L visa:

The L-1 visa is a temporary visa which allows companies operating both in the US and abroad to transfer certain classes of employee from their foreign operations to their USA operations for up to seven years. The employee must have worked for a subsidiary, parent, affiliate or branch office of the US company outside of the US for at least one year out of past last three years.

Companies operating in the US must apply to the relevant USCIS Service Center to transfer someone to the US from their overseas operations in L-1 status. Employees in this category will, initially, be granted an L-1 visa for up to three years.


There are two types of employees who may be sponsored for L visas:



The legal definition of management and executive roles for these purposes is quite strict, and a detailed description of the duties attached to the position will be required. In particular, the executive or manager should have supervisory responsibility for professional staff and/or for a key function, department or subdivision of the employer. Such personnel are issued an L-1A visa, initially for a three year period extendible in two year increments to a maximum of seven years.


Specialized Knowledge Staff:

This category covers those with knowledge of the company's products/services, research, systems, proprietary techniques, management, or procedures. Employees in this category are issued an L-1B visa, initially for three years extendible to a maximum of five years.

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.


Blanket Petitions:


USCIS has provided a special set of procedures to be used by companies that are frequent users of the L-1 visa category or are large multi-national organizations. It is called the "L-1 Blanket Petition Program." Under this program, the approved company need only receive one approval from the USCIS to transfer a certain number managerial, executive and Specialized Knowledge employees.


Dependent family members:


The spouses and children under 21 of L-1 visa holders can obtain L-2 visas.

An L-2 visa holder can:


  • Reside in the U.S. for the duration of the L-1 visa holder's authorized stay
  • Work in the U.S. with an EAD (employment authorization document) issued by the USCIS
  • Study full-time in the U.S.
  • Travel freely in and out of the U.S.


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