L-1 Visas are one of the most common types of nonimmigrant work visas. However, they can be easily confused with other work visas, such as the H-1B Visa. To better understand what an L-1 Visa entails, here are the advantages, restrictions, and requirements associated with this type of visa.
What Is an L-1 Visa?
An L-1 Visa, also referred to as an “intracompany transferee visa,” enables a US company to transfer employees who serve in an executive or managerial role or have specialized knowledge from one of its foreign affiliate companies to its US entity. These individuals are also known as “employee applicants.”
The L-1 classification also allows a foreign company to transfer a managerial or executive employee to the US to establish a new US office.
Advantages of L-1 Visas
If you’re an employer that already has an office in the US or you’re looking to establish one, acquiring an L-1 Visa can offer several advantages. Some of these benefits include:
Blanket Visa Option
One of the top advantages for employers who secure an L-1 Visa is that it offers a blanket petition for companies that generate combined US revenue of $25 million or more or have at least 1,000 employees that work in the US.
This option allows employers to file a single petition for multiple employees instead of filing and paying for each staff member’s individual petitions.
Another great benefit of an L-1 Visa is that if a multinational employer doesn’t have a US office or branch, they can establish a new one as an L-1 Visa holder.
Foreign employees will also enjoy a wide range of benefits with an L-1 Visa, including requirements that are relatively easy to meet, no annual limits to how many visas are approved each year, and being allowed to have their spouses and dependents join them in the US.
L-1 Visa Restrictions
Like any work visa, some restrictions come with holding your L-1 Visa. Some of these include:
Period of Stay
Unfortunately, once the maximum period of stay has been met, there is no extension available. L-1 Visa holders may not work in the US beyond seven years. Once they’ve reached the limit, they must transfer their status or apply for a new visa.
Company Types Are Limited
Another restriction of an L-1 Visa is that the company sponsoring you must be a multinational company that has been planning or is currently planning to have an office or branch in the US. Businesses that are too small to maintain international offices are typically excluded.
Additionally, it can be costly for some companies who want to fast-track their visa applications.
L-1 Visa Requirements
While the requirements for an L-1 Visa are considered less challenging to meet than other work visas, some conditions must be met.
For employers to qualify, they must have a relationship with a foreign company or conduct business as an employer in the US and at least one other country. This means they must provide regular or continuous goods or services in those countries.
Employees must have been working for an eligible organization abroad for one year and serve in an executive or managerial role or have specialized knowledge within the organization.
Get Legal Help To Better Understand L-1 Visas
Whether you want to learn more about L-1 Visas or need help applying, the team at Rooney Nimmo can help. Contact us online or call our New York office today at +1 212 545 8022.