled executive or manager may enter the United States to set up a new office and will be eligible for a maximum stay of one year.
The employee must have worked at one of the locations of the corresponding American company, for at least a year out of the last three.
There are two types of classification for the L-1 visa:
- Managers and Executives: L -1A visa
L-1A visa is issued to people who have been employed for at least 1 out of 3 years, with managerial duties in a foreign corporate office. L-1A visa is granted for a period of three years, which can be extended for other two up to a maximum of seven years. L-1A creates a direct path to permanent residency.
- Employees specializing Office: L- 1B visa
L-1B is designed for employees considered skilled people with “specialized knowledge” that is with an advanced level of knowledge of products, services, research, management, or procedures and its applications in international markets.
It has become progressively more difficult to obtain L-1 Visas. If you petition was denied, you have the option of filing an immigration appeal.
Some large multi-national companies that are frequent users of the L-1 preference establish in advance an intra-companies relationship, through the “L-1 Blanket Petition Program“. The approval of a Blanket Petition does not warrant an official L-1 classification.
Spouses and children (unmarried and below 21 years of age) of the L-1 visa holders may seek admission through an L-2 visa, granted for the same period of residence of the worker. The spouse may apply for work authorization.
L-1 Visa holder must abide the conditions on their Visa. If they do not, they are subject to removal proceedings, which would require assistance of a defense lawyer.