What is an L-1 Visa Designed For

An L-1 Nonimmigrant Visa is designed to be accessible to U.S. employers desiring to transfer employees from a foreign branch, affiliate, parent company, or related corporation to work at a related U.S. entity.

Before an employee gets an approval they must have been employed with the organization outside of the U.S. for at least one continuous year in the preceding three years at a qualifying foreign entity.

There are two visa classifications under the L-1 Visa:

  • L-1A - Intracompany Transferee for Executives or Managers
  • L-1B: Intracompany Transferee for Employees with Specialized Knowledge

Both visa categories have their eligibility requirements.

Understanding the L-1 Visa

The L-1 Visa is for foreign nationals who have worked overseas for a foreign affiliate of the sponsoring U.S. entity in an executive or managerial capacity. Executive capacity refers to the employee’s ability to make significant decisions without much oversight. Managerial capacity entails the employee’s ability to supervise and direct the work of other employees and manage the organization or department, subdivision, function or other component of the organization.

Additional requirements for the L-1 visa include the following:

  • Candidates for an L-1 Visa must have worked at a related entity abroad for at least 12 consecutive months out of the previous three years at the time of application
  • The job position must be in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity for a parent company, branch, subsidiary or affiliate of the same employer
  • There needs to be a qualifying working relationship with a foreign company such as a parent company, branch, subsidiary or affiliate

Furthermore, if the executive or manager’s intentions for travel is to open a new office in the U.S. the following conditions must be met:

  • The employer has secured the physical office location
  • The job candidate must have executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity
  • The executive or manager has been employed in that particular position for one continuous year in the years prior to the filing of the petition

Within one year of the L-1Visa having been approved the U.S. office will then support an executive or managerial position.

How Long is an L-1A Visa Valid For?

An L-1 visa has an initial period of stay of three years. Individuals can apply for renewals and may receive two extensions granted in two year increments. This signifies that persons on an L-1 visa can remain in the U.S. for a total of seven years.

It’s very significant to note that an L-1A could have more than one, two or even three extensions if the L-1A visa beneficiary travels outside of the U.S. They get to recover that time, meaning that someone could potentially stay in the U.S. for an even longer period of time. It is advised to speak to an Immigration Attorney.

When is Best to Speak to An Immigration Lawyer

Whether you are the foreigner seeking employment in the U.S. at an executive or managerial capacity or you are the U.S. employer seeking to sponsor the whole L-1 visa process to have an employee transfer into the U.S. it is recommendable to start by seeking an attorney’s advice. Call Gambacorta Law Office at 847 443 9303 to schedule an appointment or visit our website.