L1A visa is reserved for managers or executives.

An applicant may qualify for an L-1A visa if:

They have been employed outside the U.S. as manager or executive for at least one of the past three years, and is being transferred to the U.S. to work in a similar position. The U.S. company must be a branch, subsidiary, affiliate, or joint venture partner of the non-U.S. employer.

The non-U.S. company must remain in operation while the applicant is in L-1A status. There is no strict policy about the particular business structure that sponsors the application. Many legal forms of doing business are acceptable, including (but not limited to): Corporations, Limited corporations, Partnerships, Joint ventures, Sole proprietorships.

Three requirements must be met to qualify for the L1A visa:

1) The U.S. company must be affiliated with the company abroad as a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate. This relationship is demonstrated in one of two ways: either one entity having control over the other, or if both entities are controlled by a third party.

2) The visa applicant must be employed at the company abroad at a managerial, executive, or employee with specialized knowledge position for one of the previous three years before the visa application may be filed.

3)The employee must be coming to work at the U.S. company either as an executive, manager, or employee with specialized knowledge.

Validity of L-1A visa status may range from a maximum of five to seven years:

If coming to the U.S. to work at a new U.S. office, visa status will be authorized for one year initially, with the option to extend the stay for a maximum of seven years.

If coming to the U.S. to work at an established company (in existence for more than one year), applicant may be admitted for a maximum of three years initially, with the option to extend the stay for a maximum of seven years.


L1B Specialized Knowledge Transferee

An L-1B visa application must meet the two requirements outlined above:

1) The petitioning United States company must be affiliated with the company abroad.

2) The L-1B visa applicant must be employed at the company abroad for at least one of the previous three years before the L-1B visa application is filed with the CIS; and in addition,

3) The employee must be coming to work at the United States company to utilize specialized knowledge. An employee with "specialized knowledge" has either of the following: A special knowledge of the company product and its application in international markets or has an advanced level of knowledge of processes and procedures of the company; or, an advanced level of professional or technical expertise, and proprietary knowledge of the organization’s services, products, technology, strategies, or any other corporate function that is essential to the United States company’s successful operation.

If the applicant is coming to the United States to work at a new U.S. office, an L-1B visa is good for one year initially. If the applicant is coming to the United States to work at an established company, in existence for more than one year, an L-1B visa holder will be admitted for three years initially An L-1B visa may be extended for a total of five years.

One of the perks of the L1 visa is that dependents in L2 status can apply for Employment Authorization Document (EAD) – an open market authorization to work.

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