L-1 Visa:  A Basic Guide for Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager

What is an L-1 Visa?

In the United States, visas are classified in two main categories: immigrant and non-immigrant visas. The L1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa designed for intracompany transferees.

This visa allows a U.S. employer to transfer certain executive or managers from one of its foreign branches to one of its companies in the United States. This type of visa also allows a foreign company that does not have a U.S. branch to send one of its executives or managers to open its U.S. branch.

L1-A and L1-B: What is the difference?

The L1A is for managers and executives who are being transferred to a U.S. office that is a subsidiary, branch, affiliate, or parent company of the foreign employer. 

The L1B is for employees with specialized knowledge who are being transferred to a U.S. office of the same multinational company.

Requirements for Employers:

To be considered for an L1 visa, employers must meet some requirements such as:

  1. Having a relationship with a foreign company, be it a branch, subsidiary, etc. AND
  2. Be doing business in the US as an employer and also in another country directly or via a subsidiary company, for the duration of the employee stay in the the US under this visa.

Employees must:

  1. Be working for the foreign branch for at least one year out of three previous years that preceded this employee’s admission to the USA. AND
  2. Come to the USA to be an executive or manager of this same company, branch, or qualifying organizations.

What is the duration of the L1 Visa?

If the employee is transferred to the US in a management position, the visa duration will be three (3) years. This visa may be extended in increments of a further 2 years until reaching the maximum limit of 7 years.

When reaching the total of 7 years, the employee must leave the USA, or change visa category. The renewal of this visa must also be done before the expiration date listed on your I-94 (you can access the i-94 at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home)

My family can join me?

The employee can be accompanied by his wife and single children under 21 years of age. Your family members would receive the L-2 that have the same duration of your L-1. The spouse is allowed to work.

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