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L-1 Visas – Intracompany Transferees

L-1 visas are issued to foreign employees of companies who need to transfer their employees from their foreign company to the U.S. company as a manager or executive (L-1A) or as a person of specialized knowledge (L-1B).

The requirements to obtain an L-1 visa include the following:

  1. The foreign national should have worked continuously for the foreign company for at least one year within the last three years preceding his application for admission to the United States in an executive, managerial or specialized knowledge capacity.
  2. The foreign company should be the parent, branch, subsidiary or the affiliate of the U.S. company.
  3. Foreign national should be coming to the United States to work temporarily for the U.S. company, which can be the affiliate or the subsidiary of the foreign company.
  4. Both U.S. and foreign companies must be in active business (unless a U.S. company is a newly formed company) and a qualifying organization includes majority stock ownership or control in both companies.
  5. Foreign national must be coming to the United States to work in a managerial or executive (L-1A) or specialized knowledge (L-1B) capacity.

According to 8 C.F.R. Section 214.2(l)(1)(ii)(C) executive capacity is defined as an assignment in an organization in which the employee primarily:

  1. Directs the management of the organization or major component or function of the organization;
  2. Establishes the goals and policies of the organization;
  3. Exercises wide latitude in discretionary decision making; and
  4. Receives only general supervision or direction from higher level executives, the board of directors, or stockholders of the organization.

According to 8 C.F.R. Section 214.2(l)(1)(ii)(B) managerial capacity is defined as an assignment in an organization in which the employee primarily:

  1. Manages the organization, department, subdivision, function or component of the organization;
  2. Supervises and controls the work of other supervisory, professional or managerial employees, or manages an essential function within the organization, or a department or subdivision of the organization;
  3. Has authority to hire and fire or recommend other personnel actions (if other employees are directly supervised), or if no direct supervision, functions at a senior level within the organizational hierarchy or with respect to the function managed; and
  4. Exercises discretion over day-to-day operations of the activity or function for which the employee has authority.

According to 8 C.F.R. Section 214.2(l)(1)(ii)(D) specialized knowledge means special knowledge possessed by an individual of the company's product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management or other interests and its application in international markets or has an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the company's processes and procedures. A specialized knowledge person should have knowledge of the particular aspects of the business which is not known within the U.S. employees.

L-1A employee in the United States can be compensated by either the U.S. company or the foreign company abroad. However, the L-1 employee's activities in the United States has to be controlled by the U.S. company. Also, the L-1 employee's salary does not have to be controlled by the prevailing wage requirement and they can be paid any reasonable amount by the company.

The doctrine of dual intent applies in L-1 cases. As such, an L-1 employee can apply for adjustment of status in the United States and still be able to work in L-1 status or apply for extension of L-1 status.

Initially L-1 visa is usually issued for (3) three years unless the U.S. office is a new office where the visa is issued initially for one year only. Managers and executives can extend their L-1A status for a maximum of period of 7 years, whereas specialized knowledge employees can extend their L-1B status for the maximum period of 5 years.

Spouses and children of the L-1 employees receive L-2 status. Spouses in L-2 status are allowed to apply for employment authorization and can work while in L-2 status.

 

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We do not represent the Department of Homeland Security or any legal entity. All content on this site is strictly for informational purposes meant to help you make an informed decision regarding you, or your loved ones immigration to the U.S. Be sure to consult our immigration attorney for any legal advice.

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