The L1 Visa

BOOK YOUR FREE IMMIGRATION CONSULTATION

Cut down on your waiting time, simply book your Free Consultation appointment online.

What Is An L1 Visa?

The L1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that may be an appropriate choice for a professional who works for a multinational company and is willing to enter the United States as an intracompany transferee. Congress created the L1 visa in 1970, in order to allow employers to more efficiently transfer personnel within their companies from foreign countries to the United States. USCIS may award an L1 visa to executives, managers, or those with specialized knowledge. If you are interested in applying to the USCIS for an L1 visa, it may be prudent to consult with an L1 visa lawyer who is familiar with this type of intracompany transfer. Our offices can help. Give us a call!

Two L1 Visa Types

Although both serve as intracompany transfers to the United States, there are actually two L1 visa types. The type of L1 visa that may apply to you will depend on your role in the multinational company for which you work. Foreign nationals who work for multinational businesses may qualify for either an L1A visa or an L1B visa.

L1A Visa

The USCIS may approve an L1A visa application from an executive or manager who has been working continuously for a company with multinational offices for at least one of the past three years. An executive is generally defined as someone who has the authority to “make decisions of wide latitude without much oversight.” To be eligible as a manager for an L1A visa, an L1A visa applicant should be in a role in which they supervise professionals, control at least a department of an organization, or manage an essential function of the business at a high level.

L1B Visa

The L1B visa applies to professionals with specialized knowledge. The USCIS may approve a foreign professional for an L1B intracompany transfer if they have special knowledge of any of the following elements of the petitioning organization’s role in international markets:

  • Products
  • Services
  • Processes
  • Procedures
  • Research
  • Equipment
  • Techniques
  • Management
  • Other interests applicable to international markets

An L1B visa may be a viable option for a professional with specialized knowledge relating to the interests of the multinational organization. In general, the USCIS may consider a foreign professional for an L1B intracompany transfer if they possess advanced knowledge of the company’s processes and procedures or other interests that are applicable to international markets.


With the L1B visa, the L1B visa holder may also be able to enter the United States to establish a new U.S. office for the foreign company if they meet the criteria to do so. However, their employer must show that it has secured sufficient physical premises to house the new office. It will also need to demonstrate to the USCIS that it has the financial ability to both compensate the L1 visa employee and begin doing business in the United States.

What The L1A Visa And The L1B Visa Have In Common

An L1 visa, no matter the type, is a temporary, nonimmigrant visa. With both the L1A visa and the L1B visa, the applicant must be able to show at least one year of continuous employment with the multinational company during the last three years.

Qualifying As A Multinational Employer

To be considered a multinational employer by the USCIS for L1 visa purposes, a United States organization should have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company. As such, the L1 visa business should have at least one of the following in the United States:

  • Parent company
  • Branch
  • Subsidiary
  • Affiliate

A company may also qualify as a multinational employer if it is, or will be, doing business in both the United States and at least one other foreign nation for the duration of the L1 visa beneficiary’s stay in America. 

Generally, a United States organization may be able to qualify as a multinational employer for L1 visa purposes if it meets two criteria:

  • It has a qualifying relationship with a foreign company
  • It is, or will be, doing business in both the United States and at least one other foreign nation for the duration of the L1 beneficiary’s stay in America

 

L1 Visa Requirements For Professionals

An employee of a multinational business may qualify for an L1 visa intracompany transfer if they served in one of the following roles for at least one continuous year during the last three years:

  • Executive
  • Manager
  • Professional with specialized knowledge

An L1 visa employee applicant must also demonstrate that they are seeking to provide services to a branch of the employer or one of its qualifying organizations.

 

Whether the L1 visa applicant for an intracompany transfer is an executive, manager, or professional with specialized knowledge, they will need to meet several qualifications. To become eligible for an L1A visa or L1B visa, the L1 petitioner should have worked continuously for a company with multinational offices for at least one of the past three years in a role that qualifies them as an L1 executive, manager, or professional with specialized knowledge.

The Benefits Of Obtaining An L1 Visa

An L1 visa has several advantages over other types of nonimmigrant statuses. These include the following:

  • Spouses and dependents may receive an L2 visa to work in the U.S
  • Lack of quantity limits
  • Renewable for a period of up to 5-7 years vs. 6-12 month B1 visa
  • Employers may apply for blanket L1 visas
  • An L1 visa may help with qualifying for an EB1C green card

An L1 visa may be an advantageous option for employees of multinational companies. This nonimmigrant, intracompany transfer may provide benefits that appeal to some employees and their employers over other types of visas.

Spouses And Dependents Of L1 Visa Holders

One benefit of garnering an L1 visa is that the holder’s spouse and dependents who are under the age of 21 may accompany the transferring employee. Spouses and dependents may also be able to receive an L2 visa to live and work in the United States with the L1 visa holder. Generally, spouses and dependents who are L2 visa holders will be granted the same period of stay as the L1 employee.

The L1 Visa – No Limit To Availability And Longer Period of Stay

Unlike the H1B visa, which has a cap to the number that the USCIS may award, the L1 visa is not limited. Multinational employers may transfer an unlimited number of L1 visa holders to their qualifying U.S. locations. Moreover, unlike the B1 temporary business visitor visa, which lasts for six months but can be renewed for six additional months, the L1 visa lasts longer.

Most L1B employees are granted an initial stay of three years, and the L1C visa can be renewed for two additional years. With an L1A visa, the transferring employee may also benefit from an initial stay of three years. This visa, however, can be renewed twice for a total stay of seven years.

Employers May Apply For Blanket L1 Visas

Some multinational employers may establish the required intracompany relationship in preparation for submitting individual L1 petitions by filing a blanket petition. Although the award of a blanket L1 visa does not guarantee that all employees will meet the qualifications for L1A or L1B visas, it may expedite an organization’s process for conducting intracompany transfers.

An L1 visa may serve as a springboard toward an adjustment of status to a green card. Speaking with an L1 visa lawyer may bring to light other aspects of the L1 that may benefit you and your family. Give our offices a call!

L1 Visa vs. EB1C Green Card

An L1 visa is a nonimmigrant, intracompany transfer for work in the United States. It is not a green card. However, an individual who obtains an L1 visa may be able to qualify for EB1C lawful permanent resident (LPR) status as an intercorporate green card holder. A visa attorney may be a valuable resource for qualified L1 professionals with interest in becoming EB1C lawful permanent residents.

The main difference between an L1 visa and an EB1C green card is that the former is a nonimmigrant visa. Conversely, an EB1C allows for lawful permanent residency in the United States. Each (between the L1 visa and EB1C green card) has its own features and benefits. Moreover, an individual who obtains an L1 visa may be able to qualify for EB1C lawful permanent resident (LPR) status as an intercorporate green card holder.

The L1 Visa

An L1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that may be an appropriate choice for a professional who works for a multinational company and is willing to enter the United States as an intracompany transferee. Congress created the L1 visa in 1970, in order to allow employers to more efficiently transfer personnel within their companies from foreign countries to the United States.

There are two types of L1 visas, the L1A or the L1B. Executives or managers who have been working continuously for a company with multinational offices for at least one of the past three years may be eligible to receive an L1A visa. Alternatively, the L1B intracompany transfer has been reserved for employees with specialized knowledge relating to the interests of the multinational organization.

With renewals, an L1A may last for up to seven years, and an L1B could have a duration of five years. However, some L1A visa holders may be able to gain an adjustment of status to a green card, such as the EB1C.

The EB1C Green Card


A businessperson with EB1C status is an intercorporate green card holder. An alternative to the EB5 immigrant investor green card, this lawful permanent resident status may be a viable option for entrepreneurs who have established themselves in businesses abroad.

Having worked in an executive or managerial capacity in their foreign business, a professional may be able to purchase a similar business in the United States and gain a one-year L1 visa to enter the country to develop the venture. After the U.S. branch of the company has flourished for a year or more, the entrepreneur might consider applying for a EB1C intercorporate green card.
 

Discuss The L-1 Visa Or EB1C Green Card With A Visa Attorney

There are many and varied options for visas and green cards, each with their own criteria. The L1 visa application is also very complex and intricate. Thus, it may be best to consult a visa lawyer about your particular aspirations and needs. Our attorneys are prepared to help, so give our offices a call!

The L1 Visa Application Process

The L1 visa application process starts with completing a Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker and submitting it with supporting documentation to the USCIS. Professionals may seek the assistance of an L1 visa lawyer with completing and assembling the documents. If the USCIS determines that the L1 visa applicant meets the requirements for an L1 visa and approves the petition, the recipient may either obtain the visa from a U.S. Embassy in their country of origin or apply for an adjustment of status if they are already in the United States.

The Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker has been modified recently, as it is periodically, so it is important to ensure that you are sending the correct version to the USCIS. The forms asks a number of questions that are considered very important to the approval process. In other words if you fill out the Petition and the L supplement incorrectly, you should not expect an approval.

The supporting documentation that may be submitted with the Petition should be that which establishes eligibility for both the transferring employee and the multinational company. These documents must prove all the L1 visa requirements. As stated in other pages on this site, these requirements are precise in nature, and if you do not prove each and every element it is not likely to have your L1 visa approved. At times, the USCIS may issue a Request for Evidence if an officer determines that further documentation is necessary to properly consider the application.

After The L1 Visa Application Is Approved

If the USCIS determines that the applicant meets the requirements for an L1 visa and approves the L1 petition, the recipient may obtain the visa from a U.S. Embassy in their country of origin. If the L1 visa employee is already present in the United States, they may apply for an adjustment of status.

L1 Blanket Petitions

Some multinational companies with American branches that are engaged in commercial trade or services may find it easier to transfer multiple professionals to the United States via an L1 visa blanket petition.

Certain American companies that are engaged in commercial trade or services may be able qualify themselves as multinational companies via an L1 visa blanket petition. If the organization has already obtained ten or more L1 intracompany transfers for its foreign employees within a year’s time or has qualifying size or assets, it might consider applying for an L1 visa blanket petition. An L1 visa lawyer who is well-versed in L1 blanket petitions can advise the principals of organizations who believe they might qualify.

To gain approval of an L1 visa blanket petition, the multinational organization must show that it:

  • Is engaged in commercial trade or services
  • Has had a U.S.-based office for at least one year
  • Has three or more domestic and foreign branches

Additionally, the petitioning organization, with the other qualifying branches, must show that it either:

  • Obtained ten or more L1 approvals within one year’s time
  • Has U.S. affiliates or subsidiaries with $25 million in combined annual sales
  • Has a U.S. workforce of at least 1,000 professionals

Organizations that pre-establish their qualifications as an L1 visa employer may be able to expedite their intracompany transfers of eligible employees. Although gaining an L1 blanket visa does not guarantee that any L1 employee applicant will be approved, it may provide a multinational business with additional flexibility. An L1 visa lawyer who is knowledgeable about blanket petitions may help to make the application process easier. Our offices can help!

The L1 Visa Extension Process

The L1 nonimmigrant, intracompany transfer visa generally has an initial stay of one to three years, depending on the type of L1 and the age and circumstances of the company. However, an L1 visa holder may also apply to the USCIS for an extension. As with the initial L1 visa petition process, an applicant will need to complete paperwork and submit supporting documentation to the USCIS.

The L1 nonimmigrant, intracompany transfer visa has varying initial stays, depending on the type and reason for entry into the United States. Usually the initial period of residency for both the L1A or the L1B is three years. However, if an individual is coming to the United States to establish and grow a branch business, the initial period is one year.

L1 visa holders may also apply to the USCIS for an extension to their visa. Generally, L1A visa holders may renew twice for separate periods of two years, meaning a maximum stay of seven years. An employee who has an L1B visa may usually extend their visa for two more years for a total of five years.

For extensions, as with the initial L1 visa petition process, an applicant will need to complete paperwork and submit supporting documentation to the USCIS. A seasoned L1 visa lawyer may be a valuable advocate toward achieving an extension of your stay in the United States as an intracompany transfer employee. Our offices have years of experience dealing in all types of L1 cases and may be able to help!

Telephone:
+1-818-382-3333
+1-949-272-1199

WhatsApp:
+1-818-489-3322

COPYRIGHT 2024 © 
LAW OFFICES OF SHAWN S. SEDAGHAT. All Rights Reserved.
 
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any reason, person or entity whatsoever. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.
 

Our Office Locations:

Los Angeles :
14011 Ventura Blvd #400, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423  

Orange County:
300 Spectrum Center Dr #400, Irvine, CA 92618

By accessing and using the sedaghatlaw.com website, you acknowledge and agree that the content provided herein is for general informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice for any specific situation or case. The information on this site should not be construed as legal advice nor does it constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and any attorney associated with sedaghatlaw.com. Each legal situation is unique, and laws are constantly changing; therefore, visitors are encouraged to seek professional legal counsel for any legal matters or concerns.Your use of the site and its information is solely at your own risk. Sedaghatlaw.com, its affiliates, contributors, agents, or any other parties involved in the creation, production, or delivery of the content herein disclaim all liability for any damages, losses, or actions resulting from your access to, or reliance on, any information contained within the site or any linked external resources.No attorney-client relationship is formed by your use of this site, by your sending us an email, or by us responding to any email you send us. An attorney-client relationship can only be established through mutual agreement in a formal, written engagement letter between you and an attorney.By continuing to use sedaghatlaw.com, you acknowledge that you have read, understood, and agreed to these terms.

Scroll to Top