Intra-company transferees (L Visas)

L visas apply to managers, executives or specialized-knowledge employees, who work for companies outside of the U.S., but which have an affiliated company or branch located in the U.S. These highly skilled workers may travel to the United States to engage in work at the company’s affiliate with the aid of an L visa. L visa is also known as a visa for intra-company transferees. 


Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 are eligible for L-2 visas to accompany the worker. Unlike most work visa situations, spouses of L-2 visa holders are allowed to work by filling out an application for employment authorization and paying appropriate fee.


There are two varieties of L visas, L-1A and L-1B. Each applies to different types of employees.




Here are the main facts about the L1A visa:


     L-1A workers may stay in a job for a total of 7 years (an initial one or three-year term with the opportunity to apply for extensions).

     The worker must work for a foreign company at least for one year during three years preceding the filing of the application for L visa. 

     The foreign company must be doing business in the U.S.

     The worker must be an executive or manager.




       The L-1B visa applies to employees with specialized knowledge instead of those who are managers or executives under L-1A.

       These skilled workers may stay for a total of 5 years (an initial one or three-year term with the possibility of extensions).

       The same requirement as in the case with L-1A that job must be with a foreign company doing business in the U.S. applies.


A note on opening a new office


L visa workers who travel to the states for the purpose of opening a new office branch of a foreign company must show that suitable, physical premises have been secured and that the L visa holder will be in their executive or specialized position within one year of the approval of the petition. It is also advisable to have a well-developed business plan and proof that a foreign entity has financial ability to establish and conduct business in the U.S.

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