L-1A and L-1B (Intracompany Transferees)
The L-1 classification applies to intracompany transferees who are coming to the U.S. temporarily to perform services either in a managerial or executive capacity (L-1A) or specialized knowledge capacity (L-1B) for a parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of their overseas employer.
• Executive capacity: Must primarily direct the management of the organization or a major component or function thereof, establish goals or policies relating thereto; exercise wide latitude in discretionary decision-making; and receive only general supervision from higher level executives, the board of directors or the shareholders of the company.
• Managerial capacity: Must primarily perform managerial functions as well as function at a senior level within the organizational hierarchy with respect to the function managed and exercise discretion over the day-to-day operations of the function.
• Specialized Knowledge capacity: Must possess special knowledge of the company, product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management or other interests and its application in international markets or has an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures.
The employee must have been employed abroad for the corporation, firm, or other legal entity (or an affiliate or subsidiary thereof) on a full-time basis for at least one continuous year out of the last three-year period to qualify.
Duration of status
Managers or executives (L-1A) are granted initial entry for three years and are eligible for extensions of two years for a maximum of seven years. Specialized knowledge employees (L-1B) are granted initial entry for three years and are eligible for an extension of two years for a maximum of five years.
If the applicant is coming to the U.S. as a manager or executive (L-1A) to open or to be employed in a new office, the petition must include evidence that:
• Sufficient premises to house the new office have been secured
• The U.S. company has, or upon establishment will have, the qualifying relationship to the foreign employer and the beneficiary will be employed in a qualifying position; and
• The intended U.S. operation will be able to support the executive or managerial position within one year of the approval of the petition. This must be supported by information regarding:
– The proposed nature of the U.S. office (size and scope, organizational structure, and financial goals)
– Financial information about the foreign entity (the size of the U.S. investment and the financial ability to remunerate the beneficiary and to commence doing business in the U.S.), and
– The organizational structure of the U.S. and foreign entity.
Blanket L Petition
Blanket L petitions allow certain large multinational companies to obtain a blanket L-1 approval for its employees. The application process is simplified with an approved blanket petition as the beneficiary can apply for a L-1 visa directly at a U.S. consulate overseas. The petitioner must meet the following requirements:
• Petitioner and its branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates are engaged in commercial trade or services;
• Petitioner has an office in the United States that has been doing business for one year or more;
• Petitioner has 3 or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates;
• Petitioner and its qualifying organizations have obtained approved petitions for at least ten L-1 professionals during the previous year or have U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of at least 25 million dollars, or have a U.S. work force of at least 1,000 employees.
Dependents of L-1 workers are granted L-2 status. Spouses may apply for employment authorization.