Visa and Greencards > Employment > L-1A/L-1B Intercompany Transferees
L-1A/L-1B Intercompany Transferees
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an L-1A visa? What is an L-1B visa?
L-1 visas are available for employees transferring from a foreign employer to a US office of the same organization. The foreign and US companies must have either an affiliate or parent-subsidiary relationship or have common ownership.
To be eligible for an L-1 visa, the employee must either be a manager or executive (L-1A) or work in a specialized knowledge capacity, with unique or advanced knowledge of the company’s products or processes (L-1B).
L-1A visas have a validity period of up to seven years. L-1B visas have a validity period of up to five years.
What is an L-1 blanket petition? What is an L-1 individual petition?
A L-1 blanket petition is a petition that is typically used by large, international organizations as a way to streamline the L-1 application process. Companies that have an approved L-1 blanket petition can have their employees apply for their visas directly at the consulate instead of through US Citizenship and Immigration services.
To qualify for a L-1 blanket petition, a US company must: 1) have an office and been doing business in the US for at least one year; 2) have at least three or more branches, subsidiaries or affiliates and be actively engaged in business; and 3) have at least $25 million in annual sales, over 1,000 employees or have at least 10 approved individual L-1 petitions in the past calendar year.
What are the differences between L-1A and L-1B visas?
L-1A petitions are for managers and executives and are valid for up to seven years. L-1A petitions have also have a related green card route – the EB-1C Multinational Manager – which makes L-1A visas a great option for individuals who are interested in permanent residency down the line.
L-1B visas are for individuals with specialized knowledge and are valid for up to five years.
How do I apply for an L-1 visa?
The application process for an L-1 visa depends on whether your sponsoring company is a smaller organization and is filing an individual L-1 petition or has a L-1 blanket petition, which allows for expedited processing at the US consulate.
The first step for individual L-1 petitions is to file a Form I-129 petition with USCIS. Once this is approved, your petition will be sent to your local US consulate, where you will then need to schedule a visa appointment for your consular interview and to receive the visa stamp in your passport.
If you have a large employer, it is likely that your company has a L-1 blanket petition. This allows you to apply for your L-1 visa directly with the US consulate abroad and skip filing a Form I-129 petition with USCIS. Here, a consular officer will adjudicate your visa petition during your interview and advise whether your petition has been approved.
Is it difficult to get an L-1 visa?
This depends! In recent years, L-1 visas have been heavily scrutinized and approval rates have dropped. However, depending on the size of your organization and your particular roles within the organization, an L-1 visa could be a good option for you.
To discuss the details of your case in more depth, please contact us to schedule a consultation.
How long can you stay in the United States on an L-1 visa?
If you have an L-1A visa, you can stay in the US for up to seven years. If you have an L-1B visa, you can stay in the US for up to five years.
Is it possible to get a green card after having an L-1 visa?
Yes! L-1 visas are “dual intent,” which means that you can hold an L-1 visa and simultaneously pursue permanent residency and apply for a green card.
Depending on the type of L-1 visa you are on – L-1A or L-1B, there are different green card options that may be available to you. Typically, L-1A visa applicants are good candidates for an EB-1C Multinational Manager green card application. L-1B visa holders often choose to pursue a PERM-based green card option in the EB-2 and EB-3 categories.
To discuss what green card option would be the best fit given your immigration background, please feel free to schedule a consultation.
If I get an L-1 visa, am I able to bring my family with me to the US?
Yes! If you have an L-1 visa, it is possible to apply for L-2 visas for your dependent family members, such as your spouse and children under age 21.
To apply for an L-2 visa, your dependents will need to go the US consulate with a copy of your L-1 approval notice (or stamped I-129S if you have a blanket L-1) and their marriage certificate or birth certificate to show their relationship to you.
If your dependents are already in the US in a valid status, they can request a Change of Status to L-2 by filing Form I-539 with USCIS.
Can my spouse or children work on an L-2 visa?
Yes! L-2 visa holders are eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document, which will allow them to work for any US employer. Once your dependent is in the United States in L-2 status, they will need to file Form I-765 with USCIS to apply for their work permit. Usually, work permit applications are processed within around six months of filing.