L-1 VISA - Bringing Your Human Talent to Your United States Operations

by Sherrod Seward, Partner | Queen City Immigration Law | (704) 741-9002

Employers are always looking for ways to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of their human resources. This often requires hiring new foreign workers or laterally moving existing foreign employees within the company structure from abroad to the United States. Lately, the uncertainty looming over the future of the H-1B visa program has made the latter option especially appealing.

The L-1 nonimmigrant visa is an excellent way to accomplish this goal without being subject to the cap limitation of the H-1B classification. The L-1 intracompany transferee visa presents less randomness and other hurdles than the H-1B for companies that already have established business operations abroad. L-1 visas are available to managers or executives and workers with specialized knowledge or skill of international companies with offices in both the United States and abroad. This visa allows such foreign workers to relocate to the US entity after having worked for the related company abroad for at least one continuous year within the previous three prior to admission in the United States. The US and non-US employers must be related in one of following four ways:

  • parent and subsidiary
  • branch and headquarters
  • sister companies owned by a mutual parent; or,
  • affiliates' owned by the same or people in approximately the same percentages

There are two types of L-1 procedures: Typical individual L-1 visa applications, which must be applied for and approved for each individual by the USCIS; and blanket L-1 visa applications, which are available to employers that meet certain criteria. Blanket L-1 visa applications can be far more efficient for petitioning employers because it has already been determined by USCIS that the company qualifies for multiple intracompany transferee visas, so the individual visa applicant only needs to file a copy of the approved blanket petition, along with documents supporting their personal qualifications.

To find out more information about the L-1 Visa or case evaluation through a formal consultation with a licensed U.S. Immigration Attorney from Queen City Immigration Law please call (704) 741-9002.