The L1 Visa allows for potential immigration opportunities for foreigners who want to live and work in the United States of America. The L1 Visa is also known as the Intracompany transferee visa as it allows for a temporary relocation of foreigners by companies for high level, executive positions in the U.S. The applicant for the L1 Visa must have specialized knowledge that the company requires at a branch, parent company, subsidiary, or affiliate of the international company. The company employing the L1 Visa holder must be in the United States. There are two different L1 Visas; L1A which is reserved for managers or executives and L1B which is for employees with specialized knowledge. Employees can not file for an L1 Visa for themselves, it must be done by the employer on behalf of the employee. With an L1 Visa, a foreigner can legally reside and work in the U.S. with a spouse and dependents for up to seven years.
Eligibility of L1 Visa
The L1 Visa offers various benefits to foreigners that are explained below:
- The L1 Visa holder can stay in the United States and work for his or her employer.
- The L1 Visa also offers an extension in the period of stay in the USA from 3 years to 7 years.
- The L1 Visa is a dual intent Visa which means you can work and live in the USA and have the intent to apply for permanent residence in the USA.
- The L1 Visa does not require a set wage that means you are not required to disclose how much the U.S. company is paying you.
- The L1 Visa holder can also apply for immigration of his or her spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 years.
- The L1 Visa is also eligible for Premium Processing. After applying for premium processing you will get a response from the USCIS within 15 days.
Unlike other Visa categories, there is no restriction on the number of L1 Visas that can be issued.
L1 Visa Requirements
The main requirements to apply for an L1 Visa are given below:
- There should be a strong collaboration between the foreign company (in which you are currently working) and the US Company (where you are willing to go for work). There should be one of the following relationships between the foreigner company and USA company: 1) Parent/Subsidiary, 2) Branch Office, 3) Affiliate
- The relationship or collaboration of both companies should remain the same throughout the time duration of employee’s stay in the USA.
- The second most important requirement for the foreign employee is that he or she must have been continuously employed full-time by the foreign company for at least 1 year within the last 3 years before filing the L1 petition.
- To qualify for L1 Visa, you must have been working as a manager, executive or a specialized knowledge worker in the foreigner company.
The issues that you can face regarding managers, executives and specialized knowledge employees are listed below:
- The L1A Visa holders also known as managers or executives are monitored by USCIS to make a decision whether you will primarily be engaged in the managerial or executive function. If the employee is mainly focused towards the operational tasks of the business then it is less likely that he or she will be considered for a managerial or executive position.
- The L1B Visa holders or specialized knowledge workers have to satisfy their specific working category. For this, they must show their expertise in their specialized knowledge category. To fulfill the requirements of this process they should provide the evidence of their experience in a foreign role in that specialized knowledge category and the evidence of the uniqueness of their specialization.
How to Apply for an L1 Visa
To get L1 Visa, your L1 petition plays an important role. The specific documents that are required to file a petition are listed below,
- Copies of your passport
- Resume or CV
- A detailed job description
- A detailed description of your position in the foreign company
- General information for both the US company and the foreign company
Here is a simple and general breakdown of the process of applying for an L1 Visa.
- You should hire an immigration lawyer because the L1 Visa process is very complex. Your lawyer will do your work step by step and will walk you through it.
- Secondly, collect all required documents that will be identified by the immigration lawyer.
- Form I-129 and L-Supplement will be filed to qualify for L1 Visa.
- If you are not doing a Change of Status, then you will likely be applying for your L1 visa at the Consulate of your home country. You can apply for an L1 Visa when your I-129 form is approved. Required documents will be identified by the immigration lawyer.
L1 Visa Conversion to a Green Card
The L1 Visa is temporary and you cannot apply for the green card directly. To get a green card from an L1 Visa you have to apply for adjustment status to an immigrant visa abroad. It is not required to go abroad to apply for an immigrant visa abroad or adjustment status. The whole process is done in the United States.The L1 Visa is a great option for employees hoping to move from a foreign multinational company’s office to the US. L1 Visa holders can work and stay in the USA with their spouse and children. Most importantly, the employee can convert his or her L1 Visa to a green card by EB1C classification. A point to be noted is that currently, the L1 Visa is very complex and the USCIS has applied many restrictions on the petition for an L1 Visa. So it is suggested that to get L1 Visa, you should consult with immigration lawyers.