An Introduction to the L1 Visa

Are you a foreign national looking to transfer to a US based position within your company? Then you might be the perfect candidate for an L-1 visa. While there are additional requirements that you’ll need to adhere to, the L1 visa is a fairly straightforward visa process. Like many other work visas, this one requires employer sponsorship since its sole basis is related to inter-company transferable employment skills. First and foremost, candidates interested in this visa must be employed at the company in question for at least one continuous year in the three years prior to applying. 


There are two categories under the L-1 visa, each with its own set of requirements:  


  • L-1A: Intracompany Transferee for Executives or Managers 
    • The L-1A visa is for foreign nationals who have worked abroad at a foreign affiliate of the sponsoring U.S. entity in an executive or managerial capacity. Executive capacity refers to the employee’s ability to make major decisions without much oversight. Managerial capacity refers to the ability of the employee to supervise and direct the work of other employees and to manage the organization, department, subdivision, function, or other component of the organization. 
    • Also, if the executive’s or manager’s reason for travel is to open a new office in the U.S., the following conditions must be met: 
      • The employer has secured the physical office location 
      • The employer will support an executive or managerial position within one year of the approved petition.


  • L-1B: Intracompany Transferee for Employees with Specialized Knowledge
    • The L-1B visa allows a U.S. employer to transfer an employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization from one of its affiliated foreign offices to a U.S. parent company, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch. This is not strictly managerial or executive level.
    • One key requirement of this applicant is that they must have specialized knowledge based on employment with the foreign employer that will be used in the U.S. Specialized knowledge means either special knowledge of 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.
    • Additionally, these parameters apply:
      • The employer has secured a physical office location 
      • The employer has the financial ability to compensate the employee conducting business in the U.S.


The L-1A visa has an initial period of stay of three years. Individuals can apply for renewals and may receive two extensions granted in two-year increments. This means individuals on an L-1A visa can remain in the U.S. for a total of seven years. An L1 visa attorney can help guide and advise applicants and renewals throughout this process.


The L-1B visa has an initial period of stay of three years. Individuals can apply for renewals and may receive one extension granted in a two-year increment. This means individuals on the L-1B visa could potentially stay in the U.S. for a total of five years.

If you’re interested in applying for an L-1, L-2, or L Blanket Visa, contact our team of L visa attorneys today.