L-1 Intra-Company Transferee
The L-1A visa enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States, while the L-1B visa allows transfer of a “specialized knowledge” employee. The L-1 visas may also be used by a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive, manager or specialized knowledge employee to the United States with the purpose of establishing a new office.
Similar to the H-1 B visa classification, the L-1 visas must be requested by the US employer on behalf of the employee with filing of Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Workerwith the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security.
1. Employer: US Company must have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate), and must currently be, or will be, doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States as an L-1 visa holder.
2. Employee/visa Beneficiary: must have been working for a parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate (in the foreign country) in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity for one continuous year within the three years immediately precedinghis or her admission to the United States, andbe seeking to enter the United States to be assigned to an executive or managerial role (L-1A) or specialized knowledge (L-1B) position.
(i) Executive capacity generally refers to the employee’s ability to make decisions of wide latitude without much oversight (CEO, President, Treasurer/CFO, COO, Member of the Board of Directors, etc.)
(ii) Managerial capacity generally refers to the ability of the employee to supervise and control the work of professional employees and to manage the organization, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the organization.
(iii) Specialized knowledgemeans either special knowledge possessed by an individual of the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures.
3. A detailed support letter should be provided mustering all of the required evidence.
Status duration: 7 years total for L-1A, 5 years total for L-1B. Initial grant for 3 years, then renewal(s) of 2 years. If new office, initially granted 1 year, and then can apply for 2 year renewals.