The United States L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa which allows overseas companies to transfer executives and managers and specialized knowledge employees to a new or existing US office for up to seven years. The employee must have worked for a subsidiary, parent, affiliate or branch office of the US company outside of the US for at least one year out of the last three years. This can be an excellent way for businesses to expand into the US with a minimal investment.
The requirements for employment based immigration (permanent residence) under the EB1-C immigrant scheme are similar to the requirements for the L-1A Executive and Manager visa category. Many overseas executives and managers come under the L-1A visa scheme first and then apply at a later date for EB1-C which is one of the best ways of gaining an immigrant visa (green card).
Companies operating in the US can apply to the relevant USCIS service center for an L-1 visa to transfer someone to the US from their overseas operations. Employees in this category will, initially, be granted an L-1 visa for up to three years.
There are two types of employees who may be sponsored for USA L-1 visas:
- L-1A Executives and Managers
The legal definition of management and executive roles for these purposes is quite strict, and a detailed description of the duties attached to the position will be required. In particular, the executive or manager should have supervisory responsibility for professional staff and/or for a key function, department or subdivision of the employer. Such personnel are issued an L-1A visa, initially for a three year period extendible in two year increments to a maximum of seven years.
- L-1B Specialized Knowledge Staff
This category covers those with knowledge of the company's products/services, research, systems, proprietary techniques, management, or procedures. Staff in this category are issued an L-1B visa, initially for three years extendable to a maximum of five years.
On completing the maximum allowable period in L-1 status, the employee must be employed outside the United States for a minimum of one year before a new application is made for L or H status.
If you would like to apply for an L-1 visa through workpermit.com, please fill out our application form.
Further information, help, and advice
Workpermit.com's team of specialists has over 25 years of experience in immigration services, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the US. All applications for US visas are dealt with in-house by a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).