What is an L1 Visa?
The L-1 visa category provides a way for companies with offices in the US and abroad to transfer foreign national employees to work in a US-based office. The L-1 visa category is useful to companies of all sizes – while a small overseas company might use this category to transfer a manager to supervise the establishment of a US branch office, a large multinational corporation might also use this classification to transfer a skilled employee to a US office to address a targeted need. Form I-129 is used to initiate the L-1 visa application process.
Qualifications for L-1 Visas
To qualify for the L-1 visa category, the foreign national employee must have worked for the company outside of the US for at least one continuous year, within the last three years. While L-1 visas are a type of temporary work visa, those traveling to the United States with an L-1 visa may be able to extend their stay by eventually applying for a green card. The employee must also be coming to the US to work for a related business entity (e.g. parent, subsidiary, or affiliate company) in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity. Also, the US employer must continue doing business in the US and at least one other country for the duration of the L-1 employee’s stay in the US.
Work Requirements for L-1 Visas
L-1 visa applicants must be a full-time employee of the company that they intend to work for in the United States. While L-1 visa applicants do not need to work full-time within the United States, they must be employed full-time by the company in which they work.
For example, L-1 visa applicants would not be required to maintain full-time status in the United States; however, they must work on a full-time basis with the company in which they’re transferring. To further explain this example, imagine that George works for Company Y and has an L-1 visa. In this example, let’s say that 40 hours a week would qualify George as working full-time. George could work 30 hours a week for Company Y in the United States, while also working 10 hours a week for Company Y in his native country. To meet L-1 visa eligibility requirements, George must maintain full-time working status with the company in which he’s subject to an intracompany transfer, but this full-time work can be split between the company’s United States and native country location.
L-1 Visas: Blanket Petitions for Employers
Additionally, employers may file an L-1 blanket petition. The blanket petition for L-1 visas can be used to approve the transfer of a group of foreign national employees from a single company to the United States.
L-1A Visas & L-1B Visas: What’s the Difference?
Generally, L-1A visas are for managers and executives who may be admitted to the US for up to seven years, while L-1B visas are for specialized knowledge employees who may only be admitted for up to five years.
Help With L-1 Visas from an Experienced Immigration Lawyer
Depending on the job position, it can be confusing whether an L-1 visa applicant is best suited for an L-1A visa or an L-1B visa. Improper filing could delay your career plans.
Whether you have questions about the type of L-1 visa to apply for or if you need guidance with the L-1 visa process, schedule a consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer.
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Immigration requirements change frequently, and complying with the immigration process can be confusing. Mistakes could hinder your professional goals for years.