An Intra-company transferee is a person who worked for a company abroad in an executive (L-1A), managerial (L-1A), or “specialized- knowledge” (L-1B) capacity (USCIS has specific definitions for each of these terms) for at least one continuous year within the three years prior to coming to the U.S. and is coming to the U.S. to work for a related (parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch) company in one of those three types of positions.
The L-1A is reserved for managerial or executive intra-company transferees who actively manage the organization or essential functions of the organization. The maximum stay is seven years for managers and executives.
The L-1B is reserved for “specialized- knowledge” intra-company transferees who have a detailed understanding of the company’s products, services, processes and procedures. The maximum stay is five years for specialized knowledge employees.
NEW OFFICE L-1 VISAS
The regulations make special provision for adjudication of L-1 petitions on behalf of overseas organizations that are just starting to do business in the United States. Additional evidence is required with the initial L petition under these circumstances.
New office L petitions are approved for an initial period of one year. At the conclusion of that year, the petitioner must file an extension request documenting that the qualifying organization still exists and has been doing business in the United States.
L-1A TO EB-1 (GREEN CARD)
Individuals working in the U.S. with an L-1A visa may seek to become lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders) via the Employment-Based, first preference (EB-1) immigrant visa.
This category is for multinational managers or executives who have been employed outside of the United States under L-1A status for more than 12 months.
PROCESS FOR L-1
An L-1 visa petition (Form I-129 and I-129L Supplement) must be filed, along with relevant evidence and the filing fee. Upon approval of the petition, a Form I-797 Notice of Action is sent by USCIS to the petitioner or counsel.
The petitioner or counsel must then submit the I-797 to the consulate to apply for a visa, along with the DS-160 and any other documents required by the consulate.
By statute, L-1 petitions are supposed to be decided within 30 days. A realistic timeframe, from start to finish, is 2 months (unless premium processing is selected).
The principal L-1’s spouse and children under age 21 may be issued dependent (L-2) visas. Spouses in L-2 status can obtain work authorization by filing an I-765 Application for Employment Authorization with a USCIS service center, along with a copy of the applicant’s I-94, a copy of the marriage certificate, the filing fee, and photos.