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L-1A/L-1B Intracompany Transferee Visa

The L-1 visa allows a foreign employer to transfer an executive, manager, or specialized knowledge employee to their affiliated U.S. based office.The L-1 classification is divided into two categories.

The L-1A visa applies to executives and managers, while the L-1B visa applies to employees with specialized knowledge.

The general requirements for the employer are the same for both L-1 categories, but differ with regard to the employees depending on the type of employee being petitioned for.

The L-1 employer must have a qualifying relationship with the foreign company providing that is transferring the employee. The relationship can be that of a parent, company, branch, subsidiary or affiliate.

The petitioning employer must presently or in the future conduct business in the U.S. and at least one other country during the pendency of the L-1 visa holder’s employment in the U.S.

The L-1 employee must have been working for the associated foreign company outside the U.S. for at least one year continuously within the preceding three years

For new offices, the L-1 employer must also demonstrate it has acquired ample office space, the employee has been continuously working as an executive or manager for one year in the last three years prior to filing, and that the proposed new office will support the new position within one year of approval.

L-1 visa holders are permitted to stay and work in the U.S. for an initial period of up to three years, with extensions of stay granted for up to two additional years at a time. The maximum period of stay for L-1A employees is seven years, whereas the maximum period of stay for L-1B employees is five years.

Spouses and un-married children, under 21 years old, may accompany the L-1 employee to the United States. These family members are given L-2 status and are granted the same period of stay as the principal L-1 employee.

Spouse’s holding L-2 status are eligible for unrestricted work authorization in the U.S.

Specialized knowledge employees sent to the U.S. to establish a new office will be granted an initial period of stay of up to one year.

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