L-1 Visa for Multinational Company Employees
L-1 for Multinational Company Employees
The L-1 classification is popular with multinational companies because it is designed for intra-company transferees - employees who work for companies operating both in the United States and abroad.
There are many advantages to the L-1 visa classification:
- Unlike H-1B visas, there is no cap, or annual limit, on L-1 visas
- Employers do not have to obtain a labor certification before petitioning on behalf of L-1 employees
- When applying for their L-1 visas at a United States consulate abroad, employees do not have to prove their intent to remain in the United States for only a temporary period.
- L1-A visa holders fit into the first preference employment-based category for priority workers—EB-1, making it much easier and quicker for them to obtain permanent residency. This is because EB-1 petitions, unlike other employment-based petitions, do not require labor certification before the filing of Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.
Employers must file applications for L-1 employees on Form I-129, Petition for Alien Worker and complete the "L" Supplement. Applications must be filed with the USCIS Service Center with jurisdiction over the place of intended employment. Extensions are filed also filed on Form I-129.
To qualify for an L-1 visa, an employee must
- Have worked abroad for a continuous period of one year, out of the three preceding years, for a company that is related to the company the employee will be joining in the United States. (The company abroad is related to a United States company if it is the branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of the United States company.)
- Be coming to work in the United States in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity.
L-1A Managers and Executives
Managers and Executives are issued L-1A visas, which are valid for up to seven years. Unlike the H-1B visa for professional workers, current law does not permit L-1A visa holders to apply for an extension beyond the seven-year period.
To qualify as a manager, an employee must hold a position in which the employee primarily:
- Manages the company, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the company.
- Supervises and controls the work of other managerial or professional employees, or manages an essential function of the company, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the company.
- Has authority to hire and fire other employees or recommend personnel actions (If the employee does not directly supervise employees, the employee may meet this required by showing that the employee holds a senior position within the company).
- Has discretion over the daily operations of the activity the employee is in charge of
To qualify as an executive, an employee must hold a position in which the employee primarily
- Directs the management of the company, or a major component or function of the company
- Establishes the company’s goals and policies
- Has wide latitude in making discretionary decisions
- Receives only general supervision or direction from more senior executives, board of directors, or stockholders
L-1B Specialized Knowledge Professionals
Specialized knowledge professionals are issued L1-B visas, which are valid for up to seven years. Unlike the H