Decoding US L1 Visa

Many managers/Executives and specialized knowledge staff wish to live and work in the US, as they see the country which is a place with endless possibilities that offers them good return for their services.

As a large number of such professionals are eager to move to the country, the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), the nation’s apex visa and immigration body, has structured L1 Visa. It is an Intra Company Transferee non immigrant visa.

US L1 Visa

It allows the companies operational in both the US and abroad to transfer employees of certain classes to join their US affiliated, main or subsidiary branch. Mainly L1 Visa is of two types:

L1A – Managers and executives, issued for up-to seven years

L1B – Specialized Knowledge Staff, issued for up-to five years

The visa holder gets to enjoy many benefits. The major plus point is once you are in the US on L1 Visa; you may easily switch the category as per your own convenience and needs, without fear of losing you present status.

Under both the categories, an aspirant cannot file their own petition. On their behalf affiliated office, main or subsidiary branch of the company where the alien has worked for at least one year in the last three years should file a petition.

Like other visa categories, it does not have a cap and no set criteria of wages. However, low wages may make your petition weak. The processing of the visa is relatively easy as it does not require an approval of labor department which is generally time-consuming.

Why many such professionals prefer to acquire L1 Visa is that they can easily avail blanket petition if they require. The added advantage is that the alien is not required to have a specific degree. Even if the alien has a degree, it does not require being in a specific subject.

Even though L1 Visa is a non immigrant visa, it is also known as a dual intent visa. In simple words, it is mandatory for alien to maintain a residence abroad. If they want, they may apply for US Green Card (Permanent Residence).

Initially, the L1 Visa was more feasible for Multinational Companies (MNCs) to easily transfer foreign employees to the US office but later small start ups overseas also wished to expand their business to the country. Hence, they also started applying for the L1 Visa.

Though it’s relatively easy for well established big companies to claim L1 Visa and the major plus point is that they do not have to undergo the length paper documentation, if a company is small start up, then the possibility is that they have to undergo difficult and lengthy paper documentation.

Visa Processing

  • Out of the two, determine which the right category is for you.
  • The alien must be employed in overseas office for at least one year during the last three years as a manger, executive or specialized knowledge staff.
  • The qualifying company must submit a petition to the USCIS center.
  • For approval certain requirements have to be met at the both the ends.

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