The L-1 Visa for Intracompany Transferees is a US work visa available to employees of companies with offices in the US and overseas. With the L-1 Visa, foreign employees can be transferred from a company in their home country into its US branch or affiliate for a specific period of time.
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It might interest you to know that this type of visa has no numerical cap limit. This means that there are no limits on how many people can get L1 visas yearly. However, not all employees of international companies are eligible for this type of visa. Only managers, executives and specialized knowledge workers qualify for the L1 Visa.
Among others, this article closely looks at:
- Benefits of an L1 Visa
- Types of L1 Visa
- L1 Visa requirements.
- Documents needed to apply for an L1 visa
- How to apply for an L1 Visa
- Validity of an L1 Visa
Who are Intracompany Transferees?
Before we dive into all the details concerning this visa type, let’s look at the definition of Intracompany Transferees.
Intracompany Transferees are foreign nationals who, within 3 years before they apply for an L1 visa, have been employed abroad continuously for 1 year by a company with a branch, parent, or subsidiary in the US.
Intracompany Transferees seek entry into the United States temporarily, in order to render their services to a branch of the same employer or a parent, affiliate, or subsidiary, in a managerial, executive or specialized capacity.
Benefits of the L-1 Visa for Intracompany Transferees
Here are the benefits of the L-1 Visa.
1. Intracompany Transferees under the L-1 Visa status can work in the US for 3 years on a first visa. At the expiration of the Visa, they can apply for an extension.
2. L-1 Visa holders are privileged to decide to bring their spouse and unmarried children under age 21 through the L-2 Visa.
3. This type of visa holder’s spouses are permitted to work in the US if they get an Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
4. This type of visa is a dual intent visa; it can be changed to an immigrant Visa if the holder meets certain requirements.
5. This visa holder is allowed to travel in and out of the US or remain in the US continuously through the validity of their visa.
Types of L-1 Visa
The L-1 Visa is divided into two types:
L-1A visas are specifically for managers and executives, who are either transferring to a US office or moving into the US for the purposes of setting up a new US office. A manager or an executive should have a level of control over the company in order to qualify for this visa category. The L-1A visa is valid for 7 years.
L1-B visas are for specialized employees. Specialized employees are employees with specialist skills or knowledge. This may include Surgeons, lawyers, engineers etc. To qualify for this category, you must have an in-depth and exceptional knowledge of the company’s products or services. This visa is valid for 5years.
What are the L-1 Visa Requirements?
To be eligible for this type of visa, the foreign company must meet the following requirements:
- The sponsoring company must have a parent company, affiliate, subsidiary or branch in the US.
- The prospective Intracompany Transferees must have been employed outside the US by the sponsoring company for at least a year out of the past 3 years.
- The Intracompany Transferees must either be managers, executives or specialized knowledge workers.
- The Intracompany Transferees must intend to leave the United States at the expiration of the L-1 Visa.
- The sponsoring company must be actively doing business in the US.
What are the Required Documents for L-1 Visa
The following documents are required for the L-1 Visa application process.
- Proof that the prospective Intracompany Transferees are managers, executives or specialized workers.
- A valid passport
- CV or resume
- Form DS-160 Confirmation page
- L-1 Visa application fees receipt
- The Company’s business plans for the US.
- Detailed information about the existing company
- The Company’s documents in the US
- US Immigration forms (Form I-129)
How to Apply for L-1 Visa
The application process for this visa is quite straightforward. To apply for this type of visa, follow these simple steps:
- The Sponsoring company must file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on Form I-129.
- Complete and Submit Application Form DS-160
- Pay L-1 Visa application fee of $190
- If both forms are approved, the applicant will visit the consulate or embassy in their home country for an interview.
Validity of an L-1 Visa
L-1A visa is initially valid for 3 years which is extendable to a maximum of seven years. This is the highest Validity of any US work Visa. The L-1B Visa is also Valid for 3 years and can be extended to a maximum of 5 years.
If you need to extend your L-1 Visa, your employer is required to file a new petition before your I-94 Form expires. The following documents are needed for the extension of an L-1 Visa
- Forms I-129 and I-94
- Check Stub
- W-2 tax form
- An extension support letter signed by employer
- Other documents showing your prior L-1 Visa status.
Can I Change My L-1 Visa Status
Yes, you can change your L-1 Visa status. Just like the H-1B visa, the L-1 Visa can be changed to an immigrant visa (green card). This can be achieved by filing Form I-40.
How Long Does It Take To Process H-3 Visa?
After applying for the L-1 Visa, you will have to wait for 6 months for your visa application to be processed. If you can’t wait for that long, you can request a premium service by filing an I-907 which costs $1,440.
However, errors or omissions could delay and make your L-1 Visa application unsuccessful. To avoid this, we strongly recommend that you seek the services of a trusted third-party immigration expert like immigly.com.