L1 Visa Requirements

L1 Visa Requirements

The following are the general requirements for L-1 visa classification:

  1. Petitioner Requirements:
    1. There must be a qualifying relationship between the business entity in the U.S. and the foreign company which employs the alien abroad. 

      The exact evidence to be submitted while filing the petition varies based on the type of qualifying relationship. 

    2. For the duration of the L-1 visa holder’s stay in the U.S., the petitioner must be doing business as an employer in the U.S. and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization

      Evidence of doing business 

  2. Employee/Alien/Beneficiary Requirements:
    1. The alien must have been employed abroad by the qualifying foreign employer for one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding his/her admission into the U.S. (Aggregation of several shorter periods is not allowed to make up one year.)

      The alien can be directly employed by the qualifying organization, paid through an agency or personal service company, or even on a freelance basis, as long as the qualifying organization had management and control over the worker during the qualifying year.

      Authorized periods of stay in the U.S. for a branch of the same employer or a parent, affiliate, or subsidiary thereof, and brief trips to the U.S. for business or pleasure shall not be interruptive of the one year of continuous employment abroad. However, any such periods shall not be counted towards one year of qualifying employment abroad.

      Part-time employment of one year or more can’t be added up to meet the one year abroad required. However, if the employee has worked part-time for several foreign affiliates of the U.S. company, and the total employment time equals full-time hours, that is allowed. 

      If the alien is already in the U.S. on some other work visa, such as H1B visa, for a few years, it may still be possible to get L1 visa from a qualifying employer, as one year out of three years is counted BEFORE the admission into the U.S.

    2. The alien’s prior one year of employment abroad must have been in a managerialexecutive, or specialized knowledge capacity. 

      The prospective employment in the U.S. must also be in managerialexecutive, or specialized knowledge capacity. 

      However, the alien does not have to be transferred to the U.S. in the same capacity in which he/she was employed abroad, provided the U.S. operation has been doing business for at least 1 year. That is, a manager abroad could be transferred to the U.S. in a specialized knowledge capacity.

  3. In case the employee is coming to open a new office in the U.S., there are additional requirements.

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