Are you an employer in the US who wants to hire a foreign worker with specialized knowledge, a foreign manager or an executive for a temporary position? The L-1 visa program could help you temporarily relocate to the US for work if you meet the specific requirements.
Are you an employee of an international company as a manager, an executive or someone with specialized knowledge wanting to continue working for the same company, but for a temporary period in the United States?
Who Qualifies or is Eligible for the L-1 Visa for the United States?
The L-1 Visa is employment-based and applies to non-immigrant individuals, families or businesses who are seeking temporary status through temporary employment in the US.
Within the L-1 Visa Program, there are two types of visas that individuals and business owners can apply for, the L-1A visa and the L-1B visa.
To be eligible for the L-1 visa, applicants must:
Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company and be transferred to work for the US entity in the US (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate, collectively referred to as qualifying organizations).
The L-1 visa holder must intend on doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States.
While the business must be viable, there is no requirement that it be engaged in international trade.
The employee must have been working for a qualifying organization abroad for one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding his or her admission to the United States.
What is the L-1 Visa?
The L-1 visa is for foreign individuals, families, and business owners to enter the United States to work temporarily in a management or executive position, or as a person with specialized knowledge.
The visa allows such foreign workers to relocate from a foreign corporation to the same corporation in a US office. The L-1 visa has two categories - L-1A and L-1B.
The L-1A visa is for business owners, intra-company executives or managers to be transferred to the United States to work. This visa also allows a company that does not currently have a US office to send the owner or a manager to the United States to establish a branch of the business in the US.
The L-1B visa is for employees who hold positions that require specialized skills and knowledge. The US Department of Immigration Services sets specific criteria for what it considers “specialized knowledge.”
The L-1A Visa » Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager
This non-immigrant visa allows US employers to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one in the US.
Executive capacity generally refers to the employee’s ability to make decisions of wide latitude without much oversight.
Managerial capacity generally refers to the ability of the employee to supervise and control the work of professional employees and to manage the organization, a department, subdivision, function, or component of the organization.
It may also refer to the employee’s ability to manage an essential function of the organization at a high level, without direct supervision of others.
The L-1B Visa » For Foreign Employees with Specialized Knowledge
This non-immigrant visa allows foreign employees with specialized knowledge to work temporarily in the United States.
Employers who wish to transfer an employee with specialized knowledge to the US after working overseas for the company for one year in the last three years may facilitate the L-1B process.
Specialized knowledge means either special knowledge possessed by an individual of the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures
What are the Requirements for the L-1 Visa?
You must have worked outside the United States for one full year within the preceding three years on a full-time basis. You must have worked for a "qualifying organization" outside the United States as an executive, manager, or possess "specialized knowledge".
You must ensure that you are being transferred to the United States to work for a new or existing US business that is either a subsidiary, branch or affiliate of the foreign company.