L-1 Intra-company Transferee
L-1 visa classification is available to foreign workers who work for multinational
companies doing business in the U.S., and who wish to temporarily enter the U.S.
to perform services either in a managerial or executive capacity (L-1A) or services
that require specialized knowledge (L-1B) for a U.S.-based parent, branch, subsidiary
or affiliate of the same company that employed the foreign worker abroad.
L-1 classification requires that the employee have been employed abroad for the
foreign corporation, firm, or other legal entity (or a foreign affiliate or subsidiary
of a U.S.-based company) on a full-time basis for at least one continuous year out
of the previous three years (subject to reduced minimum requirements in cases of
blanket petitions). In addition, the U.S. based-petitioner must demonstrate a qualifying
relationship with the entity abroad, the proffered position must qualify as one of
an executive or managerial nature or one that requires specialized knowledge, and
the beneficiary must be shown to possess the qualifications for the qualifying position
Additional petitioner eligibility requirements exist in cases where the U.S. work-site
in question is new, including a showing: that sufficient premises to house the new
office have been secured, that the new work-site will have a qualifying relationship
to the foreign employer, and that the new work-site will be able to support the executive
or managerial position within one year of the approval of the petition. (L-1A visas
This classification does require an approved petition for employment. Prior to
the foreign worker applying for an L-1 visa, the U.S. employer must obtain petition
approval from the US CIS. If the intra-company transferee is outside of the U.S.,
he or she must apply directly at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. (Please note:
in some cases, the applicant must apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in his or
her home country. See the Visa Issuance section for more
If the intra-company transferee is inside the U.S. and wishes to extend his or
her L-1 Non-immigrant visa status, his or her authorized employer must apply for
approval from the US CIS in connection with the underlying petition for employment.
High volume or high gross annual income employers who regularly file L-1Non-immigrant
visa petitions may wish to consider filing for a blanket L petition. This
simplifies the process of approving and admitting additional individual L-1A and
Temporary intra-company transferees may be initially admitted to the U.S. in L-1
visa status for up to three years with the option to extend for a total of seven
years (L-1A) or five years (L-1B) by filing a timely petition for extension of stay
with the US CIS. As is the case with all Non-immigrant visa classifications, the
duration for which one is allowed to remain in the U.S. in L-1 status is governed
by the expiration date indicated on the most recently issued I-94 card, except in
cases where a non-frivolous extension of stay request has been timely filed. (See
How do I know if I am lawfully present in the U.S.? in the
FAQ section for more details.)
L-1A and L-1B Non-immigrant status is an employer-specific work authorized status
pursuant to the terms and conditions upon which L-1 status was granted.
A foreign national on this visa may be eligible to apply for permanent residency
if his/her employer requires his/her services permanently. Please click
here for information on employment immigration.
An L-1 Non-immigrant visa worker may simultaneously pursue permanent residency
without negatively impacting his or her continued eligibility for L-1 Non-immigrant
visa status. Accordingly, the filing of a labor certification application, I-140
immigrant visa petition or I-485 adjustment of status application is not a basis
for denying a change of status to, extension of stay in, or visa for L-1 status.
This protective concept is known as the "dual intent doctrine" and is recognized
under immigration laws for several Non-immigrant visa classifications, including
The spouse and minor children of L-1 visa holders may apply for derivative L-2
visa classification in order to accompany or follow to join the principal visa holder
(at the consulate). L-2 status is conditioned on maintenance of valid L-1 status
by the principal visa holder and dependent eligibility, and unlike most dependent
Non-immigrant visa classifications, L-2 is a work authorized visa classification.
However, such work authorization is subject to restrictions and requires application
to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for authorization to accept
employment in the U.S.
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