Intra-Company Transferee Visa
The L1 visa or “Intracompany Transferee” facilitates the transfer of certain classes of employees, in managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacities, to U.S. branches or subsidiaries.
Even though L1 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 in the United States. An executive, manager or specialized employee may be allowed to enter the United States to set up a new office, and be eligible for a maximum stay of one year.
The employee must have worked for subsidiary, affiliate, or parent company for at least a year out of the last three. Even if it is not mandatory to have a full-time job, the employee must dedicate a significant portion of time to the company while in the U.S. The worker can be employed outside the U.S. and still receive the visa for coming to the U.S. to work on a short-term basis.
The employer must submit the proper form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) and demonstrate that the employee is necessary for business operations.
Some large multi-national companies that are frequent L1 Visa users can establish in advance an intra-company relationship, through the “L-1 Blanket Petition Program”.
Eligibility may be granted if the company demonstrates one of the following:
- has obtained at least 10 L1 Visa approvals during the previous 12 months period;
- has subsidiaries or affiliates in the United States with a combined annual revenue of at least $ 25,000,000; or
- has a workforce in the United States of at least 1,000 employees.
There are two L-1 Visa classifications:
Managers and Executives: L-1A visa
L-1A visas are issued to people who have been employed for at least 1 out of 3 years, with managerial duties in a foreign corporate office. The 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.
Under this classification the petitioner must demonstrate to have:
- Executive capacity, which is the ability to take decisions of wide spectrum, without the supervision of others.
- Managerial capacity, which is administrating the work of the employees and running an essential function at high-level, without the direct supervision of others.
An L-1A visa holders may apply for a permanent residency and can obtain an EB-1 Green Card without the certification of the Department of Labor (Labor Certification).
Specialized Employees: L-1B visa
The L-1B visa is thought for skilled employees with “specialized knowledge” or an advanced level of knowledge of products, services, research, management, or procedures and its applications in international markets.
The L-1B is granted for three years, extendable for another 2-year period. The L-1B is a dual intent visa, but does not create a direct path to the Green Card.
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.
As a New York Immigration Attorney, I have helped many Companies file L1 Visa petitions for Managers and Specialized Employees. I am also one of the very few immigration lawyers with direct experience with U.S. Business Visas. Before becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident, I was myself a business investor, and held the E-2 Treaty Investor status.
Contact an Immigration Attorney in New York for assistance with L-1 Visa petitions