The L-1 visa category is for intracompany transfers who have worked for the company or its affiliates abroad in a managerial, executive or “specialized knowledge” professional capacity and will be transferring to the U.S. to work in a managerial, executive or “specialized knowledge” capacity.
L-1A “managerial capacity” encompasses those who manage essential functions within the organization as well as those who manage departments, divisions, and director reports. Executive level positions direct the management of an organization and establish goals and policies of the organization while receiving only general supervision from higher level executives or the board of directors.
L-1B “specialized knowledge” capacity includes those who have special knowledge of the company’s products, services, research, equipment, techniques, management or other interests and its application in international markets, or who hold an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the company’s processes and procedures.
Basic Eligibility Requirements: The intracompany transferee must have worked in a qualifying managerial, executive or specialized knowledge position abroad for a qualifying related entity for at least one continuous year out of the last three years prior to seeking transfer to the United States. A qualifying employer abroad is one that is related as a parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch office of the proposed U.S. petitioning employer.
Validity Period: L-1A status is valid for up to 3 years initially and is extendable in 2-year increments for a total of 7 years in L-1A status. L-1B status is valid for up to 3 years initially and is extendable for 2 years, for a total of 5 years in L-1B status. For L-1 petitions for businesses operating in the U.S. less than one year (“new office”), the initial L-1 validity period is for one year.
Employment Status: Full-time or part-time employee. “Commuter” and intermittent employment may qualify. An employer-employee relationship is generally required.
Limitations on Work Authorization: L-1 employment is generally employer-specific, job-specific, and location-specific. Material changes in job duties require an amended petition. Changes in employer or work location may also require an amended petition.
Basic Employer Obligations: Employers must certify that the employer will not expose the worker to controlled technology without the appropriate export controls license.
Government Filing Fees: Effective December 23, 2017, $460 Filing Fee, $500 Fraud Prevention & Detection Fee (for initial petitions).
Eligibility for Premium Processing: Yes. L-1 petitions are eligible for premium processing. The CIS charges an additional $1,225 government filing fee for premium processing. In exchange, the CIS guarantees action on the petition within 15 calendar days of receipt of the request for premium processing.
Quota/Cap: Not applicable.
Dependents: Spouses and unmarried children under 21 are eligible for L-2 dependent visa status. L-2 spouses may apply for work authorization. L-2 dependents may attend school.