At our firm, we provide knowledgeable legal assistance to individuals and families seeking visas in the United States. If you are employed by a foreign affiliate of a U.S. company, you may be able to achieve L-1 visa classification. We can discuss your options, help you file the necessary paperwork, and provide diligent legal advice throughout the process.
Here’s what you need to know about L-1 visas:
What is L-1 Visa Status?
L-1A & L-1B Visa Classification
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, L-1 visas are divided into L-1A and L-1B visa classification. L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager is a nonimmigrant visa classification. It is available to executives and managers in companies that have offices in the United States. Under this status, employers may send employees to the U.S. to establish an office, even if one does not already exist.
In order to qualify for L-1A visa classification, you must:
- Have an ongoing relationship with a qualifying foreign organization
- Engage in business with the United States and at least one other country
- Work in a qualifying organization in a foreign country for at least 1 continuous year, 3 years prior to filing for L-1A status
- Enter the U.S. to establish or serve in an executive or managerial position in a qualifying organization
A qualifying organization includes a parent company, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch. Thus, L-1A visas allow U.S. employers to transfer executives or managers from foreign affiliates into offices in the U.S. If you are not currently engaged in business with the United States, you must have a plan to do business in the future. Furthermore, L-1A visas allow foreign-based employees to enter the U.S. to establish new offices. They must have secured adequate physical premises for the new office prior to entering the U.S., and the new office must support an executive or managerial position within 1 year.
L-1B Visa Classification
L-1B Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge is also a nonimmigrant visa classification. It lets employers bring employees from foreign affiliated offices to the United States, if they have specialized knowledge. It also allows employers to send employees with specialized knowledge to the U.S. to establish a new office.
In order to qualify for L-1B visa status, you must:
- Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company
- Engage in, or plan to initiate, business with the U.S. and at least one other country
- Seek to enter the U.S. to provide services using specialized knowledge
- Work for a qualifying organization for at least 1 continuous year, 3 years before entering the U.S.
Specialized knowledge refers to an advanced level of expertise in an organization’s procedures and processes. It also involves specialized knowledge about an organization’s research, equipment, services, techniques, management, products, or other interests, and how those factors influence the international market. Thus, in order to achieve L-1B visa status, you must be an employee of a U.S.-based foreign affiliate and possess specialized knowledge that you will use in doing business with the U.S.
Family Members of L-1 Visa Holders
All L-1A and L-1B visa holders will be allowed to stay in the United States for a period of 3 years. However, if you are going to establish an office in the U.S., you will only be allowed to stay an initial 1 year. You may apply for extensions of 2 years, with a maximum limit of 7 years for L-1A holders. However, for L-1B holders, you may apply for extensions with a maximum limit of 5 years. Family members, including your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21, may apply for L-2 nonimmigrant classification, and will generally be allowed to stay in the country as long as you do.
Call Our Irvine Immigration Attorney Today at (949) 478-4963
At Yekrangi & Associates, we provide informative legal services to clients seeking visa status in the United States. We stay up to date on federal and state immigration laws, and we have helped hundreds of clients achieve immigration status. Our compassionate Irvine immigration lawyer can analyze your situation and discuss your options for pursuing L-1 visa status in the U.S. for you and your family.
Contact our firm today to schedule an initial consultation.