L-1 Visas for Temporary Workers
L-1 visas are nonimmigrant U.S. visas that allow multinational companies to transfer their employees from their foreign offices to their U.S. offices. These visas are designed to facilitate the transfer of knowledge, skills, and experience between offices, which can ultimately lead to the growth and expansion of the company.
Who may Apply for an L-1 Visa?
To be eligible for an L-1 visa, the applicant must have worked for the company outside of the U.S. for at least one continuous year within the last three years in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity. The employee must also be coming to the U.S. to work either in an executive or managerial position (L-1A) or a specialized knowledge capacity (L-1B) for the same employer or a subsidiary or affiliate of the foreign employer.
Spouses and unmarried children (under 21) of the applicant may apply for an L-2 visa, a derivative visa designed for family members of L-1 visa holders.
What is the Application Process for an L-1 Visa?
The application process for an L-1 visa involves several steps. The first step is for the U.S. employer to file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form should include a detailed description of the job duties and the employee's qualifications.
If the petition is approved, the employee will then apply for the L-1 visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. The employee will need to provide documentation to demonstrate their eligibility for the visa, such as evidence of their prior work experience and their qualifications for the job in the U.S.
The processing time for an L-1 visa application can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case. It is important to note that USCIS may request additional information or documentation, which can delay the process.
A certified immigration lawyer can help expedite the process and ensure that it runs as smoothly as possible.
How long do L-1 Visas Last?
L-1A visas, for executive or managerial positions, may be initially granted for up to three years. Afterward, it may be extended in 2-year increments, for a maximum of 7 years.
L-1B visas for specialists also may be granted for three years and may be extended once, reaching a maximum of five years.
The L-1 visa is essential when a company is looking to transfer employees from foreign countries to their U.S. branches or affiliate companies.
When applying for this visa, it is recommended to use a reliable and experienced immigration lawyer who is licensed in the United States. Amit Ben Yehoshua is a licensed attorney in the U.S., as well as a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.