Individuals entering the United States to work at a U.S.-based office of their employer or a qualifying associated company, or to open a U.S. office, commonly use L visas. There are two categories of employees who qualify for the L visa. Company executives and managers are the first category. The second category is for company employees with specialized knowledge.
Moro Legal, LLC, assists businesses and individuals seeking L visas for employees who wish to enter the United States to work at affiliated offices or to start a new office for their employer. Contact us for further information or schedule an attorney consultation online to get started.
For any L visa, extensive documentation from the business is required to fulfill the visa application requirements. While L visas are non-immigrant visas, they do permit the holder to enter the U.S. with the intent to immigrate (“dual intent”), and in some cases it is possible to convert an L visa into a permanent immigrant visa.
Executives and managers who are intracompany transferees (L-1A visas)
The L-1A visa allows U.S. companies to transfer an executive or manager from one of its foreign offices to an office in the United States, or for foreign companies which do not have an office in the U.S. to send an executive or manager to the United States in order to establish one.
To qualify for this type of visa, the U.S. company must have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company/“qualifying organization” (as a branch, affiliate, parent company, or subsidiary) and must either currently or prospectively be doing business in the U.S. and in at least one other country for the duration of the stay of the executive or manager in the U.S. under this visa category.
The manager or executive must have been working for the “qualifying organization” abroad for at least one continuous year within the last three years prior to being admitted to the United States, and must be entering the U.S. to work in an executive or managerial capacity for the same employer or a “qualifying organization” of that employer. Executive duties encompass making important decisions for the company without much oversight; managerial duties refer to supervising and controlling the work of others in the company or managing key company functions without direct supervision.
The employer must file the visa application on behalf of the executive or manager. For foreign companies sending an executive or manager to the United States to establish a new office, the employer must also show in the application that it has secured a physical location for the new office, that the employee has worked as an executive or manager for at least one continuous year within the past three years, and that the new office will support the executive or managerial position within one year of the petition.
Executives and managers entering the U.S. to establish a new office are allowed a maximum initial stay of one year. Any other qualified employees entering the U.S. on an L-1A visa will be allowed a maximum initial stay up to three years. L-1A visa holders may extend their visas in increments of up to two years until a maximum time limit is reached of seven years.
The spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years old) of an L-1A visa holder may also request entry under (or, if already in the United States under another visa category, adjustment to) an L-2 nonimmigrant visa, generally for the same length of time as the L-1A employee. L-2 spouses may request a work permit to seek employment in the United States without restriction as to where they may work.
Specialized knowledge employees who are intracompany transferees (L-1B visas)
L-1B visas are for professional employees with specialized knowledge relating to their employer’s interests to enter the United States in order to work at the employer’s offices there or to help establish an office for the employer in the U.S.
The employee must have special knowledge of his employer’s products, services, research, equipment, techniques, management or other interests and their application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the company’s processes and procedures. The employee must also have been working abroad for the “qualifying organization” (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of the U.S. company) for one continuous year within the last three years immediately before being admitted to the United States, and must be seeking entry to the U.S. to provide services in a specialized knowledge capacity to a branch of the same employer or other “qualifying organization.”
For employees seeking L-1B visas to be employed in a new office for their employer, the employer must also show that the employer has secured a physical location for the new office and that the employer has the financial means to pay the employee and begin its regular operations to do business in the United States.
L-1B employees entering the U.S. to establish a new office are allowed a maximum initial stay of one year. All other L-1B entrants are allowed a maximum initial stay of three years. Extensions on the L-1B visa status may be granted to the employee upon request in increments of up to two years, up to a maximum stay of five years.
The spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years old) of an L-1B visa holder may also request entry under (or, if already in the United States under another visa category, adjustment to) an L-2 nonimmigrant visa, generally for the same length of time as the L-1B employee. L-2 spouses may request a work permit to seek employment in the United States without restriction as to where they may work.
Moro Legal, LLC, works with businesses and individuals to plan and prepare L visa petitions to improve the chances of visa approval. Contact us today to begin your journey.
The content of this website is for general informational purposes only and is not a replacement for legal advice. Immigration law is a complex area of law that is constantly changing and this website cannot cover every facet of the law. Every case is different, and all individuals and businesses should consult with an immigration lawyer prior to filing any petition or application.