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Frequently Asked Questions about L-1 Visas
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1. What is the L-1 intracompany transferee visa?
The L-1 intracompany transferee visa allows you, as an executive or high-level manager who has worked for a foreign company for at least one year, to establish or transfer to a subsidiary, branch, or affiliate office in the United States. Please note: The L-1A is for executives and managers; this page does not deal with the L-1B is for persons with specialized knowledge (that visa lasts a maximum of 5 years and does not lead to a Green Card).
2. How long will the L-1 intracompany transferee visa allow me to stay in the United States?
The L-1 intracompany transferee visa allows you to stay in the United States, initially, for three years, or for only one if you are establishing or working in a new branch, subsidiary, or affiliate office. However, the visa may be renewed in three-year increments with a maximum of seven allowable years total. If you are an employee applying for the visa with specialized knowledge, you are only allowed five years total in the U.S. But the L-1A intracompany transferee visa offers a nice perk — it may serve as the starting point for a Green Card. See the Green Card section below for more information.
3. How do I know whether I’m eligible to apply?
In order to apply for the L-1 intracompany transferee visa, you must be an executive or high-level manager of a company that is either opening a new branch, subsidiary, or affiliate office in the United States, or transferring to an already existing office or location. You may be a citizen of any foreign country. You must have worked for the company outside of the U.S. for a full year prior to applying for the visa. Please visit our L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa Eligibility page for a full list of the eligibility requirements. You may also learn more about the eligibility requirements for the L-1 intracompany transferee visa on the official website of the Department of Homeland Security.
4. Are there any educational requirements to apply for an L-1 intracompany transferee visa?
You do not need a bachelor’s degree or any minimal education requirements for the L-1 intracompany transferee visa. Education is only one factor in what will be considered when determining whether you have the ability to perform in an executive or managerial position.
5. How would I apply for a Green Card through an L-1 intracompany transferee visa?
You can apply after having your L-1A for only one year, and you will be in the highest possible category, the EB-1 (Employment-Based) , also known as EP-1, (Employment Preference); there is no advertising of the position required and it takes about a year to receive. You must have an L-1A intracompany transferee visa as an executive or upper-level manager of the company. (L-1B visas, for employees with specialized knowledge, do not lead to a Green Card). You must continue to work for the company in a managerial or executive position. For questions, give us a call at (877) 223-4684 for a consultation with a high-level immigration lawyer.
6. Does opening a home office for a company in the United States make me eligible for an L-1 intracompany transferee visa?
No, it does not make you eligible. The United States requires that the new branch, subsidiary, or affiliate office open in an executive building, not a home residence.
7. Will my family be able to re-locate with me?
If you’re applying for an L-1 intracompany transferee visa, your spouse and any dependent children (this means, for immigration purposes, children under 21) may apply for an L-2 visa. It will only be valid for the same period of time the L-1 visa intracompany transferee visa is valid. Any spouse granted an L-2 visa will be able to apply for work as soon as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is filed. Your spouse will not be required to work for the branch, subsidiary, or affiliate branch of your company, but may. They may take any job in any field of work with no restrictions.
8. Can I leave the U.S. to travel abroad with an L-1 intracompany transferee visa?
As long as your L-1 intracompany transferee visa is valid, you may travel abroad and return to the United States. If your L-1 intracompany transferee visa expires while you are abroad, you must apply for a renewal before you will be allowed to re-enter the country.
9. Will I be able to change my location of work?
A change of your work location is allowed while you possess an L-1 intracompany transferee visa, but you must be taking a position with similar duties for the same employer. You must file an amendment position and also notify the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the change.
10. May I change my position to work for another U.S. affiliate of the same company?
No, you may not. In order to change your position of work for another affiliate, branch, or subsidiary office, you must apply for a new L-1 intracompany transferee visa.
11. How long does the L-1 intracompany transferee visa application process take?
The application process for the L-1 intracompany transferee visa takes between 2 and 4 months for a normal L-1, or 1-3 weeks for an L-1 blanket approval.
12. Is there a way to speed up the application process for the L-1 intracompany transferee visa?
For an extra $1,000 you may submit your application for the L-1 intracompany transferee visa through Premium Processing. The petition will be guaranteed to take only fifteen days, or the USCIS will notify you if more evidence is needed for your application.
13. Is there a limit on the number of L-1 visas the U.S. offers each year?
No, there is no limit.
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