What is the L-1 Visa?:
The L-1 visa enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager (L-1A), or worker with specialized knowledge (L-1B) from one of their foreign offices to one of its U.S. offices. The L-1 visa also allows an executive or manager to be sent to the U.S. to establish a new U.S. office if the foreign company has not yet established one.
Do I Qualify for an L-1 Visa?
In order to qualify, the employer must (1) have a qualifying relationship with the foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate); and (2) must currently be, or willing to be, doing business as an employer in the U.S. and in at least one other country for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the U.S. as an L-1. The employee must (1) have worked for the foreign company abroad at least one continuous year within the past three years prior to admission into the U.S.; and (2) be seeking to enter the U.S. to provide service in an executive or managerial capacity for a branch of the same employer.
How do I apply for an L-1 Visa and how long does it last for?
The qualifying employee must be petitioned by their sponsoring employer who will file the initial Form I-129 along with the appropriate filing fee to USCIS. Our attorney has helped many employers successfully sponsor their employees secure L-1 visa status.
For qualified employees seeking to enter the U.S. to first establish a new office in the U.S., the maximum initial stay is one year. For other qualified employees, the maximum initial stay lasts for three years. An L-1 visa holder may request extension of stay, however these are only granted for up to an additional two years, until the employee reaches the maximum limit of seven years total.
The L-1 visa holder may bring his or her spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age into the U.S. as L-2 non-immigrants, generally approved for same period of stay as the L-1 visa holder. Additionally, the spouses of L-1 workers may apply for and receive work authorization by filing form I-765 with fee. The L-2 spouse will not have any specific work restrictions once their work authorization is approved.
If you have any questions related to the L-1 work visa, please call our office at 503-951-8209.