The article discusses important questions about change of L-1 employer or job while on an L-1 visa. Persons coming to the US on L-1 visa may be presented with the opportunity to get a job promotion or change jobs with the same company or another company. Faced with the prospects of a new job, you may wonder if you can change your employer on an L-1 visa and transfer to another company or even change jobs within the same company and stay with your current L-1 employer.
The L-1 visa is for multinational companies seeking to establish an office or expand their presence in the United States. The L-1 visa allows companies to employ qualifying managers, executives, and employees with specialized knowledge on a temporary basis at a related entity in the United States.
To qualify for L-1 visa, the managers, executives or specialized knowledge employees must have been employed abroad with the foreign related entity for 1-year in past 3 years prior to application. To learn more about all the L-1 visa requirements visit our L-1 visa page.
Can you change employer on L1 visa?
Yes, you can change employer on an L-1 visa and transfer to another company as long as legal requirements are met. In practice, with an L-1 visa it is possible to change the L-1 employer to another related company. Changing to an unrelated company is also possible. To qualify, you must have worked for a foreign branch, subsidiary, parent or affiliate of the unrelated company for 1 year in the last 3 years. In practice that means your choice is restricted only to companies that you have worked for in the past, provided they have offices in the US.
Changing employer on an L1 visa is no easy task, unless the company you are transferring to is related to your current L-1 employer. The reason behind it is that in order to qualify for an L-1 visa, the US company must be an affiliate, branch, parent or subsidiary of a foreign company for which you worked abroad at least 1 year in the past 3 years.
If the company you plan on transferring to is related to your L-1 employer and has a qualifying relation with the foreign company, then you can change your employer on L-1 visa. If, however, the company is not related and has no qualifying corporate relationship, then you are out of luck and cannot change employer for L-1 visa purposes, unless your employment history can establish that you meet the 1-year foreign employment requirement and there is a qualifying corporate relation.
However, you cannot transfer to another company under the same L1 visa. To change the L-1 employer and transfer to another company, you are required to have an L-1 petition approved for your new employment.
Before a foreign national can change employer on L-1 visa, the employer must obtain USCIS approval by filing an L-1 petition on Form I-129 with the “L” supplement. After USCIS approves the new employer’s L-1 petition filed on your behalf, you can transfer and start working for the other company.
Can I change jobs on an L-1 visa?
Yes, you can change jobs within the same company in the United States.
If you were originally admitted as a specialized knowledge employee in L-1B status, you can be promoted to a managerial position with the same employer. In this case where you are admitted on L-1 visa based on specialized knowledge and you are subsequently promoted to become a manager or executive you can change jobs on an L-1 visa. You can also change jobs from a manager or executive position to a specialized knowledge employee position.
Similarly, if your job duties change from those of a specialist to those of a manager or executive or vice versa, then the change may be considered a new position that requires USCIS approval. The company must notify USCIS of any significant changes in your employment.
To change jobs on an L-1 visa the employer must file an amended L-1 petition with USCIS at the time the change occurs.
When the job changes from a specialized knowledge employee to a manager or executive, the amended L-1 petition must be generally filed at least 6 months prior to employee’s 5-year work anniversary.
Malescu Law can assist
Our immigration lawyers in Miami, Florida USA can assist with preparing L-1 petitions involving new employment, change of an L-1 employer or job, placement of L-1 workers off-site or any other changes to previously approved L-1 employment. Contact us or book an appointment to discuss your case with our L1 visa lawyers.
Malescu Law P.A. – Business & Immigration Lawyers