L-1 visas: Intracompany employees of foreign entities to US affiliates and subsidiaries
What is the L-1 visa classification?
The L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa for foreign nationals employed by multinational corporations or
foreign corporations, who will be assigned to an affiliate or subsidiary company in the US.
It is also available to US multinational corporations with employees in subsidiary or affiliate companies
overseas who will be assigned to the parent company in the US. This means that the L-1 visa applicant
must be an employee of the same company or group of companies, except that he or she will be
transferred to an office in the US.
The company must be doing business in the US. It must be an ongoing business concern where there is a
regular, continuous and systematic provision of goods and services within the US. The company in the
US must not be an agent of the overseas company.
This visa classification is also available for managers who will establish a new office in the US.
What types of employees are eligible to apply for the L-1 class visa?
Not all employees are eligible. They must occupy an executive or managerial position or a position that
has specialized knowledge and skills that may contribute to the US companies, ensuring that
international operations align with the companies’ objectives and processes.
An employee with an executive capacity is one who can make decisions for the company on a wide
latitude. An employee with a managerial capacity is one who is authorized to supervise and control the
work of professional employees, manage the organization or a department of the organization.
The L-1 visa applicant must have been employed with the overseas company for at least one year. The
one-year continuous employment should have occurred within three years of the visa application.
What’s the difference between the L-1A and the L-1B visa?
The L-1A visa is for employees in managerial or executive assignments to the US. The L-1B visa is for
employees performing specialized knowledge or skills.
How long is the validity of L-1 visa?
The L-1A visa is usually issued with a validity of three years and it may be extended twice. Each
extension will have a maximum validity of two years. In all, it may be valid for seven years.
The L-1B visa is usually issued with a validity of three years and it may be extended once. The extension
will have a maximum validity of two years. In all, it may be valid for five years.
If the L-1A visa applicant is going to open a new office in the US, the initial length of stay in the US is
limited for one year. The length of say may be extended.
Please note, however, that if the employee travels and is assigned overseas during the validity of the L-1
visa, the time spent abroad may not count toward the maximum time limitations.
Can the families of L-1 visa holders join them in the US?
Only the spouse and minor children of the L-1 visa holders may join them. They will obtain a non-
immigrant L-2 visa. The spouse of the L-1 visa holder may obtain employment authorization and work
while in the US.
What type of documents will L-1 visa applicants need to present?
The following documents must be presented by the L-1 visa applicant:
- Basic corporate documents of the overseas and the US company (articles of incorporation)
- Documents that show the legal and business relationship between the overseas company and
the US company to which the applicant will be transferred.
- Resume of the applicant
- Job description for the US assignment on the company letterhead
- If the applicant has been with the company but occupying different positions, a description of
each assignment and of each position
- If the applicant will establish a new office in the US, there must be documents to prove that
office space for the new office has already been secured (lease agreement, for example)
What is a blanket petition?
A company may file a blanket petition prior to filing individual L-1 petitions for their managers and
executives. The company may seek blanket L certification, but the company must prove that:
- Their company and all their affiliate and subsidiary companies in the US are engaged in
commercial trade or services.
- The companies and its affiliates and subsidiaries in the US have combined annual sales of at
least $25 million.
- Or, that they have a combined work force of a minimum of 1000 employees.
- The company and their affiliate and subsidiary companies have been doing business in the US
for one year or more.
- The company has three or more foreign branches, subsidiaries or affiliates.
- The company and their affiliates and subsidiaries have obtained at least ten L-1 approvals in the
12 months prior to the application for blanket L certification.
Do you need help filing for blanket L certification? Or do you need help filing L-1 petitions for your
managers and executives? Call us at Lluis Law today, we can help.