Home General Everything You Need to Know About the L-1 Work Visa

Everything You Need to Know About the L-1 Work Visa

by Olufisayo
L-1 Work Visa

The L-1 visa is commonly known as an intra-company transfer visa. The nonimmigrant visa allows multinational companies to transfer their employees to the United States. Large companies who have offices in different countries can utilize the L1 intra-company work visa.

Many people come to the United States to work for a subsidiary, affiliate, parent, or branch of a multinational company. The L-1 visa is a popular solution for employees of a U.S. company working in foreign countries. However, they need to meet certain requirements to obtain the L-1 visa.

In this blog, we will talk about the L-1 visa in detail including its eligibility requirements, types, the application process, and more.

What is an L-1 Visa?

The United States Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) provides L1 visas to multinational companies who want to send their employees to the United States. They may already have an office in the United States or want to establish a new branch in the country.

In addition, unmarried children and spouses of L1 visa holders can come to the United States on an L2 visa. Under the L2 visa, they can get a work permit or enroll in U.S. schools.

Types of L-1 Visa

Depending on the work type, there are two types of this visa.

The L-1A

This type is introduced for managers and executives. It allows multinational companies to move foreign managers and executives to their offices in the U.S. A company can also use the L1-A visa to relocate a manager or executive to establish an office in the United States.

The USCIS offers the L1-A visa for a period of three years. However, it can be extended for up to two years at a time. The maximum length of the L1-A visa is 7 years in total.

The L-1B

The L1-B visa is introduced for employees with specialized knowledge of produces, systems, techniques, research, or procedures. Similar to the L1-A visa, the L1-B visa also allows employers to transfer their employees to open a new branch in the U.S.

Normally, this visa is issued for a period of three years. However, it can be extended to a maximum of 5 years.

L-1 Visa Requirements

For the Employee

  • Within the last three years, the L1 visa candidate must have worked for the company for at least one continuous year.
  • The L1 visa applicant should have worked in a specialized knowledge capacity, or a manager or executive position. Moreover, they must be coming to the United States to work in the same capacity.
  • The applicant must have an intention to move back to their home country after the expiry of their L1 visa.
  • During their stay in the United States as an L1 visa holder, they must work for the same company through they entered the country.

For the Employer

  • The company making the L1 visa petition must have a qualifying relationship with the United States company where the L1 visa holder will work. It can be a sister company, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary.
  • As an employer, the company must be doing business in the U.S. and at least one other country. For companies that are not working in the U.S. must have plans to establish their office in the country.

Requirements to Set up a New Office

A multinational company that wants to apply for the L1 visa to move employees to set up a new office in the U.S. needs to meet certain conditions.

  • Firstly, they need to give proof they have obtained a physical space in the United States to establish their office.
  • Secondly, they need to prove their financial capability to operate their business. Moreover, they must be able to pay the salary of L1 visa holders during their stay in the country.

L-1 Visa Charges

  • $460 – visa filing fee
  • $500 – fraud prevention and detection fee
  • $190 – consular processing fee
  • $1440 – premium processing fee (optional)

L-1 Visa Benefits

The L1 visa offers a range of benefits for both the employer and the employee. A few prominent features include:

Easy Eligibility Criteria

In comparison to other non-immigrant visas, the L1 visa has fewer eligibility requirements. For instance, the H1-B visa requires at least a bachelor’s degree. Moreover, they choose candidates via a lottery system. Few other non-immigrant visas are available for certain countries only such as the TN visa is limited to Mexicans and Canadians.

Gladly, there is no such requirement for an L1 visa. You only need to be a manager or executive or have a specialized knowledge position.

Family Members Can Come as Well

Thankfully, L1 visa holders can bring their unmarried children under 21 and their legal spouses to the United States. The USCIS issues the L2 visa to dependents of L1 visa holders.

If you have an L2 children’s visa, you can enroll in a school. The L2 spouse visa allows you to obtain a work permit.

Dual Intent

Being a dual intent visa, the L1 visa holders can apply for the Green Card. Few other visas such as TN and H1B are not dual intent which limits you to apply for permanent residence.

No Quota Limit

One of the exciting things about this visa is no limit on the number of visas issued in a year. Many other visas have an annual quota such as the H1-B visa has a maximum quota of 85,000 visas per year. No quota limit allows you to apply any time of the year.

L-1 Work VisaRichard Herman is a nationally renowned immigration lawyer, author, and activist.  He has dedicated his life to advocating for immigrants and helping change the conversation on immigration.  He is the founder of the Herman Legal Group, an immigration law firm launched in 1995 and recognized in U.S. World News & Report’s “Best Law Firms in America.”  He is the co-author of the acclaimed book, Immigrant, Inc. —Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy (John Wiley & Sons, 2009).  Richard’s poignant commentary has been sought out by many national media outlets, including TheNew York Times, USA Today, BusinessWeek, Forbes, FOX News (The O’Reilly Factor), National Public Radio, Inc., National Lawyers Weekly, PC World, Computerworld, CIO, TechCrunch, Washington Times, San Francisco Chronicle and InformationWeek.

Photo by Nicole Geri on Unsplash

Related Articles