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L-1 Intracompany Transfer for Managers, Executives and Special Knowledge Employees

Law Offices of Yu & Associates

What is the L-1 Visa Category?

The L-1 visa is designed for multinational companies to facilitate the temporary transfer of foreign nationals with management, executive, and specialized knowledge skills to the United States to continue employment with an office of the same employer, its parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate. There are two types of employees who may be sponsored for L-1 intra-company business visas: L-1A for executives and managers; and L-1B for employees with specialized knowledge.

What Are the Requirements for an L-1 Petition?

The L-1 petition should meet the following requirements:

  1. There must be a qualifying relationship between the business entity in the United States and the foreign operation which employs the alien abroad;
  2. For the duration of the alien's stay in the U.S. as an intra-company transferee, the petitioner must continue to do business both in the United States and in at least one other country, either directly or through a parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate;
  3. The alien must have been employed abroad by the foreign operation for at least one of the last three years; and
  4. The alien's prior year of employment abroad must have been in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity. The prospective employment in the United States must also be in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity.

What Are the Requirements for the Employer Petitioner?

The petitioner for an intra-company transferee must be a firm, corporation, or affiliate which is seeking to transfer a foreign employee to the United States temporarily from one of its operations outside the United States. The petitioner must be actively engaged in providing goods and/or services in the United States and abroad, either directly or through a parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate, with employees in both countries, for the duration of the alien's stay. The mere presence of an agent or office of the petitioner is insufficient evidence of this requirement.

How Long Can the L-1 Transferee Maintain Legal Status in the U.S.?

The L-1 visa is usually valid for a maximum initial period of three years. Extensions in increments of two years may be allowed until you have been in the U.S. for a total of seven years if you are a manager or executive, five years if you come as a specialized knowledge employee.

Can the Dependents of L-1 Visa Holders Stay in the U.S.?

L-1 dependents (including spouses and children under 21) may come to the US under L-2 visa status. They are allowed to remain in the US as long as the L-1 visa holder. L-2 spouses can apply for a work authorization card to work in the U.S. in any type of employment. Currently, there is no work permission provision for L-2 children.

What Documents Are Needed from the Employer for an L-1 Application?

The important documents required for L-1 application may include:

  1. Certificate of Registration
  2. General Balance and Profit and Loss Statement for the most recent fiscal year
  3. Last income tax return
  4. Bank statements for the last twelve months
  5. Payroll records for all employees for the last six months
  6. Employer's Quarterly Federal and State Tax Return for U.S. corporation (4 quarters)
  7. Current Business Lease or Deed for premises
  8. Advertisements (including Yellow Pages, if available)
  9. Organizational Charts
  10. Copies of several invoices, purchase orders, contracts, etc., - include several invoices for a period of twelve months
  11. Recent pictures of the premises displaying the name of the business
  12. Payroll records for 12 months for the L-1- visa beneficiary
  13. Current Curriculum Vitae of beneficiary
  14. Lease for business premises in the U.S.
  15. Articles of Incorporation of U.S. corporation

What Should the Employer Petitioner Do if It Has a Large Number of Transferees?

In the event a company plans to send a large number of transferees to the U.S., the company can submit a Blanket L-1 petition. To qualify for such a petition, the company must meet the following requirements:

  1. The U.S. and foreign company must be engaged in commercial service or trade;
  2. The US company must have had an office in the U.S. for at least one year;
  3. The employer must have at least three domestic or foreign branches, subsidiaries or affiliates;
  4. The Employer must show one of the following:
    • at least ten L-1 visas were approved in the last year;
    • the company had U.S. sales of at least 25 million; or
    • the company has at least 1,000 U.S. workers.

Can an L-1 Transferee Apply for a Green Card in the U.S.?

The L-1 visa is a dual intent visa which allows the holder to apply for a green card without going through the labor certification process. Most L-1A multinational executives are qualified for EB-1 multinational executive or manager after one year of work in the United States. Employees in the L-1B specialized knowledge category cannot use the employment-based first preference category to directly apply for permanent residence. L-1B statusholders typically have to go through labor certification to get employer-sponsored green cards.


The above is intended as a general introduction and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion for your particular case. Please contact the Law Offices of Yu & Associates with any specific questions. Tel: (301) 838-8986, Email:, Address: 110 N Washington St., Suite 328E, Rockville, MD 20850.

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