What Is the L-1 Visa?
The L-1 intracompany transferee visa was created by Congress to facilitate the transfer of executives, managers, and key personnel from a related company abroad to an affiliate in the U.S. There are two subsets of L visa. The L-1A covers managers and executives. The L-1B covers specialized knowledge personnel.
How Does Someone Qualify For The L-1 Visa?
To qualify, the transferee must have worked for at least one full year within the most recent 3 years for an affiliate abroad as an executive, manager, or specialized knowledge worker. A qualifying affiliate is one which has at least 50% common ownership between the entity that employed the transferee abroad and the one where the employee will work in the U.S.
L-1A executives direct a major component or function of the organization, establish goals and policies, exercise a wide latitude in discretionary decision making, and receive only general supervision from higher level executives or the board.
L-1A managers manage a department, subdivision, or function. They also supervise and control the work of other professional or managerial employees, or an essential function. In addition, they exercise discretion over day-to-day operational activities and have the authority to hire and fire personnel, of function at a senior level within the organizational hierarchy if managing an essential function.
Specialized knowledge employees possess special or unique knowledge regarding the sponsoring organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests. It can also include an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures, as when an expert is brought to the U.S. to train U.S. workers in connection with an on-shoring process.
What Benefits or Limitations Are Associated With These Visas?
L-1B visa petitions are issued for an initial term of three years followed by a two-year extension for a total of five years. L-1 A visa petitions are issued for an initial term of three years followed by two two-year extensions for total permitted stay of seven years.
Both L-1A and L-1B visas allow the employee’s spouse to obtain a work card permitting lawful employment for any U.S. employer.
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