What is an L-1 Visa?

Our Law Firm Helps Clients Secure L1 Visas

At Pollak PLLC, our Dallas L1 visa attorney provides comprehensive, solutions-oriented immigration representation to businesses, organizations, and individuals. Our firm helps clients navigate through the immigration and visa process. If you have any questions about L1 intra company transfer visas, we are here to help. To set up a fully private consultation with a Dallas immigration lawyer, please contact us today.

An L-1 visa is granted to people who have worked outside of the U.S. as a manager, executive, or in a position involving specialized knowledge, and are now seeking to come to the U.S. to work in a related U.S. company in the same capacity. Many international companies use an L visa to transfer their executives, managers, or workers who are in a position that involves specialized knowledge to the U.S. L-1 visas are reserved for individuals employed by the company in question.

An Overview of L1 Visas (Intra Company Transferees) 

The United States has specialized immigration regulations in place to allow qualified foreign employees to transfer to an American-based office of a multinational company. An L1 visa is a non-immigrant employment visa reserved for international workers preparing to relocate to the United States at a company that exists under the same corporate structure as their current employer. To be eligible for an L1 employment visa, an applicant must meet the following criteria: 

  1. Work for a qualifying petitioning employer; 
  2. Transfer to a U.S. based company that has a qualifying relationship with the current employer; 
  3. Have completed a minimum of one year of employment abroad; and
  4. Intend to leave the U.S. at the end of the L1 visa term.

There are two broad categories of L1 visas. L-1A visas are designed to cover executives and other high-level managers. These visas are generally valid for a period of up to seven years. L-1B are for non-management employees who have some form of specialized knowledge or professional skills. An L-1B visa is valid for a maximum of five years.

There are a number of stipulations attached to acquiring an L-1 visa. These include:

  • The worker is an executive, manager, or in a position involving specialized knowledge.
  • The worker has been employed continuously for at least one year within three years preceding the time of the L visa application.
  • The company outside the U.S. is related to the U.S. company in some form (parent company, branch, affiliate, subsidiary, etc.).
  • The worker seeks to enter the U.S. temporarily.
  • Workers will continue to work for the company as an executive, manager, or in a position involving specialized knowledge. 

There are no specific salary requirements to attain an L-1 visa. Rather, the worker must simply prove to either act in an executive or managerial capacity. 

A spouse and/or minor children of a L-1 beneficiary may be granted L-2 visa status. An L-2 visa beneficiary may become a student in the U.S. They also may work in the United States.

The L-1 Application Process

The application process for the L visa includes the sponsor and/or applicant filing a petition with the USCIS. That petition is Form I-129. The application process fluctuates but can take several months. However, the USCIS offers an option for premium processing. For a $1,225 fee, the USCIS will process the petition in 15 days or less. L-1 visas allow for dual intent as well. This means that applicants can pursue lawful permanent resident status during their stay.

What is the Difference Between a Regular L-1 Visa and a Blanket L-1 Visa?

Workers may obtain an L-1 visa in one of two ways. Either, they must submit a regular L-1 visa petition and have their case judged on its individual merit, or they can submit a blanket L-1 visa petition. Blanket petitions are granted to companies who have met certain qualifications regarding L-1 visas. In such an instance, the worker would simply file a copy of an approved blanket petition.

For a company to achieve blanket L-1 status, it must first: 

  • Be engaged in commercial trade or services.
  • Have an office in the U.S. for a year or more.
  • Have three or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates.

However, the petitioning company must also meet one of the following criteria to gain blanket-petition status: the business must have obtained 10 L-1 visa approvals during the previous twelve-month period, have U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates that have a combined annual sales total exceeding $25 million, or it employs a U.S. workforce of more than 1,000 people.

A regular L-1 visa is for an employee who applies for a transfer within a multinational on an individual basis. For example, a single executive being transferred to a Dallas branch office from Germany would apply for a regular L-1 visa. Blanket L-1 visas are for groups of employees. Some qualifying employers may be eligible to roll their L-1 visa applications into a group in order to make the application process more efficient.

L-1 Visa Length of Stay

L-1 visas may either last for an initial maximum of one or three years, depending on whether the applicant is establishing a new office or moving into an existing one. The maximum extension limit on an L-1 visa is seven years –– though it is possible to switch from an L-1 visa to a green card.

How Texas Immigration Lawyer Karen-Lee Pollak Can Help

The L1 visa application process is complicated. As an immigrant herself and the former chair of the immigration practice at the Dallas office of one of the world’s largest law firms, our managing partner Karen-Lee Pollak is here to help you navigate the process. Among other things, our Dallas immigration lawyer will: 

  • Listen to your story and answer questions about the L1 visa 
  • Gather all of the documents, records, and information you need to move forward
  • Handle the L1 visa immigration paperwork and
  • Take action to help you overcome potential obstacles to an L1 visa. 

Call Our Dallas L1 Visa Attorney for Immediate Assistance

At Pollak PLLC, our Dallas L1 visa lawyer has the skills and experience to help you move through the immigration process. If you have any specific questions about L1 visas, we are here to help. Give us a call at (505) 883-5000 or use our online contact form for a strictly confidential consultation. From our Dallas law office, we provide immigration services throughout Texas.

Our managing attorney Karen-Lee Pollak and experienced support immigration team work with the sponsor and/or applicant to submit the most complete and thorough petition, which emphasizes the applicant’s education, qualifications, and experience. In addition, our support team knows the processes and procedures to work with various government agencies to ensure the best possible outcome.

Our firm provides full-service professional legal advice and representation to help you find an immigration solution to your visa needs. Please contact us to discuss your immigration options.

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