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L-1A & L-1B Visas
The L-1 visa for intracompany transferees is available to those who have worked for a multinational company abroad for at least one year, full time, in the three years prior to admission to the United States, in a qualifying position, who are coming to work for a U.S. branch office or a U.S. company that is a parent, subsidiary, or affiliate entity under the same ownership and control as the company where the worker obtained the qualifying experience abroad. Both the qualifying experience with the entity abroad and the offered position in the United States must be in a position that is executive, managerial, or entails specialized knowledge.
The L-1A visa is for managers and executives. They must have at least a year or more of qualifying experience with the multinational organization abroad in a managerial or executive capacity, and must be coming to the U.S. to work in a managerial or executive capacity.
A Manager manages the organization, or a department, subdivision or function of the organization; supervises and controls the work of other managerial, supervisory or professional employees; has hire & fire authority, as well as authority to set salary and approve leave and promotion, or, if no employees are directly supervised, functions at a senior level within the organizational hierarchy; exercises discretion over day-to-day operations. A first-line supervisor of non-professional employees is not considered a manager. A function manager must at least indirectly supervise others: it is axiomatic that a manager cannot personally perform the function he or she is supposed to manage.
An Executive directs the management of the entire organization, or one of it major components or functions; establishes organizational goals, policies and practices; exercises a wide latitude in discretionary decision-making; and receives only general supervision from higher-level executives, or from the organization’s board of directors and/or shareholders.
The L-1B visa is for workers with specialized knowledge of the multinational company’s processes, policies, or technologies that is not readily available in the U.S. labor market, nor widely held within the company.
L-1A and L-1B visas may be granted for an initial period of up to three years, and extensions are granted in two year increments. The maximum period of stay allowed is 7 years for an L-1A manager or executive, or 5 years for an L-1B worker in a specialized knowledge position. L-2 visa status is available for dependent spouses and minor children, and L-2 spouses may apply for unrestricted employment authorization.
For large multinationals engaged in the frequent transfer of executive, managerial and specialized personnel to the United States, there is also the Blanket L-1 petition, which avoids the individual petition-based process and allows foreign workers to apply for a visa directly at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, once the U.S. company has obtained approval of a “blanket petition” from USCIS.
An L-1 Blanket petition may be filed by a U.S. parent, subsidiary, affiliate or branch of a multinational company that has three or more domestic and foreign entities, is engaged in commercial trade or services (not available for nonprofits) and the U.S. petitioning entity has been doing business for one year or more, AND-
-the U.S. entity has obtained approval of at least 10 individual L-1 petitions within the preceding 12 months and the multinational group has transferred those workers to the U.S.
-the U.S. entity or entities have combined annual sales of $25 million or more, OR
-the U.S. workforce is at least 1,000 employees.
If you would like more information about obtaining an L-1 intracompany transferee visa, contact Karin Wolman today.