L1 Visa Program
The L1 Visa is tailored for intracompany transferees, allowing multinational companies to relocate certain employees to the United States temporarily. The visa is divided into two categories: L-1A for managers and executives, and L-1B for employees with specialized knowledge.
Key Categories of the L-1 Visa
L-1A: Managers and Executives
The L-1A category caters to managers and executives being transferred to the U.S. from a foreign office. These individuals play a crucial role in the company’s management or executive functions.
L-1B: Employees with Specialized Knowledge
The L-1B category is designed for employees with specialized knowledge essential to the company’s operations. This knowledge must go beyond ordinary expertise and be integral to the company’s success.
Eligibility Criteria for the L-1 Visa
To be eligible for the L-1 Visa, there must be a qualifying relationship between the U.S. petitioner (employer) and the foreign entity where the employee is currently employed. This typically involves the U.S. entity being a parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch of the foreign entity.
- Managers and executives must be employed in a managerial or executive capacity abroad.
- Employees with specialized knowledge must possess unique skills or knowledge crucial to the company’s success.
Benefits of the L-1 Visa
One of the primary benefits of the L-1 Visa is the ability for multinational companies to transfer key employees seamlessly across borders, facilitating the continuity of operations.
L-1 Visa holders can maintain a dual intent, meaning they can pursue permanent residency (green card) while in the U.S. on L1 status.
Inclusion of Dependents
L-1 Visa holders can bring their spouses and unmarried children under 21 as dependents, allowing them to accompany and stay with the primary visa holder.
Application Process for the L-1 Visa
Form I-129: Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
The U.S. employer initiates the L-1 Visa application process by filing Form I-129, providing details about the company, the qualifying relationship, and the employee being transferred.
Supporting documentation includes evidence of the qualifying relationship, the employee’s qualifications, and details about the foreign and U.S. positions.
L-1A Blanket Petition
Companies that meet specific criteria can file a blanket petition, streamlining the process for subsequent L-1A individual petitions.
Maintaining L-1 Visa Status
L-1 Visa holders must comply with the terms and conditions of their visa status. Any changes in employment or extension of stay require timely filings and approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
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