L-1 Visa: Intra-Company Transfer Visa for USA

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-1A Visa:

  1. 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;
  2. 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;
  3. The non-U.S. company must remain in operation while you have the L-1 visa.

Key Points for L-1 Visa:

  1. The proposed nature of the office describing the scope of the entity, its organizational structure, and its financial goals;
  2. The size of the U.S. investment;
  3. The financial ability of the foreign entity to remunerate the beneficiary and to commence doing business in the U.S.;
  4. The organizational structure of the foreign entity;
  5. The parent company and subsidiary company relationship.

Category of L-1

  1. L-1A Manager/Executive
  2. L-1B 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-1B Visa: Initial petition will be approved for 3 years, and can be renewed once for 2 years for total of 5 years.