Exploring L-1 Visas for Nonimmigrant Workers


Share this on:

Table of Contents

What is an L-1 visa?
What are the different types of L-1 visas?
What are the requirements for the L-1 visa?
L-1 visa application process
What is the L1 visa processing time?
Bottom line

Are you a business professional and looking for a visa that will allow you to work in the United States temporarily? If so, the L-1 visa may be the perfect option. The L-1 visa is designed to facilitate the transfer of foreign employees from one company’s international branch to another in the U.S.  It can be used for short-term and long-term stays, allowing foreign companies to transfer their qualified employees to the U.S. for up to seven years.

In this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about the L-1 visa, including who is eligible for it, the application process, the L-1 visa cost, and other crucial information.

Read on to learn more about the L-1 visa. 

What is an L-1 visa?

The L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa category designed to facilitate the temporary transfer of employees from a foreign company to its affiliated branch, subsidiary, or parent company in the United States. It is a valuable tool for multinational companies seeking to expand their operations, transfer specialized knowledge, or establish a presence in the U.S. market.

The L-1 visa allows for intra-company transfers by enabling employees to work in executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge positions.

This type of visa is often used by international companies to establish a presence in the United States or to expand their existing operations. By bringing in key employees, companies can ensure continuity in their business operations and maintain their competitive edge.

What are the different types of L-1 visas?

The L-1 visa category comprises mainly types of visas: L-1A and L-1B. Let’s take a closer look.

  1. L-1A Visa:

The L-1A visa is designed for executives and managers being transferred from a foreign company to a U.S. company that has a qualifying relationship (e.g., parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate).

Key features of the L-1A visa include:

  • The initial L-1A visa is granted for a maximum period of three years. Extensions can be requested up to a total of seven years.
  • L-1A visa holders are responsible for executive or managerial duties, such as directing the organization, managing a key function, or supervising a team or department.
  1. L-1B Visa:

The L-1B visa is for employees with specialized knowledge who are being transferred to a U.S. company that has a qualifying relationship with their foreign employer.

Key features of the L-1B visa include:

  • The initial L-1B visa is granted for a maximum period of three years. Extensions can be requested up to a total of five years.
  • L-1B visa holders possess specialized knowledge of the company’s products, processes, procedures, or techniques. This knowledge must be advanced and not commonly available in the industry.

What are the requirements for the L-1 visa?

To be eligible for an L-1 visa, both the employer and the employee must meet certain criteria. Here are the key eligibility requirements for an L-1 visa:

Employer Eligibility:

  • The employer must have a qualifying relationship with a foreign entity. This can include a parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate.
  • The U.S. and foreign entities must actively engage in legitimate business activity.
  • The employer must have a physical office or location in the United States where the employee will work.

Employee Eligibility:

  • The transferred employee must have worked for the foreign entity for at least one continuous year within the past three years.
  • The employee must have been employed in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity.
  • The employee must have the intention to leave the United States upon completion of their L-1 visa status and continue working for the foreign entity.

L-1 visa application process

Below is the process to apply for an L-1 visa. Take a look.

Step 1: Determine Eligibility

Before you begin the application process, it’s important to ensure that you and your employer meet the eligibility requirements for the L-1 visa. This includes demonstrating that you have worked for the same company (or a qualifying subsidiary or affiliate) outside of the U.S. for at least one year in the three years leading up to your visa application.

Step 2: File Form I-129

Once you’ve determined that you’re eligible for an L-1 visa, your employer must file Form I-129 with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This form requires information about both you and your employer, including details about your job position, salary, and work location.

Step 3: Gather Supporting Documents

As part of your L-1 visa application, you must provide various supporting documents to demonstrate your eligibility. This may include documentation of your previous work experience, proof of your qualifying relationship with your employer, and evidence of the proposed job duties and location in the U.S.

Step 4: Attend Visa Interview

You need to attend a visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. During the interview, you will be asked questions about your application and your eligibility for the L-1 visa.


What is the L1 visa processing time?

The processing time for an L-1 visa can vary depending on several factors, including the workload of the USCIS and the specific service center handling the application. Typically it may take 3-4 months to process the application. Moreover, premium processing is available for L1 visas which generally takes 15 days.

Bottom line

The L-1 visa is a valuable option for professionals looking to work in the US. While the eligibility criteria may be stringent, the benefits are significant. However, it is essential to understand the different types of L-1 visas, the application process, and the associated costs before proceeding with the application.

Ultimately, seeking guidance from an experienced immigration expert can make the process much smoother and increase the chances of a successful application. You can also use our immigration software to file the petition and collaborate with attorneys easily to increase visa approval chances.

For more information about Imagility, please visit imagility.co

Or call us at +1 603 782 4622/+1 617 865 6588

Subscribe for latest blog updates

By submitting this you will be receiving our latest updates on the blogs.

Get Started With Imagility

Save upto 6 hours a day!