L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa
L Visas are used by American employers to transfer their employees from related companies abroad to the US operations.
One qualifies for an L-1 visa if you have been employed full-time, outside the US as a manager, executive (L-1A) or person with specialized knowledge (L-1B) for at least one of the last three years, and you are transferred to the US to be employed in a similar position. The US company to which you are transferring must be a branch, subsidiary, affiliate or joint venture partner of the non-US company. The non-US company must remain in operation while you have the L-1 visa. Said company may be either a foreign division of an American-based company or it may have originated outside the US. Any form of business is adequate, including but not limited to corporations, LLCs, LLPs, partnerships, joint ventures and sole proprietorships. There are no quota limits on L-1 visas.
Duration: Three years initially (one year if new office), 4 years of extensions for L-1B, 6 years for L-1A, totaling 7 years maximum for L-1A and 5 years maximum for L-1B.
Special benefits of the L1A visa
As stated above, the L-1A visa is available for executives and managers of companies which transfer them to a US branch, subsidiary, affiliate or joint venture of that company. The L-1A applicant must show that they have worked for one of the last three years for the sponsoring company abroad. The non-US company must remain in operation for the visa to be valid.
The initial L-1 visa (for newly formed companies) is good for only one year, as the CIS wants to make certain that the company is still actively engaged in business. The visa can be extended for up to 7 years. After the first year of business, through our extension application, the CIS examines whether the business has developed enough so as the L-1A manager is only managing and supervising other professional employees, as opposed to performing the core tasks of the business.
A key component to an L-1A filing is that the 1990 Immigration Act provided L-1A visa holders with a fast-track (EB-1) green card (US Permanent Residence). After 1 year of L-1A status (and an extension approval) for new businesses, or immediately upon L-1A approval for established businesses, we are entitled to file for permanent residence as an “international executive/manager”, (EB1) which is the highest category of permanent residence filing. This category does not require “labor certification”, which is the lengthy and complex part of the normal permanent residence process. The alien has an approved permanent residence petition approximately 8-12 months after filing. Other categories carry waits of 2-14 years. Accompanying relatives (defined as spouses and children under 21) are entitled to L-2 visas (which are work authorized for spouses only) and green cards.
At ILG, business and employment immigration is one of our primary focus areas. Our lawyers have assisted many employers and professionals in securing L visas. Our L visa lawyers offer experienced, comprehensive representation in the L visa application process. Please contact us to learn more about how we can assist you.