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Intracompany Transferees (L Visa)

by Hamid R. Kashani, Attorney at Law
Nov 07, 2018 (last modified Jan 31, 2019)

What is the L Visa?

L Visa is a temporary, nonimmigrant visa for intracompany transferees. It allows a qualified foreign company to temporarily transfer its qualified staff members to the United States to support the company's operation here. There are two types of L Visa.

Topic image for Intracompany Transferees (L Visa)
  • L-1A visa is for the staff members who hold managerial or executive positions
  • L-1B visa is for staff members who possess specialized knowledge.

What are the qualifications for an employee seeking L-1A visa?

To receive an L-1A visa, the employee (a) must have been working for the employer for at least one year within the last three years, and (b) must be coming to the United States to work as an executive or manager for the employer or its parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliated company.

What are the qualifications for an employee seeking L-1B visa?

To receive an L-1B visa, the employee (a) must have been working for the employer for at least one year within the last three years, and (b) must possess and work in a position requiring specialized knowledge for the employer or its parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate company.

What are the qualifications for the employers wishing to sponsor L visa?

The U.S. entity employing the visa applicant must be either currently be doing business in the United States or must be planning, supported by evidence of investment and preparation, to do business here.  The employee must have been doing business in at least one other country, but is not required to be engaged in international trade.

How should I apply for L visa?

The employee cannot directly apply for L visa. The employer must file a Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129) with the USCIS. Once that petition is approved, the employee can apply for L visa at a U.S. consulate.

In those cases, where the employer has obtained a blanket approval, the employer must file only Form I-129S for the employee. Canadian nationals may present their Form I-129S (together with the approved I-129 and other supporting documents) at a designated border entry points and, if qualified, receive their L visa at the border.

To see the current USCIS fee for Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129), see USCIS Fee Schedule.

To see how long the USCIS would take to adjudicate the petition, see USCIS Processing Times.

Premium Processing Service is available for Form I-129 submitted to secure an L visa classification.

What is maximum duration of L visa?

The initial period of L visa is generally three (3) years. If the U.S. office is a new office, the initial visa will be issued for one (1) year. L-1A visa may be renewed, in two-year increments, for a maximum total of seven (7) years, including the initial period.  L-1B visa may be renewed for a maximum total of five (5) years, including the initial period.  The maximum period of time includes any time period that the employee held an H visa.  After the maximum period is reached, the employee must work overseas for at least for one year before reapplying for L Visa.

Can the spouses and children of L-visa employees accompany them to the United States?

Yes. The spouses and minor children (unmarried and under 21) of L visa holders may accompany, or follow-to-join, them, under an L-2 visa. L-2 visa holders may attend school in the United States and may apply for permission to work here.

 

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