L-1 classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager or employee with specialized knowledge from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the U.S. This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager or employee with specialized knowledge to the U.S. with the purpose of establishing one.
L-1A classification is designed for intra-company transferees who have been employed in an executive or managerial capacity for the foreign company at an overseas location continuously for at least 1 year out of the past 3 years. Qualifying employee must be seeking to enter the U.S. to provide service in an executive or managerial capacity for the same employer. L-1A visa is granted initially for 1 year for a new company in the US or 3 years for a US company that existed for more than 1 year, with extensions available in 2-year increments, with a total stay not to exceed 7 years. L-1A recipient may become a permanent resident through EB-1C immigrant petition.
L-1B classification is designed for professional employees with specialized knowledge. L-1B is an employee who possesses special knowledge of the company product and its application in international markets, or has an advanced level of knowledge of processes and procedures of the company. L-1B visa is issued initially for 3 years with one 2-year extension for a maximum of 5 years stay. L-1B recipient may become a permanent resident through Labor Certification process.
In relationship to the foreign company, the U.S. entity may be a:
Qualifying employer must be doing business as an employer in the U.S. and in at least one other country for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the U.S. as an L-1.
For foreign employers seeking to send an employee to the U.S. to establish a new office, the employer must also show that:
For new offices the immigration process is carried out in 3 steps:
Blanket L-1 visas are available to employers who hire large numbers of intra-company transferees every year and allow a petitioning company to pre-establish its qualifications as sponsor in advance of filing individual L-1 petitions.
Eligibility for blanket L certification may be established if:
L-1 may be accompanied by spouses and unmarried children under 21 under L-2 classification. Spouses of L-1 workers may apply for work authorization.
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