If you are a foreign national looking to work in the United States, you may have heard of the L1 visa. This visa is specifically designed for employees of multinational companies who are being transferred to a branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary of the same company in the US.
L1 Visa Guidelines
An L1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign nationals to work in the US for a specific period of time. It is available to employees of multinational companies who are being transferred to the US for work purposes. The L1 visa is divided into two categories: L1A for managers and executives, and L1B for specialized knowledge employees.
To be eligible for an L1 visa, you must meet the following criteria:
The L1 visa is initially granted for a period of up to three years for L1B visa holders and up to seven years for L1A visa holders. However, extensions can be granted for a maximum of two years at a time, with a total maximum stay of five years for L1B visa holders and seven years for L1A visa holders.
After the maximum stay is reached, the L1 visa holder must leave the US for at least one year before being eligible for another L1 visa.
The L1 visa application process involves several steps, including:
The first step in the L1 visa application process is for the US employer to file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This petition must include evidence of the qualifying relationship between the US company and the foreign company, as well as proof of the employee’s qualifications and job offer.
Once the petition is approved, the employee can apply for the L1 visa at the US embassy or consulate in their home country. The application process may vary slightly depending on the embassy or consulate, but generally, it involves completing the DS-160 form, paying the application fee, and scheduling an interview.
During the interview, the consular officer will ask questions to determine the eligibility of the applicant for the L1 visa. They may ask about the applicant’s job duties, qualifications, and the relationship between the US company and the foreign company.
If the consular officer approves the L1 visa, it will be issued to the applicant. The visa will include the duration of stay and any other restrictions or conditions.
To increase your chances of a successful L1 visa application, consider the following tips:
There are several misconceptions about L1 visas that applicants should be aware of:
While the L1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, it does not automatically lead to permanent residency in the US. However, L1 visa holders may be eligible to apply for a green card through employment-based immigration.
While the L1 visa is commonly used by large multinational companies, it is also available to smaller companies with a qualifying relationship with a foreign company.
While the L1A visa is specifically for managers and executives, the L1B visa is also available to specialized knowledge employees. This includes employees with specialized knowledge in a particular field or industry.
The L1 visa is a valuable option for foreign nationals looking to work in the US for a multinational company. By understanding the criteria, duration, and application process, applicants can increase their chances of a successful L1 visa application. If you are considering applying for an L1 visa, be sure to consult with an immigration lawyer for personalized guidance and assistance.
Global Immigration Partners PLLC is a specialized immigration law firm. Through our international presence we have specialist knowledge of the specific procedures in multiple embassies and consulates around-the-world.Book a free consultation