For how long can I stay and work in the US on L-1 visa?
Total Allowed Duration
For each type of L1 visa, on completing the maximum allowable period in L-1 status, the employee must be employed outside the United States for a minimum of one year before a new application is made for L or H status. In order to be eligible for L1 visa again, employment for that one year must work for a parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch of the U.S. company that would sponsor L1 visa. Please note that the times spent in L-1 status and H status are added together and counted toward the total. However, during that one year period, the alien is allowed brief visits to the U.S. for business or pleasure.
The limitations of the maximum stay in L status do not apply to aliens whose employment in the U.S. is seasonal, intermittent, or an aggregate of six months or less per year. Additionally, the limitations don’t apply to aliens who reside abroad and regularly commute to the U.S. to engage in part-time employment. The burden is on the petitioner and the alien to establish that the alien qualifies for an exception.
Based on Blanket L-1 Petition
Even if the remaining validity of the blanket L-1 petition is less than three years, the L-1 visa holder under blanket petition may be admitted for three years, unless there are issues related to the passport validity as the alien may not be admitted beyond the passport validity period.
As long as the blanket L-1 petition is valid, the alien may be admitted into the U.S., not to exceed the maximum total period allowed by L-1 visa, which is 7 years for L-1A visa and 5 years for L-1B visa, and not to exceed 3 years at a time per admission. Of course, the L-1 visa stamp must be valid at the time the alien applies for admission into the U.S.
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An L-1 visa holder can be admitted into the U.S. even though they are reassigned to a different organization, provided that the organization has been approved by the USCIS, as evidenced by the Form I-797, and as long as the duties remain virtually the same.
In case the ownership of the firm changes or in case of a merger, a new/amended petition may not be required in case of L-1 blanket petition.
An L1 visa holder under the blanket petition can extend their L-1 status in two ways:
- Apply for new L-1 visa stamp at the U.S. consulate, and attempt to enter the U.S. This would actually not be an extension but a fresh application by the beneficiary for admission into the U.S.
- File for extension with the USCIS. Such an extension can be filed as long as the blanket petition remains valid and unexpired, which includes a pending extension or amendment.
For any dependents on L2 visa, Form I-539, Application to Change/Extend Nonimmigrant Status should be filed.
L1 Visa Extension