The L-1 visa enables a U.S. employer to transfer foreign workers from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This visa also permits a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an specialized employee to the United States to establish a new one.
Employer and Employee Requirements
The employer must:
- Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate); and
- Currently be, or will be, doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States as an L-1.
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; and
- Be seeking to enter the United States to provide service in an executive or managerial capacity for a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.
Period of Stay
Qualified employees entering the United States to establish a new office will be allowed a maximum initial stay of one year. All other qualified employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of three years. For all L-1A employees, requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to an additional two years, until the employee has reached the maximum limit of seven years.
Family of L-1 Workers
The transferring employee may be accompanied or followed by his or her spouse and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. Such family members may seek admission and, if approved, generally will be granted the same period of stay as the employee.