The L-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa category that allows multinational companies to transfer certain employees from their foreign offices to their U.S.-based offices. It is designed to facilitate the temporary transfer of key personnel within multinational organizations, promoting the growth and expansion of international businesses.
There are two types of L-1 visas:
L-1A Visa: This visa is for executives or managers who are being transferred to the United States to work in a managerial or executive capacity. To qualify for an L-1A visa, the employee must have been employed by the foreign company in a managerial or executive position for at least one continuous year within the three years preceding the visa application.
L-1B Visa: This visa is for employees with specialized knowledge who are being transferred to the United States. Specialized knowledge refers to knowledge that is unique or advanced and specific to the company's products, services, research, techniques, or management.
Key features of the L-1 visa include:
Employer Qualifications: The U.S. employer must have a qualifying relationship with the foreign company, such as being a parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch.
Job Offer: The employee must have a job offer from the U.S. company, and the position must be in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity.
Duration: The initial period of stay for an L-1 visa holder is typically up to three years. Extensions are possible, but the total stay cannot exceed five years for L-1B visa holders or seven years for L-1A visa holders.
Dual Intent: L-1 visa holders are allowed to have dual intent, meaning they can pursue lawful permanent residency (green card) while in the United States on an L-1 visa.
Spouse and Dependents: L-1 visa holders can bring their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 to the United States under the L-2 visa category. Spouses may also be eligible for work authorization.
Applying for an L-1 visa involves submitting a petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by the employer. The petition must include supporting documentation to establish the qualifying relationship between the foreign and U.S. companies, the employee's qualifications, and the job offer.
Navigating the L-1 visa process can be complex, as it requires meeting specific eligibility criteria and providing thorough documentation. The Immigration Law Firm of Marcin Muszynski, Esq. can assist you in preparing a strong and compelling petition.