How do I qualify for an L1 visa?

Apply for this visaWhat are the two types of L1 visas?

What are the steps to an L1 visa?

If I obtain an L1 visa, can my spouse work in the US?

What is a blanket L1 visa?

L1 visa or E visa: Which is the best option?

How can Immigration Law Offices help my business?

The US government provides an unlimited number of visas (called L1 visas) for managers and executives transferring from the foreign branch or subsidiary of a company to a U.S. branch. Large multinational companies may apply for a blanket L1 visa to expedite the processing of large numbers of employees to a US branch of the company.

  • L1 visa Quota: none
  • Length of L1 visa: 3 years
  • L1 visa Extensions: 2 years at a time, up to a total of 7 years (a total of 5 years for an L-1B visa)
  • L1 visa Application Processing Times: Normally 30-90 days. For faster processing, a company may apply for Premium Processing Service, which speeds up USCIS response time to within fifteen (15) days of receipt of a petition, application or other documents.

In order to qualify for an L1 visa you must:

(1) be a manager or executive, or person with specialized knowledge, who has been employed by the company continuously for at least one of the past three years.

(2) show that your non-U.S. employer is a currently operating branch, subsidiary, affiliate, or joint venture partner of the U.S. company to which you are transferring.

The two types of L1 visas are:

(1) L-1 A visa - for foreign managers and executives transferring to the US to manage a company or a major function or division of a company; to supervise employees or manage an essential department of a company

(2) L-1B visa - for foreign employees with specialized knowledge of the company's products, research methods or marketing methods, which are important to the company's competitiveness

What is the difference between an L-1 A and an L-1B visa?

L-1A visas confer certain advantages that L-1B visas do not:

(1) Less paperwork: The petitioning company of an L-1B applicant must apply for a Labor Certification for the applicant in addition to the petition and application. Companies petitioning for L-1A applicants are not required to do so.

(2) More time: L-1A visa holders may extend their visas up to 7 years; L-1B visa holders may extend only up to 5 years. Also, L-1A visa holders whose 7-year limit has been reached may re-enter the US for another full term as an L-1 holder after a one-year period of absence from the US.

L1 visa applications involve two steps:

(1) the applicant's employer must file a petition with the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). (A multinational company that regularly transfers many employees may apply for a blanket L1 visa order to bypass the petition process.)

(2) Once the petition is approved, the L1 visa application can be filed by the applicant.

*For L-1B applicants, the petitioning employer must also apply for a Labor Certification

L Visas for accompanying relatives

  • The spouse of the L-1 visa holder is eligible for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and can work.
  • Dependent relatives (children under 21) of L1 visa holders are eligible for L-2 visas and can attend school, but are not entitled to work.
  • L-2 status may be renewed when the L-1 visa is renewed.

For more information about L1 visas, or to begin the application process, click here to let our experienced immigration attorneys assist you. Our initial 30 minute consultation is FREE.

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L-1 Visa or E Visa: What is the best option?

There are two types of investor visas: immigrant investor visa or green card (EB-5) and non-immigrant investor visa (E-2). Foreign or multinational companies have the option of investing in a new or existing US business using an investor visa, or opening a US branch of their business and transferring their employees (L-1) or hiring local employees.

Unlike an E-2 investor visa, an L1 visa can lead to a green card. However, the owner of a business that can invest at least $1,000,000 in a US business can obtain a green card through the immigrant investor visa program (EB-5).

Please click here to read more about investor visas.

Blanket L1 visa:
Large multinational companies that regularly transfer employees to U.S. branches or affiliates may apply for blanket L-1 status to expedite the visa process by bypassing the petition stage. Click here to learn more about this type of visa.

How Can Immigration Law Offices help my business?
Immigration Law Offices can help corporate personnel departments and their transferees gather and complete all the necessary documentation and application forms for a blanket L-1 visa or an L-1 visa. For more information about L-1 visas, or to begin the application process, click here to let our experienced immigration attorneys assist you. Our initial 30 minute consultation is FREE. Click here to contact us.

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Accompanying Relative:
The spouse or child under the age of 21 of the holder of an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa, who is accompanying them to the US

Labor Certification

The first step in receiving an employment-based immigrant visa for certain classes of workers. The potential US employer must first undergo an elaborate and often lengthy process of advertising the position, based on specific instructions from the US Department of Labor, to ensure that no qualified American workers are available to perform the job before hiring the foreign worker.


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