L Visas

"The Right Immigration Attorney Makes All The Difference"

L nonimmigrant visas are available to intra-company transferees who, within the three preceding years, have been employed abroad continuously for one year, and who will be employed and performing duties for a parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of the same employer for whom they were employed abroad in the United States in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity. The employer may be a company or other legal entity including a profit, non-profit, religious, or charitable organization. Is it not necessary that the employer be incorporated. Time spent working in the United States will not count toward the one year of required employment, though time spent in the United States will not be considered to have disrupted the continuity of employment abroad for the company abroad. It is possible to use a combination of part-time employment for affiliated companies under certain circumstances to qualify for L visa status.

The foreign company and the United States company must have a qualifying relationship. The United States and the foreign company must have common majority ownership, or, where there is less than majority ownership, common control by the same person or entity.

Executives and managers may stay in L-1 status for seven years. Their visas are L-1As. Executives and managers may apply for permanent residence in the United States under the Multinational Manager and Executive employment-based, first-preference category. This category is seldom backlogged due to per country visa limitations and does not require that the applicant undergo labor certification.

Specialized knowledge refers to employees who have a special knowledge of the company's products and their applications in world market and an advanced or proprietary knowledge of the company's processes or procedures. Specialized knowledge employees may stay in the United States for up to five years. Their visas are L-1Bs. Those who wish to obtain L-1B visas must undergo labor certification to become permanent residents. The visas will be granted with an expiration of up to three years. Whether the visas are multiple entry or not depends on the applicant’s country of origin.

Companies seeking the classification of multiple applicants as L intra-company transferees may file a blanket petition for the multiple applicants with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The blanket petition is available to only large, established companies with multi-layered structures and numerous related business entities. The blanket petition provision is also available only to managers, executives and specialized knowledge professionals that are destined to work in an established office and cannot be used for the establishment of a new office in the United States. Applicants for L visas must pay a $500 anti-fraud fee in addition to the visa application fee.

The prospective employer of the L visa applicant must file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Service Center which has jurisdiction over the area of the projected employment. U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services determines if the L visa petition satisfies the regulatory requirements. Processing times for L visa applications vary, but Premium Processing is available for an extra $1,000 filing fee. Premium processing will lead to a decision or issuance of a Request for Additional Evidence on the L visa application within fifteen days of filing the Premium Processing Request. If the L visa application is approved, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will mail the approved petition to the consular post or, if the L visa applicant is in the United States in another nonimmigrant status, change the L visa applicant’s status to L through the issuance of a new I-94. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will also mail the petitioner a notification of approval, I-797. The I-797 approval notice is not an entry document.

An L-1 visa may also be used for an employee of an international company who is being sent to the United States to establish a branch, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of the foreign company in the United States. In order for the L visa petition to be approved, the international company will be required to show they have acquired office space and that, within one year of the approval of the new office L petition, the prospective United States operation will support an executive or managerial position. If the L visa sought is for a specialized knowledge employee, the petitioner will be required to show that it has the financial ability to compensate the specialized knowledge employee and to begin doing business in the United States. L visa petitions for employees of a new office in the United States will be approved for a period which cannot exceed one year; after the one-year the petitioner must demonstrate that it is doing business United States and meets the L visa regulatory requirements in order for the petition and applicant's stay to be extended beyond the one year initial L visa stay.

Spouses and children who are under the age of 21 can receive L-2 visas to accompany the principal L visa applicant to the United States. L-2 dependents may study in the United States. L-2 dependents may also apply for employment authorization in the United States.

United States consulates may issue visas to applicants up to 90 days in advance of the L visa applicant’s start of employment shown on the approved I-797, Notice of Action. The visa cannot be used to enter the United States until ten days prior to the start date of the L visa.

Contact an Immigration Attorney in Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New York


To speak to an immigration lawyer about your immigration goals, including obtaining a work visa in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, New York or anywhere in the United States, we welcome you to contact us online or call 412-291-4400 | 215-880-4977 | 347-839-1700 . Free consultations are available. We represent clients throughout the United States, including Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, New Jersey, Philadelphia County, Allegheny County, and worldwide in Korea, Africa, India, and Pakistan.