What is an L1 Visa?
An L1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows companies to transfer employees from a foreign office to a U.S. affiliate office. The L1 visa is divided into two categories: L1A for managers and executives and L1B for employees with specialized knowledge. The L1A visa is valid for up to 7 years, while the L1B visa is valid for up to 5 years. It allows the employee to work in the U.S. during that time and also allows their spouse and unmarried children under 21 to come with them on an L2 visa.
Advantages of an L1 Visa:
- Allows for temporary transfer of foreign employees to a U.S. affiliate office.
- Employees can work in the U.S. for a period of up to 7 years for L1A and up to 5 years for L1B.
- Spouses and children under 21 years of age can accompany the employee on an L2 visa, and are eligible to apply for a work authorization.
- No annual limits or quotas for L1 visa issuance.
- Employees can apply for a green card while on an L1 visa, and it is considered a dual intent visa.
- Allows for easy travel in and out of the U.S.
- Allows for the ability to start or expand a business in the U.S.
- No minimum level of education or work experience required.
Disadvantages of an L1 Visa:
- Does not provide a direct path to permanent residency, but it’s a dual intent visa, it’s considered a first step in the process of obtaining a green card.
- Can be difficult to obtain if the U.S. company does not have a track record of doing business or if the application is not well-prepared.
- The application process can be time-consuming and costly, and requires detailed documentation and evidence to demonstrate the qualifications and skills of the employee and the nature of the U.S. affiliate office.
- Employees must leave the U.S. when the visa expires, unless they apply for an extension or change their status to another visa category.
Disadvantages of an L1 Visa:
- Does not provide a direct path to permanent residency. The employee would need to go through the process of obtaining a green card separately.
- Can be difficult to obtain if the U.S. company does not have a track record of doing business or if the employee does not meet the qualifications for L1A or L1B.
- The application process can be time-consuming and costly as it requires various forms, fees and supporting documents.
- Employees must leave the U.S. when the visa expires and would need to apply for a new visa if they want to return to the U.S.
- L1 visa holder’s dependents are not eligible for in-state tuition rates.
Requirements for an L1 Visa:
- The employee must have been employed with the foreign company for at least one year in the past three years.
- The U.S. company must be a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of the foreign company. It must be doing business for at least one year.
- The employee must have a specific job offer in the U.S. and must be able to demonstrate that they possess the necessary qualifications and skills for the job.
- The company must be able to demonstrate the ability to pay the employee’s salary.
- The employee must not have a criminal record or any other issues that may make them inadmissible to the U.S.
- The employee must pass a consular interview.
It is important to note that the requirements and application process for an L1 visa can vary depending on the specific circumstances, and the U.S immigration laws and regulations are subject to change. It’s always recommended to consult an immigration lawyer for specific advice and to ensure that the information is accurate and up to date.