Intracompany Transferees: (L1 Visa, L1 Blanket Visa, L2 Visa)
An L1 Visa is available for managers, executives, or employee with specialized knowledge from an overseas company to work at a subsidiary or affiliated company located in the United States. There are two types of L visas: L1-A is for intracompany transferees such as a manager and executive; L1-B is for someone with specialized knowledge. L2 is the accompanying visa that spouses and children under 21 years old receive with the worker.
The L1 visa is initially issued for one year when the business enterprise is less than a year old. The visa will be extended after the initial issuance in two and three year increments for a maximum of six years. It is important to note that a L1 extension application must be filed before the initial L1 visa expires.
Qualifications for L1-A Visa (Intracompany Executive or Manager)
L1-A Visa Requirements
To qualify for an L1-A visa, the following must be established:
- The Applicant must have within three years preceding the time of application been employed abroad continuously for one year by a firm or corporation or other legal entity or parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary;
- The Applicant seeks to enter the United States temporarily in order to render his or her services to a branch of the same employer or a parent, affiliate, or subsidiary company thereof in a manager or executive capacity.
Qualification for L1-B Visa (Specialized Knowledge Employee)
L1-B Visa Requirements
To qualify for a L1-B visa, the following must be established:
- The purported specialized work is difficult to be performed by other people and necessary for the operation of the development of the business in the United States.
L2 Visas (Accompanying Relatives of L1 Visa Holders)
L2 Visas are available to the spouses and the unmarried children under the age of 21 of L1 Visa holders. Spouses of L1 Visa holders are permitted to work, however the minor children under the age of 21 are not.
Advantages of L1 Visa over other Non-Immigrant Work Visas
- Unlimited amount of L1 Visas available each year.
- No prevailing wage requirement for L1 visa worker;
- Available to small and large businesses. L1 visa petitions for new U.S. based or small overseas businesses are generally scrutinized in more detail by USCIS.
- L1 visas are an excellent visa in some situations as the requirements for an L1 Visa are very similar to an EB1 Executive Transferee Green Card. Presumably if the L1 visa requirements can be proven, then an EB1 Green Card may be a possibility.
- L1 Visa & Blanket Status for Large Companies. Large Companies may obtain L1 Blanket Status. L1 Blanket status allows large US companies that require frequent transferring of non-US employees to do so with one blanket L1 Petition. Individuals will still need a petition, but Blanket Status will still eliminate much of the paperwork.
Important development of L1 Visas
In recent years, USCIS has adjudicated L1 visas in a strict manner, probably due to a large number of fraudulent applications in the past few years, as well as the rules and restrictions surround L Visas are extremely complicated. Thus, it is important that you engage a skilled attorney to lay out a clear strategy in light of the law and your particular circumstances. A properly thought out case and strong filing with supporting evidence are essential for an L1 Visa Petition.