L-1 Intra Company Transferees

What is a L-1: Complete Guide

Managers, executives, and other key employees with specialized knowledge of said companies that have, or wish to establish, U.S. offices may need to transfer these employees oversees to the U.S.  The L-1 Visa (Intra-company Transferee) enables these employees to work temporarily in the United States at the U.S. parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch office.

Procedures & Requirements

  • A qualifying relationship must exist between the foreign company and the U.S. company;
  • The employee (foreign national) should have completed one continuous year of employment outside of the U.S. with the overseas company within the preceding three years before such employee can be transferred to the U.S. parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch office;
  • For a foreign national who is in the United States in H-1B status for the employer filing the L-1 petition, even if the foreign national has been present in the U.S. for three or more years, the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will look at the three year period before the alien’s admission to the United States to determine L-1 eligibility, provided the H-1B employer is related in a qualifying manner for L-1 purposes to the foreign employer and the foreign national was employed abroad for a period of one year;
  • The petitioner can expedite the L-1 process so that the initial determination is made within 10-15 calendar days by requesting premium processing for an additional fee to the USCIS.

Related Issues

  • L-1 Visas are initially granted for three years or one year in those cases where the foreign national is coming to the U.S. to establish U.S. office.  This status can then be extended – the total period of stay may reach seven years for L-1A managers and executives, and five years for L-1B specialized knowledge personnel;
  • Spouse and unmarried child(ren) of L-1 are allowed to accompany / join the foreign national in L-2 status.  L-2 spouse are allowed to work whereas L-2 children are not, though they can attend school or college;
  • Large employers have the ability to file blanket L-1 petitions with the USCIS instead of filing separate petitions for each individual employee.
  • At present there is no annual cap for L-1 visas.