The L-1 visa nonimmigrant classification makes it easier for corporations doing business in the United States to bring key foreign employees to the United States to work.
Who is Eligible
In order to be eligible for an “L” nonimmigrant classification, the intracompany transferee must have been employed continuously for one year in the preceding three years by a firm or corporation or other legal entity or an affiliate or subsidiary thereof abroad. The beneficiary’s qualifying experience with the petitioner must have been continuous full-time, rather than part-time, employment. In order to be classified as an intracorporate transferee, the beneficiary must have occupied a position that is managerial or executive in nature or that involves specialized knowledge for the company abroad, and must also be destined to such a position in the United States.
The beneficiary of L classification must have been employed abroad by the same employer that will employ him or her in the United States. The essential element in determining the existence of an employer-employee relationship is the right to control, that is, the right of the employer to order and control the employee in the performance of his or her work.
The spouse and unmarried minor children of the beneficiary can obtain an L-2 non-immigrant visa and are subject to the same period of admission and limits as the beneficiary, if the spouse and unmarried minor children are accompanying or following to join the beneficiary in the United States. The spouses of L-1 beneficiaries may obtain work authorization without restriction.
Who May File An L-1 Blanket Petition?
A petitioner may file a blanket petition seeking continuing approval of itself and some or all of its parent, branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates as qualifying organizations under the following circumstances:
(1) the petitioner and each of those entities are engaged in commercial trade or services;
(2) the petitioner has an office in the United States that has been doing business for one year or more;
(3) the petitioner has three or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates;
(4) the petitioner and the other qualifying organizations have:
(a) obtained approval of petitions for at least 10 L managers, executives, or specialized knowledge professionals during the previous 12 months;
(b) United States subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of at least $25 million; or
(c) a United States work force of at least 1,000 employees.
A petitioner seeking to classify a foreign national as an intracompany transferee must file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker. The I-129 base filing fee is required as are the following fees in certain situations:
• a $500 fraud prevention and detection fee for initial L-1 petitions
• a $2,250 supplemental fee if the petitioning company has over 50 employees of which over 50% are H/L workers.
An individual petition filed on Form I-129 must be accompanied by evidence of the following:
(1) the petitioner and the organization which employed or will employ the foreign national are qualifying organizations;
(2) the foreign national will be employed in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity, including a detailed description of the services to be performed
(3) the foreign national has at least one continuous year of full-time employment abroad with a qualifying organization within the three years preceding the filing of the petition;
(4) the foreign national’s prior year of employment abroad was in a position that was managerial, executive, or involved specialized knowledge and that her or his prior education, training, and employment qualifies him or her to perform the intended services in the United States, although the work in the United States need not be the same work which the foreign national performed abroad
Advantages of the L-1 Visa
One of the privileges of the L-1 visa, as opposed to many other nonimmigrant visas, is that it is a dual-intent visa. In other words, under the terms of the L-1 visa, the L-1 visa holder may apply for lawful permanent resident status without jeopardizing her or his L-1 visa status.