L-1 International Executives & Managers Visa

The L-1 intracompany transfer visa, also known as the L-1 International Executive Visa, or the L-1 International Manager Visa, is available for managers and executives, including investors and entrepreneurs, or employees with specialized knowledge, who have been working for or own a qualifying international company abroad that seeks to open new business operations in the United States, or already has an operating affiliate or subsidiary in the U.S., and transfer the manager/executive/employee to the U.S. business location.

General Requirements

Employment Abroad with an Employer in a Qualifying Relationship

In order for an investor to qualify for an L-1, one of the few available U.S. employment visas, he or she must have been employed by a properly related company outside the United States for at least one of the three years preceding the application. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations refer to “qualifying relationships,” including parent/subsidiary, affiliate, branch office, or certain joint ventures to establish that the United States and foreign companies are properly related. In order to meet the one-year employment abroad qualification, the foreign national must have a full 365 days outside the United States while employed by the related foreign company. Periods of time in the United States as a visitor on behalf of the foreign company do not interrupt the one-year employment requirement, but these days cannot be counted toward that one year requirement.

Managerial, Executive, or Specialized Knowledge Capacity

In addition to the one-year employment abroad category, the L-1 applicant must prove that he or she will, while in the United States, fill a position that is executive, managerial, or involves specialized knowledge.
Regulations define managerial capacity broadly and include not only traditional supervisory duties, but management of a critical department or function of an enterprise so long as the managerial duties are carried out at a senior level within the organization. It also may be possible to show managerial duties if the employee will supervise non-employees such as contractors or others participating in a project involving the U.S. company. Executive capacity is a leader directing the company activities at the highest levels and setting overall goals and policies with little or no external direction.

L-1B Specialized knowledge

Specialized knowledge involves understanding of the company’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and their application in international markets. It can also include  an advanced level of knowledge of the company’s processes and procedures that would be hard to find in the U.S. L-1B transferees cannot apply for a green card as easily as the L-1A.

Contact us to consult on what documents to prepare and how to plan for the strongest case before filing.

This same documentation is required for those Executives or Managers applying for a Green Card either after having had L-1 status or another qualifying status. USCIS has become increasingly strict in approving these applications, especially for smaller companies. We will discuss options and alternatives with you before proceeding.

Neil J. Sheff Visas, Green Cards, Citizenship. Immigration Attorney
+310 446 3844 OR +310 496 1644