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.

Dependents

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

L-1 General Information Guide

Download MPLG’s L-1 Document Checklist. This contains a list of commonly requested documentation and information for L-1 petitions. You may not have every document itemized in this checklist, as it is intended as a guide of possible documents.

This Checklist contains information regarding:

  Basic Corporate Information for Forms

  Documentation of the legal relationship between the U.S. Company and the Foreign Company

  Documentation showing that both Entities are real and operating

  Beneficiary documents

We have included additional suggested documents for:

  New Office Openings

L-1 General Checklist

L-1 General Checklist

Other Resources

Travel Tips L-1
Travel Tips

This document provides general travel tips after the L-1 petition is approved.

Read More & Download

USCIS Memos

Satisfying the L-1 1-Year Foreign Employment Requirement
USCIS Memos1

November 15, 2018 – PM-602-0167 – Satisfying the L-1 1-Year Foreign Employment Requirement

This policy memorandum (PM) clarifies the requirement that the qualifying organization employ the principal L-1 beneficiary abroad for 1 continuous year out of the 3 years before the time of petition filing (“one-year foreign employment requirement”). This clarification is intended to ensure consistent adjudications of L-1 petitions with respect to the 1-year foreign employment requirement.

Specifically, this PM explains that: 1) the L-1 beneficiary must be physically outside the United States during the required 1 continuous year of employment (although in certain cases brief trips to the United States do not interrupt, or break, the 1 continuous year); and 2) the petitioner and the beneficiary must meet all requirements, including the 1 year of foreign employment, at the time the petitioner files the initial L-1 petition.1

Read More & Download

2017-12-29-PM-602-0155-L-1-Qualifying-Relationships-and-Proxy-Votes
USCIS Memos2

December 29, 2017 – PM-602-0155 – L-1 Qualifying Relationships and Proxy Votes

This policy memorandum (PM) clarifies the 1982 precedent decision, Matter of Hughes,1 by instructing officers that proxy votes must be irrevocable from the time of filing the L-1 petition through adjudication to establish a qualifying relationship. The petitioner must file an amended petition if any changes of ownership and control of the organization occur after USCIS adjudicates the petition.

Read More & Download

Matter-of_Z-A-Inc_Adopted_Decision-2016-02
USCIS Memos3

April 14, 2016 – PM-602-0131 – Matter of Z-A-, Inc., Adopted Decision 2016-02 (AAO Apr. 14, 2016)

This policy memorandum (PM) designates the attached decision of the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) in Matter of Z-A-, Inc. as an Adopted Decision. Accordingly, this adopted decision establishes policy guidance that applies to and binds all USCIS employees. USCIS personnel are directed to follow the reasoning in this decision in similar cases.
Matter of Z-A-, Inc. clarifies that, when determining whether the beneficiary of an L-1A nonimmigrant classification will primarily manage an essential function, USCIS officers must weigh all relevant factors including, as pertinent in the instant case, evidence of the beneficiary’s role within the wider qualifying international organization.

Read More & Download

2017-10-23-Rescission-of-Deference-PM602-0151
USCIS Memos3

October 23, 2017 – PM-602-0151 – Rescission of Guidance Regarding Deference to Prior Determinations of Eligibility in the Adjudication of Petitions for Extension of Nonimmigrant Status

This policy memorandum (PM) supersedes and rescinds the April 23, 2004 memorandum titled “The Significance of a Prior CIS Approval of a Nonimmigrant Petition in the Context of a Subsequent Determination Regarding Eligibility for Extension of Petition Validity” and section VII of the August 17, 2015 policy memorandum titled “L-1B Adjudications Policy.”

Read More & Download

General

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.

Dependents

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

L-1 General Information Guide
Checklist

Download MPLG’s L-1 Document Checklist. This contains a list of commonly requested documentation and information for L-1 petitions. You may not have every document itemized in this checklist, as it is intended as a guide of possible documents.

This Checklist contains information regarding:

  Basic Corporate Information for Forms

  Documentation of the legal relationship between the U.S. Company and the Foreign Company

  Documentation showing that both Entities are real and operating

  Beneficiary documents

We have included additional suggested documents for:

  New Office Openings

L-1 General Checklist

L-1 General Checklist
USCIS Memos & Other Resources

Other Resources

Travel Tips L-1
Travel Tips

This document provides general travel tips after the L-1 petition is approved.

Read More & Download

USCIS Memos

Satisfying the L-1 1-Year Foreign Employment Requirement
USCIS Memos1

November 15, 2018 – PM-602-0167 – Satisfying the L-1 1-Year Foreign Employment Requirement

This policy memorandum (PM) clarifies the requirement that the qualifying organization employ the principal L-1 beneficiary abroad for 1 continuous year out of the 3 years before the time of petition filing (“one-year foreign employment requirement”). This clarification is intended to ensure consistent adjudications of L-1 petitions with respect to the 1-year foreign employment requirement.

Specifically, this PM explains that: 1) the L-1 beneficiary must be physically outside the United States during the required 1 continuous year of employment (although in certain cases brief trips to the United States do not interrupt, or break, the 1 continuous year); and 2) the petitioner and the beneficiary must meet all requirements, including the 1 year of foreign employment, at the time the petitioner files the initial L-1 petition.1

Read More & Download

2017-12-29-PM-602-0155-L-1-Qualifying-Relationships-and-Proxy-Votes
USCIS Memos2

December 29, 2017 – PM-602-0155 – L-1 Qualifying Relationships and Proxy Votes

This policy memorandum (PM) clarifies the 1982 precedent decision, Matter of Hughes,1 by instructing officers that proxy votes must be irrevocable from the time of filing the L-1 petition through adjudication to establish a qualifying relationship. The petitioner must file an amended petition if any changes of ownership and control of the organization occur after USCIS adjudicates the petition.

Read More & Download

Matter-of_Z-A-Inc_Adopted_Decision-2016-02
USCIS Memos3

April 14, 2016 – PM-602-0131 – Matter of Z-A-, Inc., Adopted Decision 2016-02 (AAO Apr. 14, 2016)

This policy memorandum (PM) designates the attached decision of the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) in Matter of Z-A-, Inc. as an Adopted Decision. Accordingly, this adopted decision establishes policy guidance that applies to and binds all USCIS employees. USCIS personnel are directed to follow the reasoning in this decision in similar cases.
Matter of Z-A-, Inc. clarifies that, when determining whether the beneficiary of an L-1A nonimmigrant classification will primarily manage an essential function, USCIS officers must weigh all relevant factors including, as pertinent in the instant case, evidence of the beneficiary’s role within the wider qualifying international organization.

Read More & Download

2017-10-23-Rescission-of-Deference-PM602-0151
USCIS Memos3

October 23, 2017 – PM-602-0151 – Rescission of Guidance Regarding Deference to Prior Determinations of Eligibility in the Adjudication of Petitions for Extension of Nonimmigrant Status

This policy memorandum (PM) supersedes and rescinds the April 23, 2004 memorandum titled “The Significance of a Prior CIS Approval of a Nonimmigrant Petition in the Context of a Subsequent Determination Regarding Eligibility for Extension of Petition Validity” and section VII of the August 17, 2015 policy memorandum titled “L-1B Adjudications Policy.”

Read More & Download