An L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This visa also enables a foreign company that does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States to establish one.
If you’re looking to move, even temporarily, to the United States and your employer will sponsor your transfer, you may qualify for an L-1 visa. It is available to executives and managers of a foreign company with a U.S. office. This is often referred to as “intra-company transfers.”
There are two types of L-1 Visas: L-1A Visa for Managerial and Executive Personnel and L-1B Visa for Specialized Knowledge Personnel.
Qualification Criteria for the L-1 Visa
To qualify for an L-1 visa, you must meet the following criteria:
- Your employer must have a qualifying relationship with a U.S. entity
- You must have worked abroad for your employer with one year of the past three years
- You must be coming to the U.S. to provide services in an executive, managerial or specialized knowledge capacity
Your employer must have a qualifying relationship with a U.S. entity
The type of qualifying relationship depends on the size of your company and where it operates. Some examples include:
- Affiliate (parent) – When one company holds a minority stake in another, the two companies are said to be affiliated. The parent firm will typically own less than a 50% stake in its affiliated company. Two companies may also be affiliated if they are controlled by a separate third party.
- Subsidiary – A foreign business organization created by another domestic business to conduct business activities in which it holds at least 50% ownership.
- Branch – An office located outside of the United States where you do most of your work, but still have employees based there who perform tasks for you.
You must have worked abroad for your employer for one year within the past three years
You must have physically worked for the transferring company outside of the U.S. for at least one year in the previous three years, either as a manager, executive, or specialized knowledge worker.
You must be coming to the U.S. to provide services in an executive, managerial or specialized knowledge capacity for the employer
This means that you must come here to work for an affiliated entity of the petitioner and not just any company or individual in America. Your stay in the U.S. is linked directly to your employment in the petitioning company unless a new petition is filed.
If you’re interested in starting the application process for an L-1 visa, our firm can guide you through the process. We’ll help with your paperwork and ensure everything is completed correctly. You can begin the application from any country worldwide—just let us know when you’re ready to move forward! You can reach out to us by calling, sending an email, filling our contact form, or scheduling an appointment.
You can also check out this checklist to ensure that you have all the documents necessary for your filing process.