L-1 Visa for Executive, Manager and Specialized Knowledge Employee
L-1 Nonimmigrant Visa allows a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager or an employee with specialized knowledge relating to the company’s business interests from one of the employer’s affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. For the foreign companies that do not have an affiliated office in the United States, the L-1 Nonimmigrant Visa allows the foreign company to send an executive, manager or a specialized knowledge employee to the United States for the purpose of setting up an affiliated U.S. office. The foreign company can invest in an affiliated office in the United States and send a foreign employee to work for the new U.S. office on an executive, managerial or specialized position, including the Investor or Entrepreneur.
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The L-1 Visa was initially intended and designed for large corporations to help facilitate easy transfer of employees from abroad to the United States. However, the L-1 Intracompany Visa also provides small and medium-sized companies with an opportunity to expand their business and service to the United States.
In order to be eligible to apply for an L-1 Visa for Executive, Manager or Specialized Knowledge Employee, the U.S. employer must meet certain minimum requirements including:
- The US-based employer must have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company. The foreign company must be a qualifying organization including a parent company, branch, subsidiary or affiliate of the U.S. employer.
- The employer must be doing business or will in the future conduct business in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the L-1 employee’s stay in the United States.
- The foreign company must have been employed the executive, manager or specialized knowledge employee for at least one (1) year within the three (3) years preceding his or her admission to the United States.
In addition to the requirements above, foreign employers seeking to send an employee to the United States as an executive or manager to set up a new office, must also meet the following requirements:
- The employer must have secured sufficient physical premises to house the new office.
- The employee was employed abroad as an executive or manager for one (1) year within the three (3) years immediately preceding the application.
- The intended U.S. office will support an executive or managerial position within one year of the approval of the petition.
The beneficiary of an L-1 Visa can move to the United States to live and work temporarily together with their spouse and children. The spouse is eligible to work in the United States and children can attend school.
Qualified employees entering the United States on an L-1 Visa to establish a new office can be granted a maximum initial stay of one (1) year. All other L-1 Visa qualified employees are allowed a maximum initial stay of three (3) years. After the initial period if over, the L-1 Visa can be renewed for two years at a time. The maximum period of stay on an L-1 Visa status for a Manager or Executive is seven (7) years, while for a Specialized Knowledge Employee is five (5) years.
The L-1 Nonimmigrant Visa is a dual intent visa and L-1 Visa holders can pursue lawful permanent resident status (Green Card) during their stay in the United States. For more information about the L-1 Visa for Executive, Manager or Specialized Knowledge Employee or to speak to our experienced immigration lawyers, contact us now.