The L nonimmigrant visa is for employees of
multinational companies with offices in the United
States and abroad. This visa allows qualified
individuals to be transferred from a foreign office to
an American office of the company. This visa is issued
for an initial three-year period. The visa is also
available to individuals of foreign companies coming to
the United States for the purpose of opening up an
(American) office of the company.
On average, the processing of an L-1 intra-company
transferee visa petition is taking the Immigration and
Naturalization Service under four weeks.
The transferee must have worked abroad for the Overseas
Company for a continuous period of one year in the
preceding three years. Note, should the employee have
been in the United States prior to the application, each
day in the United States during the preceding year adds
one day to the total time that the alien must have been
employed by the overseas company.
employee further must have been employed by the overseas
company in an "Executive" or "Managerial" position or in
a position involving "Specialized Knowledge."
The transferee must be coming to the United States to
fill one of the three aforementioned positions and
provide proof that they are qualified for the position.
Relationship between U.S. and Overseas Company
There must be a definite relationship between the U.S.
and overseas company. Some questions to determine if
they qualify are:
both the U.S. entity and the company abroad branch
offices of the same corporation?
the U.S. company own more that 50% of the overseas
company or visa versa?
both the U.S. entity and the company abroad majority
(50%+) owned by a third company, individual or group of
general rule is that one company that is party to the
transfer must have "effective control" of the other
company. The relationship between the companies must be
clearly evidenced at time of the application. This can
be done by providing such documentation as articles of
incorporation showing common ownership etc.
As noted above, an L-1 visa is initially issued for a
maximum period of three years unless it is a start-up
company. This can be renewed, but the total number of
years for executives and managers must not exceed seven
years and for specialized knowledge personnel, five
The company must file a petition with the Immigration
and Naturalization Service in the United States. This
petition is made on Form I-129 and L-Supplement
accompanied by the supporting documentation. This
includes a letter from the company explaining that the
transferee is being transferred to the United States
office, his current duties with the company and
responsibilities in the Unites States. Further,
documentation must be submitted proving the relationship
between the U.S. and overseas entities and transferees
Dates of employment with the L-1 employer;
Description of duties for the three years with the L-1
Description of the duties of the L-1 in the United
Documentation of the L-1's educational and work
Documentation of the U.S. company to the foreign
Description of stock ownership and control of each
Accompanying Family (L-2 Visa)
Accompanying family members (spouse and children) will
be issued an L-2 visa. The family requires a valid
passport(s) and proof of relationship with the principle
applicant. Should the family not be applying for their
visa at the consulate at the same time as the student,
they will also require a copy of the principle
applicant's approved L-1 visa, his I-94 card and a
recent letter from the employer of the L-1 employee
indicating that he is currently employed with the
company per the terms of the L-1 visa.