L-1 visas allow a U.S. employer to transfer an employee from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. There are two types of L-1 visas: L-1A for executives or managers and L-1B for special technical and professional positions. This classification also enables a foreign company that does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing one.
At the time of first visa issuance, the period of stay is 3 years, and for L-1A, 2 years each with a maximum limit of 7 years, and for L-1B, 2 years can be extended once. Spouses of L-1 visa holders and unmarried children under the age of 21 are eligible for L-2 visas, and their spouses can work. L-2 nonimmigrants if approved, will be granted the same period of stay as the employee.
To qualify for an L-1 visa, the employer must have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company, such as a parent company, subsidiary, or affiliate, and currently or will be doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States as an L-1. While the business must be viable, there is no requirement that it be engaged in international trade.
Each relationship between a foreign company and a US company has different requirements that must be met. For large multinational corporations, Blanket Petitions can be approved for multiple employees at once.