L-1 Visa

Intracompany transferees

INA §101(a)(15)(L); 8 CFR §214.2(l) 

The L-1 visa is a temporary work visa for executive or managerial level employees (L-1A) or specialized knowledge workers (L-1B) employed by a multinational company abroad for more than one (1) year, and being transferred to a U.S. company with a qualified corporate relationship to the foreign employer.

L-1 General Requirements

  1. The employee must have worked abroad for the overseas company for a continuous period of one year in the preceding three years;
  2. The overseas company for which the employee has worked for a year abroad must have a qualified relationship to the U.S. company, such as parent/subsidiary, branch, affiliate;
  3. The U.S. company (and sponsoring employer) must be a qualifying organization – namely, one that is doing business in the United States and one other country during the entire period of approved U.S. L-1 employment;
  4. The transferring employee must have been employed abroad in an “executive” or “managerial” position (L-1A) or a position involving “specialized knowledge” (L-1B);
  5. The employee must be coming to the U.S. company to fill one of these capacities (Executive, Managerial, or Specialized Knowledge);
  6. The employee must be qualified for the position by virtue of his or her prior education and experience;
  7. The L-1 visa holder must intend to depart the United States upon completion of his or her authorized stay.

L-1 For New Office

L-1 visa is available for opening new office in the U.S. In addition to the General Requirements above, the following requirements also apply:

  1. The U.S. Company must secure sufficient real estate;
  2. The employee must have worked abroad for the overseas company for a continuous period of one year in the preceding three years in executive or managerial capacity, and the proposed employment involves executive or managerial authority;
  3. Within 1 year of approval, the U.S. operation must show substantial growth and business operations to support an executive or managerial position.


Beneficiaries of L visas may be joined by their qualifying dependents (spouses and children). Qualifying dependents would apply for dependent L-2 visas and upon entrance into the U.S. are eligible to apply for work authorization.

Time Limitations

An L-1 visa is granted initially for up to 3 years (L-1s for new offices are granted initially for 1 year).  Additional extensions up to 7 years may also be obtained for Executives and Managers (L-1A); and up to 5 years for Specialized Knowledge Employees (L-1B).

Dual-Intent and Future Green Card Applications

An L-1 visa is a “dual intent” visa.  This means that a person on an L-1 visa can have the temporary intent to work for an L-1 employer, but also have the intent to permanently reside in the U.S.  Thus, because of this dual intent, a person on an L-1 visa can also simultaneously have their application for permanent residence (green card) pending – furthermore, the allowance for dual intent does not differentiate between family and employment based applications for permanent residence.

Blanket L-1

Blanket L-1 Visa petitions allow a qualified U.S. employer to apply for the L-1 Visa on behalf of multiple employees under a single petition. Generally, blanket petitions are only available for larger corporations as certain criteria must be met. Once the Blanket L-1 is approved, employers have greater flexibility in transferring employees to the United States.

Information Guide

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