The L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows multinational companies to transfer executives, managers, and specialized knowledge employees from their foreign operations to their U.S. operations. In this guide, we will explain everything you need to know about the L-1 visa for intra-company transfers.
To be eligible for an L-1 visa, both the employer and the employee must meet certain requirements:
- Qualify as a Multinational Company
The U.S. employer must be a multinational company with a qualifying relationship with the foreign entity.
- Have a Qualifying Relationship with the Foreign Entity
The U.S. employer must have a qualifying relationship with the foreign entity, which can be a parent company, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch office.
- Have Been Doing Business for at Least One Year
The U.S. employer must have been doing business for at least one year.
- Employment with the Foreign Entity
The employee must have been employed with the foreign entity for at least one continuous year within the past three years.
- Executive, Managerial, or Specialized Knowledge Position
The employee must be entering the United States to work in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge position.
- Temporary Stay
The employee must intend to enter the United States temporarily and return to the foreign entity at the end of the stay.
To apply for an L-1 visa, the employer and employee will need to follow these steps:
- Submit Form I-129
The U.S. employer will need to submit Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, on behalf of the employee.
- Provide Supporting Documentation
The U.S. employer will need to provide supporting documentation, including:
- Proof of the qualifying relationship between the U.S. employer and the foreign entity
- Evidence that the U.S. employer has been doing business for at least one year
- Proof that the employee has been employed with the foreign entity for at least one continuous year within the past three years
- Documentation showing that the employee will be working in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge position
- Other supporting documentation, such as a resume or letters of recommendation
- Attend Visa Interview
The employee will need to attend a visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. The consular officer will ask questions about the employee’s qualifications, job offer, and intention to return to the foreign entity at the end of the stay.
- Receive Visa Approval
If the consular officer approves the visa, the employee will receive their L-1 visa stamp in their passport.
Benefits of the L-1 Visa
The L-1 visa provides many benefits for both employers and employees:
- Business Continuity
The L-1 visa allows multinational companies to transfer key personnel to their U.S. operations, ensuring business continuity and promoting growth.
- Fast Processing
L-1 visas are often processed more quickly than other non-immigrant visas, allowing for a faster transfer of personnel.
- Family Members Can Accompany
The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of L-1 visa holders can accompany them to the United States on an L-2 visa.
- Dual Intent
L-1 visa holders can have dual intent, meaning they can apply for a green card while in the United States.
The L-1 visa is an excellent option for multinational companies that need to transfer key personnel to their U.S. operations. It provides a relatively fast and straightforward path to U.S. employment for executives, managers, and specialized knowledge employees. However, it is important to carefully review the eligibility requirements and gather all of the necessary documents before applying