L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa which allows companies operating both in the US and abroad to transfer certain classes of employee from its foreign operations to the US operations for up to seven years. The employee must have worked for a subsidiary, parent, affiliate or branch office of your US company outside of the US for at least one year out of the last three years.
Qualifications of L-1 A Visa:
- You qualify for an L-1 visa if you have been employed outside the U.S. as a manager, executive or person with specialized knowledge for at least one out of the past three years, and you are transferred to the U.S. to be employed in a similar position. You must have worked in that position a total of at least one year out of the past three years;
- The U.S. company to which you are transferring must be a branch, subsidiary, affiliate or joint venture partner of your non-U.S. employer;
- The non-U.S. company must remain in operation while you have the L-1 visa.
Category of L-1
- L-1 A Manager/Executive
- L-1 B Specialized Knowledge Staff
Duration of Visa
For a business that is just starting up, an L-1 visa is valid for one year. For businesses that have already been doing business in the United States for a year or longer, the visa is valid for up to three years with two-year extensions available for a total of up to five years for an employee with specialized knowledge, and up to seven years for an executive or manager. L-1 extensions have to be filed in the U.S. at the INS Regional Service Center where the business is located.
L-1 B Visa: Initial petition will be approved for 3 years, and can be renewed once for 2 years for total of 5 years.
L-2 Visa for Dependents
The employee’s spouse and dependent minor unmarried children under the age of 21 will receive and L-2 Visa. Spouse of L-1 Visa holder (not dependent children) can get employment authorization that allows them to work freely.