The L-1 nonimmigrant visa classification enables a U.S. employer that is part of an international organization to temporarily transfer employees from one of its related foreign offices to locations in the United States. Specifically, the L-1A classification applies to intracompany transfers of managers and executives, while the L-1B classification applies to intracompany transfers of employees with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests.
The qualifying employer who intends to temporarily transfer an employee to work in the United States must demonstrate that:
- There is a qualifying relationship between the entity in the United States and the foreign operation that employs the beneficiary abroad;
- The petitioning employer will continue to do business both in the United States and in at least one other country, either directly or through a parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States;
- The beneficiary has been employed abroad continuously by the foreign office for at least 1 of the last 3 years; and
The beneficiary’s prior year of employment abroad was in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity, and the prospective employment in the United States will be in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity.
L-1 Blanket Petitions
The blanket L-1 procedure is intended for larger international organizations. Only entities involved in commercial trade or services may use the blanket petition. Therefore, noncommercial organizations, like churches, may not use the blanket petition.
The blanket petition program allows a petitioner to seek continuing approval of itself, its parent, and its branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates as qualifying organizations and, later, classify under the L nonimmigrant category any number of beneficiaries employed by itself, its parent, or some of its branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates.
Organizations filing blanket L-1 petitions must show that:
- They and each of the entities included are engaged in commercial trade or services;
- They have an office in the United States that has been doing business for 1 or more years;
- They have three or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates; and
- They and their other qualifying organizations:
- Have obtained approval of petitions for at least 10 “L” managers, executives, or specialized knowledge workers during the previous 12 months;
- Have U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of at least $25 million; or
Have a U.S. workforce of at least 1,000 employees
A noncitizen may qualify as an L-1 intracompany transferee if:
- The noncitizen was employed abroad continuously for 1 of the 3 years preceding the application for admission to the United States;
- The 1 year of continuous employment abroad was in a managerial or executive capacity or in a position that involved specialized knowledge;
- The noncitizen is seeking to enter the United States temporarily to render their services to the same employer (which includes a branch of the foreign employer) or its parent, affiliate, or subsidiary; and
The position in the United States will be in a managerial or executive capacity (L-1A) or will involve specialized knowledge (L-1B).
Executive capacity generally refers to the employee’s ability to make decisions of wide latitude without much oversight.
Managerial capacity generally refers to the ability of the employee to supervise and control the work of professional employees and to manage the organization, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the organization. It may also refer to the employee’s ability to manage an essential function of the organization at a high level, without the direct supervision of others.
Family Members of L-1 Beneficiaries
Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be granted L-2 classification and given the same validity dates.
- They are not included in the L-1 petition
- They must apply for an L-2 visa at the U.S. consulate based on your petition
If they are already in the United States and seeking a change of status to or extension of stay in the L-2 classification, they may apply collectively using Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Status.
Schedule a consultation now so Attorney Sarah Mu can help you navigate the L-1 petition process.