L-1 Visa Program » L1-A for Intracompany Transferee and L1-B for Employees with Specialized Knowledge

Watch this video to learn which of the visas in the L-1 Visa Program you'll need to work temporarily in the US.

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Are you an employer in the US who wants to hire a foreign worker with specialized knowledge or a foreign manager or executive for a temporary position? The L-1 visa program could help you relocate temporarily to the US for work if you meet specific requirements.

Are you an employee of an international company either as a manager or an executive or someone with specialized knowledge and you want 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 visas that individuals and business owners can apply for and they are the L-1A and the L-1B.

To be eligible for the L-1 visa, applicants must:

Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company and the employee is being 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's US office. The L-1 visa has two categories - L-1A and L-1B.

The L-1A visa is for business owners or 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 in order 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, or 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 of 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.

What are the Processing Times for the L-1 Visas? 

Processing times for intra-company transfer/specialized knowledge visas vary depending on several factors:

  • The office or service center responsible for processing the file
  • The type of immigrant or non-immigrant visa
  • L-1 visa interview wait times (if applicable)
  • Whether the applicant can qualify for an expedited interview appointment
  • Whether Expedited processing is available
  • Whether Premium Processing is available
  • Providing insufficient or incomplete documents can lead to delays in processing and even denials

Top 10 Reasons for Refusal of the L-1 Visa Application 

While there are many reasons why your L-1 visa could be refused, we have listed the top ten most common ones here:

  1. Current and or past immigration status and history for the US or abroad, including overstaying and unauthorized employment
  2. Insufficient funds to support themselves during their stay
  3. Incorrect or incomplete petition
  4. Insufficient supporting evidence
  5. Conflicts with travel documentation
  6. Health concerns
  7. Suspicious of malicious intent
  8. Problems with background check
  9. Criminal history/Being convicted of a crime/Suspected or known ties to terrorism
  10. Material Misrepresentation

The L-1 Visa » Other FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Can an L-1 visa holder’s spouse work? 

If your spouse qualifies for employment authorization documents (EAD), he or she could work in the US. Your spouse will need to enter the US on an L-2 visa. Once an EAD is granted, your spouse will be able to work in the US.

What are the benefits of the L-1 visa? 

  • Few requirements to apply
  • Job offer is not required
  • No annual cap on the number of L-1 visas given
  • Your spouse and dependents are permitted to work

Is the L-1 visa a multiple entry visa? 

Yes, the L-1 allows travel in and out of the US for the length of the visa.

Why Contact My Visa Source for an Assessment? 

Congratulations on taking your first step toward visiting and working temporarily in the United States.

The more research you do on the immigration process, the more you will learn about your specific situation and how we can help you navigate through the L-1 visa process.

My Visa Source’s immigration lawyers dedicate themselves to your immigration case, providing legal representation tailored to your personal situation.

Our expertise focuses on immigration and visa programs for the United States and Canada, including global immigration.

Partnering with an award-winning immigration team greatly increases the likelihood of achieving your specific immigration or visa goals.

Begin Your Application for the Intracompany Transferee or the Specialized Knowledge L-1 Visa Today! 

Securing personalized legal help is quick and simple. Begin with our one-minute online immigration assessment form or call us toll-free at 1-888-509-1987.

We have a dedicated team of licensed professionals standing by, ready to answer your immigration and visa questions.

Immigration is a complex process that requires strong legal strategy, precise paperwork and perfect attention to detail, reducing the risk of wasted time, money or permanent rejection.

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