What is an L-1 Visa?
What is an L visa? L visas are temporary, non-immigrant, employment-based visas that are reserved for company employees who hold management or executive positions or have specialized knowledge. There are two types of L visas, L-1A and L-1B.
- L-1A visas are for transferees within a company who hold either an executive or management position in a company and is outside of the United States.
- L-1B visas are for transferees within a company who has a specialized skill which is vital for their position.
L visas are typically for executives and/or employees of a company outside of the United States with offices/subsidiaries in the United States, as well. In many cases, those companies will send over executives, managers, and specialized workers to oversee a new subsidiary or office and make sure it is operating successfully.
The L-1A Visa
The L-1A visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows companies to transfer executives or managers from a foreign office to an office in the United States. L-1A visas also are available for executives/managers of foreign companies that do not yet have a subsidiary in the United States but wish to open one. They can use an L-1A visa for an executive or manager to send them to the United States to establish a subsidiary.
To qualify for the L-1A visa, the executive/manager must have been working for the company or one of its affiliates for at least one year out of the past three years outside the U.S. and must be seeking to enter the United States to do work at an executive or managerial capacity.
The L-1B Visa
The L-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows companies to transfer employees with specialized knowledge related to their position. Similar to the L-1A visa, L-1B visas are available for specialized employees of foreign companies that wish to open a subsidiary in the United States but have not done so yet. The specialized employee may be granted an L-1B visa to help their company establish a subsidiary in the United States.
To qualify for the L-1B visa, the employee must have been working for the company or one of its affiliates for at least one year out of the past three years outside the U.S. and must be seeking to enter the United States to provide services to your company using your specialized knowledge.
When referring to a position’s capacity, here is how the USCIS describes it:
- Executives: “Executive capacity generally refers to your ability to make a wide range of decisions without much oversight.”
- Managers: “Managerial capacity generally refers to your ability 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 your ability to manage an essential function of the organization at a high level, without direct supervision of others.”
- Employees with specialized knowledge: “Specialized knowledge either means knowledge you have about the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures.”
As of now, the L visas are still banned from being issued under Presidential Proclamation 10052, but it is set to expire on March 31st, 2021.
At BridgehouseLaw, one of our main focus areas is assisting our clients in obtaining employment-based visas. If you are interested in obtaining an L visa, contact us. We’d be happy to speak to you.