L-1 are intra-company transferee visas and there are two types of them. These visas exist in order to allow companies with offices outside the US to be able to transfer key personnel to it offices in the US.
Because the L Visas are intra-company transferee visas, the individual getting the visa is required to have worked for the company outside the US for at least one year out of the previous three years. The employment can be by the company itself or by the company’s parent, branch, affiliate or subsidiary.
The first type of L-1 visas is the L-1A. This visa is managerial or executive level positions.
In order for a position to be considered managerial, the position must be one that manages the organization, department, subdivision, function or component of the company, that supervises and controls the work of other supervisory, professional or managerial employees or manages an essential function within the company, that has authority to hire and fire, and that exercises discretion over day-to-day operations. First-line supervisors would only be considered if those they supervise are professionals.
One can have L-1A status for a maximum of seven years, and years spent in H-1B or L-1B status count against this maximum.
The second type of L-1 visas is the L-1B. This visa is for persons having specialized skills or knowledge.
Specialized skills or knowledge means that the person must have special knowledge of the company’s products, services, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and their application in internationa markets, or have an advanced level of knowledge of the procedures and processes of the company. Simply being skilled is not enough.
One can have an L-1B visa for a maximum of five years, and time spent in H-1B or L-1A count against this maximum.
L-1 visas are possible for the purpose of establishing an office in the US.
The spouse and children of an L-1 non-immigrant receive L-2 status and are eligible to apply for employment authorization.
The process for obtaining an L-1 visa begins with the filing of a petition with USCIS and is quite complex. Employers seeking to transfer employees should have an experienced immigration attorney handle the matter due to this complexity.
Our firm has handled L-1 petition for all kinds and sizes of employers. Our attorneys are available to handle your case.