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L-1 Intracompany Transferees

The L-1 intracompany transfer visa is a useful vehicle for multinational companies seeking to transfer managerial, executive or specialized-knowledge employees from overseas to provide services in a similar capacity in a related entity in the United States. The employee must have worked abroad for the overseas company for a continuous period of one year in the preceding three years before he may be transferred to the related U.S. company.  Blanket L Visa Approvals may be used to bypass CIS processing for nationals of a qualifying multinational company.

New Office Ls. The L-1 intracompany transfer visa is also very useful immigration vehicle for entrepreneurs who wish to set up a new office on US soil.  For example, L-1 status is available to an individual who has been working for his or her own company overseas and intends to continue the overseas business once they come to the United States.  Upon full-time (or even intermittent) transfer to US soil, the individual must ensure that the two businesses maintain a legal affiliation that satisfies US immigration laws and that the foreign entity continue to actively do business and earn income overseas.  Notably, before effectuating a new office L-1, the individual may have to use a B-1 Business Visitor Visa to set up certain components of the new US enterprise to help ensure L-1B approval.

Qualifying Entity. The company for which the employee has worked abroad must be related to the U.S. company in a specific manner - the company abroad must be "the same employer or a subsidiary or affiliate of the U.S. company."  The meaning of these terms is quite complex and the specific relationship of the companies must be considered on a case by case basis, but the general rule is that one company that is party to the transfer must have "effective control" of the other company - or both must be "effectively controlled" by the same third company, individual, or group of individual shareholders. Essentially, the US and foreign organization must be related as parent-subsidiary, affiliates, branch office or joint-venture.

And, the companies must continue to doing business in the United States and one other country during the whole period of the transfer.

Position. The employee must be coming to the U.S. company to fill the role of an executive or manager (which generally fits the L-1A visa requirements), or to fill the role of a person with specialized knowledge of the company products and/or processes (for an L-1B visa.) The employee must be qualified for the position by virtue of his prior education and experience. One year of fulltime experience, off of US soil, is required before transfer – and that one year of employ with the foreign affiliate must have occurred within the prior three years.

The L-1A visa is a nice vehicle for transitioning to green card. To effectuate a parallel green card transfer as a “multinational manager/executive,” one year of experience in the foreign affiliate is always required, just as with the L-1A visa.

Total Period of Stay. The employee must intend to depart the United States upon completion of his authorized stay (including extensions) but may also pursue permanent residence at the same time. The L-1 intracompany transferee may be admitted to the United States in L-1 status for the period of time required by the employer, up to an initial period of stay of three years. The total period of stay may reach seven years for L-1A managers and executives and five years for L-1B specialized knowledge personnel.

Spouses and children may accompany the L-1 principal using L-2 status. Since 2002, spouses of L-1’s have been allowed to work in the United States if they apply for an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) with US CIS after entry.


Lang Wallace LLC is based in Falls Church Virginia, USA near Washington D.C. and serves clients throughout the United States and globally.



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Practice Areas | Immigration for Corporations | Immigration for Individuals | I-9 Compliance | EB-5 Investor Visas | E-1 and E-2 Visas | H-1B Specialty Workers Visa | L-1 Company Transfer Visas | Permanent Residence | U.S. Citizenship | | About Us

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