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L1 Visa Requirements

L1 visa is basically a way of doing intra-company transfer when the company has a branch office or parent or subsidiary or sister or affiliate office in U.S. It is a non-immigrant temporary visa. Thus, through L1 visa, an employee can work in the U.S. office of the same employer. Both multinational companies and small start-up companies can use L1 visa category to expand their business in U.S.

L1 visa will have to be filed by the company and approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Employer has to file a petition for the employee. Such visa can be issued to person having managerial skills, executive skills or specialised knowledge. The employee must have worked minimum for one year within the past three years with the employer filing the petition for L1 visa and will be working for the same employer or affiliate in U.S. Thus, it is also possible for a person who is already in U.S. on some other work related visa to be eligible for getting L1 visa as the requirement says one of the past three years.

It is not necessary that employee has to be transferred in the same capacity for which he was employed in foreign country. For example, a person working as an executive can be transferred under the category of ‘specialized knowledge’ to the U.S. office. For persons transferring in the capacity of managers/executives, L1A visa is issued and for persons falling into the category of having ‘Specialized Knowledge’ L1B visa is issued. The maximum limit for L1A and L1B visa is 7 years and 5 years respectively. One can also apply for L1 visa if one intends to set up a new office in U.S. For this purpose, the company has to show that they have enough funds for maintain a office in U.S. The company also has to give a proof of securing appropriate physical space and infrastructure to carry out their business.

Usually, for non-immigrant visa, one is required to show that they have no intentions of immigrating to the U.S. Hence, they have to maintain a foreign residence to show that they have no intentions of leaving their country. However, the case is different for L1 visa. For L1 visa, one does not have to maintain a foreign residence and other properties to prove that they will not abandon their country. There is a scope for them to file for green card or adjustment of status at a later stage. Thus, it allows dual intent. Plus, spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 years of the L1 visa holder can accompany them. The spouse can get EAD to work in the U.S.

The process will start with employer filling application for L1 visa. One has to first fill up DS 160 form online, other required forms and L1 petition for the employee. It should be filed at least 45 days before the employee’s start date. However, it cannot be filed more than six months before the employee begins to work there. One will also have to submit documents proving that the offices in USA and foreign country are connected in one of the ways mentioned above and are completely lawful. Apart from these core documents, one will need to submit all the necessary documents prescribed by USCIS. The employer will also need to pay fees as prescribed by USCIS along with the form. The processing time for L1 visa may take one to five months. However, there is also a provision for premium processing. Under premium processing, the petition can be processed within 15 days. The premium processing will charge extra fees. Please contact iLexLaw Pllc to learn more.