The L1 visa for USA. L1 Visa for Intra-Corporate Transfer

The L1 visa for USA. L1 Visa for Intra-Corporate Transfer
The L1 visa for USA. L1 Visa for Intra-Corporate Transfer

What is an Intra-Company Transferee Visa?

The L1 Visa can be used by foreign companies to transfer an executive, manager, or specialized employee to a U.S.-based branch, affiliate or subsidiary company.

To accomplish the transfer of personnel, both the U.S. and foreign company must be owned by the same group of people in approximately the same proportions.

The other main requirement for the L-1 Visa is that the beneficiary must have been employed by the foreign company for at least 1 of the 3 years preceding the Visa petition.

There are 2 types of intra-company transferee Visas: The L-1A and the L1B.

The L1A is for managers or executives. It is granted for a maximum period of 7 years, and creates a direct path to permanent resident status (Green Card). The L1A to Green Card process can be very lengthy and complicated, since premium processing is not offered and USCIS issues a request for evidence in most cases. On the other hand, the EB1c classification is very desirable, because it does not require the employer to go through the PERM process, and does not require the beneficiary to have any particular academic or professional qualification.

The L1B is for specialized employees. It is granted for a maximum period of 5 years. Over 70% of the L1B cases receive a Request For Evidence, and many are denied. USCIS has recently tighten the requirements to obtain the L1B Visa.

How do I get an L-1 Visa?

The L-1 visa or “Intracompany Transferee” is a non-immigrant visa, which allows companies operating both in the United States, and abroad, to transfer certain classes of employee, in the managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge, to U.S. subsidiaries.

Even though L-1 visa was created for large multinational companies, it allows a start-up foreign company, which does not yet have a U.S. subsidiary, to expand its business and services. With the aim of creating a branch or subsidiary, a skilled executive or manager may enter the United States to set up a new office and will be eligible for a maximum stay of one year.

The employee must have worked at one of the locations of the corresponding American company, for at least a year out of the last three.

There are two types of classification for the L-1 visa:

  1. Managers and Executives: L -1A visa

L-1A visa is issued to people who have been employed for at least 1 out of 3 years, with managerial duties in a foreign corporate office. L-1A visa is granted for a period of three years, which can be extended for other two up to a maximum of seven years. L-1A creates a direct path to permanent residency.

  1. Employees specializing Office: L- 1B visa

L-1B is designed for employees considered skilled people with “specialized knowledge” that is with an advanced level of knowledge of products, services, research, management, or procedures and its applications in international markets.

It has become progressively more difficult to obtain L-1 Visas. If you petition was denied, you have the option of filing an immigration appeal.

Some large multi-national companies that are frequent users of the L-1 preference establish in advance an intra-companies relationship, through the “L-1 Blanket Petition Program“. The approval of a Blanket Petition does not warrant an official L-1 classification.

Spouses and children (unmarried and below 21 years of age) of the L-1 visa holders may seek admission through an L-2 visa, granted for the same period of residence of the worker. The spouse may apply for work authorization.

L-1 Visa holder must abide the conditions on their Visa. If they do not, they are subject to removal proceedings, which would require assistance of a defense lawyer.

Understanding the L-1 Intra-Corporate Visa.

When a foreign company wishes to transfer to its American subsidiary, affiliate or joint venture, an executive, manager, or an employee having specialized knowledge and having been employed by the company during no less than one year preceding the application.

It can do so after having obtained the consent of the Department of Immigration. It is necessary however that the American subsidiary, affiliate, joint venture, or branch office be created and that the foreign mother company holds 51% of shares or that shares be split 50%-50% with dual veto power between the foreign and U.S. companies.

How many times have you listened to advice by people who, in good faith, wanted to help you but misled you in trying to obtain a visa or work permit to the United States?

We will show you that it is not necessary to be misled by utilizing the typical example of an L-1 visa, intracorporate transfer, favoring companies, associations, and all other legal entities which are constituted in a country other than the United States and who establish ties with the U.S..

A foreign general contractor who had been in his business for a long time, decided to settle in the United States, following a slowdown of the market in his home country.

After obtaining his visa, his company must continue to function abroad for a reasonable period of time, that is to say that no matter what its charter (federal or provincial) it must continue its activities.

On arrival to the United States, this entrepreneur creates a company having the same (or similar) functions as the foreign company, which becomes the parent company; as long as the operations of this new company are not illegal he will be able to constitute it and to manage it.

Since, however, he has interests both abroad and in the United States, he will have to travel often and the L-1 visa applied for by the foreign company to transfer him to the parent company in the U.S. will allow him to do so at will. Moreover he will have the possibility of living more than 183 consecutive days per year in the U.S.

This limit is imposed on non-Americans (special attention should be paid to the tax aspect of this situation since you may involuntarily become a tax resident of the United States by the duration and status of your stay in America).

This visa is valid for a period of one to three years with a possibility for renewal up to seven years. Consequently, if the presence of this applicant is necessary for the management of the American company he will be able to stay in the United States in order to work. He will not however be able to work for another company.

If at the end of the first year (or any time thereafter) he decides to become a permanent resident of the United States and that the U.S. operation is proved viable he will, thanks to his multinational executive or managerial status, be able to have his status changed from non-immigrant to immigrant.

The waiting period is approximately three years unless that person has exceptional talents.

He will be able to continue working for the company during that period.

The L-1 visa applications are prepared in the intended jurisdiction of operations then sent to the Regional Adjudication Center for INS analysis. One must allow approximately six months in order to obtain approval.

That is the time required in order to complete a file and have it studied. If the individual is in the United States, his tourist visa can be changed to an L-1 visa. If he is abroad, his visa is sent by the Immigration and Naturalization Service to the embassy or to the consulate of the city in which the parent company is established. In some countries, approval of the request is sent to a designated point of entry.

Our entrepreneur, enthusiastic as he is, worries because the company has not made any profits in the past year and has not declared them. He must know that the immigration department is interested in knowing about profits of the foreign company its sales and the number of employees.

In order to satisfy its requirements, the foreign company must have generated a ‘respectable’ sales figure of over $150,000.

L-1 Visa to Green Card

If you are from another country, you may be confused about all the paperwork that is required in order to get the documentation that is required to make you legal so you can live and work in the United States. These are complicated documents that must be completely accurately by a qualified law firm in order to ensure a smooth transition and the approvals that you need.

L-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa that specifically enables companies to transfer their employees to U.S operations. This is a work visa that allows you to come to the U.S. and perform your duties with your company. You can apply for a green card, which gives you permanent residency, while you have an L-1 Visa.

If you choose to apply for a green card, your L-1 Visa won’t be in jeopardy and you can still leave the country while your application is being considered. The requirements for the L-1 Visa to Green Card application are complex, and there are some differences of note between the L1A and the L1B.

In order to qualify for an L-1 A Visa, you must be the manager or executive of a company for at least a year before coming to the U.S. If you have an L-1 B Visa, you are an intracompany employee with specialized knowledge. With an L-1 B Visa, you will have to apply for labor certification in order to apply for a green card. Labor certification requires that your employer show there are no minimally required U.S. workers available to fill your position at their company.

An L-1 Visa offers “dual content”, which means you can continue to live and work in the U.S. as usual after you have applied for your green card. After you have worked in the U.S. for a continuous year you can opt to apply for a green card to stay in the U.S. permanently. It is wise to seek assistance when you are wanting to convert from an L-1 Visa to a green card. An expert is trained in how to properly complete the paperwork so the transition will go more smoothly.


Intra-Corporate Transfers most frequently asked question

The most frequently asked question in the field of immigration law is about the time required in order to obtain a visa. Delays are generally normal and expected.

But since the United States has become a springboard to four continents, the requirements have considerably increased. Immigration officials can have a difficult time being up-to-date with their files.

This is the case of most U.S. immigration offices nationwide although the implementation of computer service has helped streamline their operation in recent years.
There is however a visa that one can obtain rather rapidly if one satisfies certain conditions. Are you the executive or manager of a foreign corporation, or do you have specialized knowledge? If this is the case, you may be able to qualify for the L1A visa.

This visa applies to the intracorporate transfer, which allows an American subsidiary, branch, parent, affiliate or joint venture to require the services of an employee of the foreign company in order to help develop the existing or new American company. It is a visa which is issued from one to three years initially.

It may be extended every year up to a maximum period of seven years, the latter two years being for cases of extreme emergency.
What are the advantages of this visa? First, a decision can be obtained relatively quickly, usually within a two month period if the parent company has existed for longer than one year and that the transferred person has been employed in the foreign company during at least one preceding year.

Then, if, after one year of employment in the U.S., this person wishes to become an American resident, he may apply without having to obtain a labor certification. The subsequent residency procedure can take up to three years.

Now what are some of the disadvantages? The parent company must continue its operations in the foreign country. This means that the company must have sufficient resources to continue operating outside of the United States and keep its employees, offices, tax reports and all the other ordinary expenses of an operating business.

Today the restrictions for obtaining such a visa are such that generally large corporation can use it. The word “large” is open to interpretation depending on sales, profits and number of employees.

It is important to remember that the parent company must be real and not fictitious and must be able to demonstrate its operations. A foreign company created solely for visa purposes is not acceptable. However the creation of the foreign company as a subsidiary of the U.S. company is acceptable because the L1 visa will be issued as long as the company has the intention or has already taken preliminary steps to doing business in the American market.

The question one asks oneself most often on the subject of the L1 visa is the following: “In the case of the president of the parent company, can he be transferred to his American subsidiary?” The answer is yes. Let us take the case of a contractor who has a business in a foreign country.

His company abroad may have a federal or provincial charter. From now on he wishes to diversify his construction operations in America.

He will keep his company active in the foreign country and be sent by the head office in order to undertake the necessary procedures in for business development in America. In the case of a high level executive, his responsibilities will encompass contract negotiations, legal matters, establishing working relationships, accounting for reports to the foreign company and supervision of lower level executives and employees, although presumably not on a day-to-day basis, which is the function of a top manager.

What are the essential documents required in order to be eligible for an L1 visa? In addition to the forms provided by the Immigration Department (I-129L), it will be necessary to prove the existence and longevity of the foreign company as well as the American one by using articles of incorporation, financial statements and other.

Once the L1 visa has been approved it is necessary to complete consular procedures. With the stamp entered into your passport, the beneficiary presents it to the immigration officer at the border who will give you an I- 94 arrival/departure card. This small white form allows you to enter and leave the country at will during the complete period for which the visa is specified.

Most nationals must apply for the L-1 Visa stamp at the U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country before entering the U.S. Although the Immigration Service may approve a petition within the U.S., the State Department (i.e. Consulate/Embassy) has the authority to deny issuance of the visa if they believe that your initial intent is to become an immigrant to the U.S. or if there are other local circumstances which may cloud your issuance.

The holder of this visa, since he or she is considered a non-immigrant, continues to pay taxes in his country of origin, even if he receives fees from the American corporation. However, it is preferable to consult an accountant specialized in tax laws of both countries.

In most circumstances, persons staying greater than three months in the U.S. may trigger U.S. tax consequences.

L1 Visa vs H-1B

American technology companies with a branch, parent, subsidiary or affiliate office in another country may take advantage of another type of visa that rivals the H-1B in its advantages. The L-1 visa is designed to facilitate the transfer of employees from a foreign company to its American company relative.

Owners, executives, managers and persons with a specialized knowledge of the foreign company that have worked for one out of the last three years at the foreign company are eligible for this visa. It has a duration of up to seven years and, like the H-1B, can lead to permanent residence.

It has a duration of up to seven years and, like the H-1B, can lead to permanent residence and it is perhaps the most direct conduit to permanent residency in the United States.

Spouses and children may accompany L-1 professional workers and spouses are permitted to accept employment in the US.

What are the steps to follow in the L 1 Visa Green Card immigration process?

The L-1 Visa allows companies that do business in both the United State and a foreign country to transfer certain categories of workers to the American office of the corporation.

One requisite is that the Visa beneficiary must have worked for at least 1 of the 3 preceding years for the company.

The L-1A Visa is designed for Managers and Executives of the Companies. It is granted for an initial period of 3 years, and an L-1 Visa extension can be granted in 2-year increments for a maximum period of 7 years.

The L 1 Visa Green Card process of managerial and executive positions can be accomplished by filing a Petition for Alien Worker on Form I-140 with USCIS. L1A Visa workers are exempt from the Labor Certification requirement, and can qualify for the EB1-C Green Card.

The L1B Visa is for employees with specialized knowledge. USCIS adopts stringent requirements when it comes to determining specialized knowledge, and many petitions receive Request For Evidence (RFE) or Visa denials.

The L1B Visa is granted for an initial period of 3 years, and can only be renewed for another 2-year period.

The L1B Visa does not create a path to permanent residency, so the L1 Visa Green Card process for a specialized employee is generally lengthy and more burdensome. L1B Visa workers generally fall into the Eb-3 Visa category.

Get more information here about the Eb -5

In some cases it is possible to switch directly from L-1B to EB-1 Green Card as Multinational Manager.

You should consult with an experienced immigration lawyer.

The prior classification as a specialized employee has not bearing on the EB1 petition if the beneficiary was previously employed for the company abroad in a managerial or executive capacity.

The Labor Certification process is designed to protect American employees, and requires an employer to prove that no U.S. worker was qualified for the position offered to the foreign worker.

The employer will be required to post job advertisements on 2 Sunday newspapers, and also some additional recruitment steps in case of professional positions.

In sum, the L1 Visa Green Card process can get complicated. Any mistake in the petitioning process can result in serious delays or even Visa denials.

However, if your case was denied, you can file an L-1 Visa Appeal with the Administrative Appeals Office or with a Federal District Court.

The assistance of a good immigration and corporate attorney is always recommended.


More information here: Law Offices New York and New Jersey – L1 Visa Lawyer in NY and NJ

L1 Visa – Intracompany Transferee

Comparison of L1 and H1B Visa

L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager

Qualification and Requirements of an L-1 Visa Application

US L1 Visa for L1A Managers and L1B Specialized Knowledge Workers

L1 Visa Benefits

L1 Visa Program – intra-company transfer visa

L1 Visa, L2 Visa
For those aspiring to work in USA or already working in USA temporarily on an intra-company transfer, here is some useful information.

  • L1 Visa Overview
  • L1 Visa Application Process
  • L1 Blanket Visa
  • L1 Visa Extension
  • L1A Visa
  • L1B Visa
  • L2 Visa Application Process
  • L1 / L2 visa stamping process
  • L1 Visa
  • L1 Visa Document Requirements
  • L1 Visa FAQ
  • L2 Visa
  • EAD for L2 Visa

l1 visa: Everything You Need to Know

How easy is it to get an L1 visa?
Does it have any time or quota-related restrictions like for H1-B?
How much time does the entire process take?
Once in the U.S., is it possible to get it converted to an H1-B for the same company?

L1 Visa Requirements

L1 Visa – The Intra-Company Transfer Visa for USA -Requirements, Benefits, Limitations, Forms and FAQ

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USA L1 Visa. Start your own business in US & Get Fastest Green Card

L1 Visa – Frequently Asked Questions


The L1 visa for USA. L1 Visa for Intra-Corporate Transfer. L1 visa process. L1 visa processing time