L-1 Visa Description
- The L-1 visa for intra-company transfers allows executives, managers, and employees with specialized skills to transfer from the foreign company to a U.S. office, subsidiary, or affiliated company to perform temporary services.
L-1 Visa Processing Time
- USCIS usually decides L-1 Visa petitions in 30-60 days.
- L-1 visas are granted initially for 1 to three years with extensions available in three-year increments, with a total stay not to exceed seven years.
Permission to Work in the U. S.
- The intra-company transferee is allowed to work for the U.S. subsidiary or affiliate company.
Includes Spouse & Children (L-2 Visas)
- The spouse and children under 21 are allowed to accompany the L-1 visa holder during the period of the transferee status. The Spouse may receive work authorization.
Conversion to Permanent Residence
- In limited circumstances, it may be possible to convert the L-1 visa for executives and managers to lawful permanent residence status.
L-1 Visa Requirements:
- The L-1 Visa applicant must have been employed by the foreign “parent company” for at least twelve months during the three year period immediate prior to filing the L-1 visa application.
Capacity Of Employment (Past)
- The L-1 Visa applicant must have been employed as an executive, manager, or as a specialized skill worker for a minimum of twelve months during the three years immediately preceding the filing of the L-1 visa petition.
Capacity of Employment (Future)
- The L-1 Visa applicant must be employed as an executive, manager, or as a specialized skill worker for the same company, or its U.S. subsidiary or affiliate.
- The current (foreign) and prospective (U.S.) companies must be either the same company, or related by subsidiary or affiliate ownership.
Seven year Limitation
- L-1 visas may not be extended beyond a total of seven years.
New employees Excluded
- New employees may not be transferred prior to serving one year abroad as an executive, manager, or specialized skill employee of the foreign parent company.
Foreign Company’s Existence
- There must be continual existence of the foreign company during the transferee’s stay in the U.S.
Employment for Dependents
- The spouse and children of the L-1 Visa holder are allowed to reside in the U.S. The Spouse may receive work authorization. There is currently no work authorization provision for children (just spouses).
Intra – Company Relations Continue
- L-1 visa holders may remain only as long as the U.S. company qualifies as the same company or subsidiary or affiliate status with the foreign company.
Documents Needed to Begin Application
L-1 Visa Petition Requirements.
- A U.S. employer or foreign employer may file the L-1 Visa petition, but a foreign employer must have a legal business entity in the U.S. The L-1 Visa petition must be filed with:
- Evidence of the qualifying relationship between the U.S. and foreign employer based on ownership and control, such as:
- An annual report
- Articles of incorporation
- Financial statements
- Copies of stock certificates
- A letter from the foreign national’s foreign qualifying employer detailing his/her:
- Dates of employment
- Job duties
- Proof that the alien worked for the employer for at least one continuous year in the three-year period preceding the filing of the petition in an executive, managerial or specialized knowledge capacity
- A description of the proposed job duties, qualifications and evidence the proposed employment is in an executive, managerial or specialized knowledge capacity
- If the foreign national is coming to the U.S. to open a new office, also file the petition with copies of evidence the business entity in the U.S.:
- Already has sufficient premises to house the new office
- Has, or upon establishment will have, the qualifying relationship to the foreign employer
- Has the financial ability to remunerate the alien and to begin doing business in the U.S., including evidence about:
- The size of the U.S. investment
- The organizational structure of both firms
- The financial size and condition of the foreign employer
- And, if the alien is coming as an L-1 manager or executive to open a new office, such evidence must establish that the intended U.S. operation will support the executive or managerial position within one year.
Blanket L-1 Visa Petition Requirements
- An L-1 Visa blanket petition simplifies the process of later filing for individual L-1A visa workers and L-1B visa workers.
- These are persons who possess specialized knowledge employed in positions which require the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge to fully perform the occupation and require completion of a specific course of education culminating in a baccalaureate degree in a specific occupational specialty.
- A blanket L-1 Visa petition must be filed by a U.S. employer who will be the single representative between USCIS and the qualifying organizations. File the petition with copies of evidence that:
- You and your branches, subsidiaries and affiliates are engaged in commercial trade or services;
- You have an office in the U.S. that has been doing business for one year or more;
- You have 3 or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates;
- You and your qualifying organizations have obtained approved petitions for at least 10 “L” managers, executives or specialized knowledge professionals during the previous 12 months, have U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of at least 25 million dollars, or have a U.S. work force of at least 1,000 employees.
- After approval of a blanket petition, you may file for individual employees to enter as an L-1A alien or L-1B specialized knowledge professional under the blanket petition. The petition must be filed with:
- A copy of the approval notice for the blanket petition;
- A letter from the alien’s foreign qualifying employer detailing his/her dates of employment, job duties, qualifications, and salary for the 3 previous years; and
- If the alien is a specialized knowledge professional, a copy of a U.S. degree, a foreign degree equivalent to a U.S. degree, or evidence establishing the combination of the beneficiary’s education and experience is the equivalent of a U.S. degree.