L-1 INTRA-COMPANY TRANSFEREES VISAS
The L-1 visa is a temporary non-immigrant visa which allows a foreign company to relocate foreign qualified employees to its U.S. subsidiary or parent company, child company, or sister company. The qualified employee must have worked for a subsidiary, parent, affiliate or branch office of the company for at least one year out of the last three years. The L1 visa may also include non-profit, religious, or charitable organizations.
The L-1 visa is a good way for small or start-up overseas companies to expand their business and services to the United States. L1 visas can also be used by multi-national companies who are developing new markets in other countries.
Whatever the case may be, the L visa is specifically designed to facilitate the needs of intra-company transfers by companies. There are two different L-1 visa classifications: L1A and L1B.
L-1A visas – Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager:
L-1A visas are designed for intra-company executive transferees coming to work in the U.S. The L-1A visa holders must have been employed in an executive or managerial capacity for the foreign company at an overseas location continuously for at least one year out of the past three years.
L-1B visas – Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge:
L-1B are designed for professional employees with specialized knowledge. An example of specialized knowledge personnel would be an individual who possesses proprietary knowledge about a company’s product and who travels to the U.S. to impart his or her specialized knowledge to new U.S. employees. In addition, companies who currently do not have an office in the United States can use the L-1B visa to send over an employee with specialized knowledge to help establish one. An L1B visa is issued initially for three years with one two-year extension for a maximum of five years stay.
In both cases, the U.S. company and foreign company must be related in a specific way such through a parent/subsidiary relationship or through an affiliated employer.
L-1 Blanket Visa:
The USCIS has provided a special set of procedures to be used by companies that are frequent users of the L-1 visa category and are large multi-national organizations. This is called the “L-1 Blanket Petition Program”. Under this program, the approved company need only receive one approval from the USCIS to transfer a certain number managerial, executive and professional employees.
On completing the maximum allowable period, the L-1 holder must leave the United States for minimum of one year and must work for foreign operation of the U.S. Company before becoming eligible to reapply for an L visa.
One of the privileges of the L1 visa, as opposed to many other nonimmigrant visas, is that it is a ‘dual intent’ visa. In other words, under the terms of the L-1 visa, the L-1 visa holder may apply for a Green Card and become a permanent resident without jeopardizing his/her L-1 visa status or their visa applications from a U.S. consular office abroad. Another advantage is that visa numbers are almost always current if apply for Green card through EB-1C category. This means that the L1 visa holder will not have to wait for visa numbers to become available before applying Adjustment of Status and receiving a Green Card.
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