Knowledge — 3 months ago

L-1 Visa Nonimmigrant Visa for Professional Workers

by Roni G.

L-1 Visa, Nonimmigrant Visa, L-1 Visa Meaning

Everything You Need to Know About L-1 Visa 

L1 Visa helps in facilitating a temporary transfer of an employee to the United States. The incumbent on an L1 visa is known as an intra-company transferee. An employee who is in a managerial role or who holds specialized knowledge category can continue his employment with his existing company which has an office in the US.

The L1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa. The spouse and children of this visa holder will hold an L2 status during the term the L1 applicant stays in the US.

L1 Visa types

Employees can be transferred under two categories of L1 after the employer files a petition. These categories are listed below:

  • L-1A – Such transferees hold managerial positions in the company office outside the United States.
  • L-1B – Such transferees hold specialized knowledge in the positions they are employed outside of the United States.

The filing fee for an L1 visa is $460 per applicant and $85 additional fee goes towards Biometrics.

L-1 Visa

L1 Visa Qualifying criteria

An employee in an executive or managerial position can qualify for L-1A when:

  • S/he has been working for one continuous year in the last three preceding years before entering the United States
  • The incumbent shall provide similar support to the same employer or its subsidiaries in the US

An employee holding specialized knowledge in his position can qualify for L-1B when:

  • S/he has been working for one continuous year in the last three preceding years before entering the United States
  • The incumbent shall provide similar specialized support to the same employer or its subsidiaries in the US
Nonimmigrant Visa

L1 Visa approval durations

L-1A – The initial approval for L-1A visa holders is for three years. Thereafter the company can request for an extension of this visa in a two-year increment until a maximum limit of seven years.

L-1B – The initial approval for L-1B visa holders is for three years. Thereafter the company can request for an extension of the visa by another two years with a maximum limit of five years.

Once the above listed allowable tenure of L1 visa status is completed, the incumbent is required to be employed for one year outside of the United States. After the completion of this one-year period only can a new application for another L status be initiated.

Facts - L1 vs other visa types

  • Qualifying criteria – L1 visa requires the incumbent to hold an executive, a managerial or specialized knowledge. On the other hand, the qualifying criteria for other visa types are lengthy, cumbersome and some even require investing in US enterprises.
  • Employment offers – For some visa types like H1B or J1, an individual may need a visa sponsor from the US, however, in case of L1 application, the individual already has a job with him in his current organization who sponsors the visa.
L-1 Visa Meaning
  • Lottery – H1B visa has a cap in the US market. There is only a handful of H1B visa holders that are approved and these also get selected through a lottery system. On the other hand, L1 visa guidelines are more relaxed with no limit and no lottery to reject the petition.
  • L2 work permit – Spouses and dependents of L1 visa holders can work in the US after obtaining the appropriate work permit. This helps in providing additional financial support to the family. Such an option is not readily available to spouses on other kinds of visa.
  • Education degree requirement – L1 visa does not need any specific educational degree vis-à-vis the H1B.
  • Dual Intent – L1 visa holders have the option to request for permanent resident status. On the other hand, visa status such as J1 or TN visa may not initiate a green card procurement process simply because this violates their visa status.

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