L-1 Visa

If you are not a U.S. citizen and want to temporarily work in the U.S, an L-1 visa provides opportunities to transfer to a U.S. based office or to open a new office for your foreign employer in the U.S.

If you are an executive, manager (both covered by the L-1A Visa), or an employee with specialized knowledge or skills (covered by the L-1B Visa) working for an international company, your company can temporarily transfer you to a U.S. office.

Duration of Stay
Managers and executives may work in the U.S. for up to seven years and those with specialized skills or knowledge for up to five years, depending upon the individual’s qualifications and the company’s goals.

Processing Times
It usually takes 2-4 months for a normal L-1 to get processed, though Premium Processing is available at an additional charge. For an L-1 covered by a blanket approval, processing is about 1-3 weeks. This gives companies the ability to have highly knowledgeable and experienced employees step into U.S. roles on short notice.

Spouses and Children
An L-1 visa holder’s spouse and minor children can live and study in the U.S. under an L-2 visa for the length of time as the L-1. They may also travel in and out of the U.S. on short trips. Spouses may work full-time with the proper employment authorization from the USCIS, however dependent children on an L-2 visa are not eligible to work.

Green Card Potential
The L-1 is also the most straightforward strategy for foreign business owners to obtain a U.S. Green Card.

Requirements for the L-1 Visa:

A qualifying relationship must exist between the U.S. company and the foreign company, such as parent company, branch office, subsidiary or affiliate.
The transferring employee must have been a full time employee of the foreign company outside the U.S. for at least one continuous year within the preceding three years.
The company must also be, or will be, doing business as an employer in the U.S. and in at least one other country for the duration of the L-1 visa holder’s stay in the U.S.
Other requirements apply if an employee is being transferred to the U.S. to open or work for a new U.S. business.

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