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Eligibility For An L-1 Visa

  • By: Serving Immigrants
  • Published: December 13, 2019
Eligibility For An L-1 Visa

There are no limits on how many people can obtain an L-1 visa every year. L-1 visas or intracompany transferee visas allow managers, executives, and employees with “specialized knowledge” who work outside the United States for a company with an affiliated entity inside the United States, come to work for that company in the United States. There are some important criteria that must be met before someone is eligible for an L-1 Visa.

Basic Criteria

In order to qualify for an L-1 visa, an individual must have been an employee of the sponsoring company for at least one continuous year out of the last three years. In addition, they must be transferring to the United States in order to work for the company as a manager, executive, or employee with specialized knowledge. The U.S. company to which the employee is transferring must be a branch, parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or joint venture partner of the non-U.S. company. The company may have originated outside the United States or be a foreign division of a U.S.-based business.

The operations of the company must continue for the duration of the visa. The visa holder has an expectation that they will return to their home country after the visa expires. If the company goes out of business during the visa, there must be another U.S.-based affiliate for the employee to transfer to, or the visa expires.

Eligibility Rules

A person seeking an L-1 Visa must meet the immigration law definitions of a manager, executive, or employee with specialized knowledge. These are not the same as the dictionary definitions.

A manager is considered a person who:

  • manages the entire organization or a division, department, function, or component of the organization,
  • supervises and controls the work of other supervisory, professional, or other managerial employees, or manages an essential function of the department or subdivision of the organization,
  • has the authority to hire, fire, and recommend such personnel decisions or must work at a senior level in the organization, and
  • is authorized to make decisions regarding the day-to-day operations of the part of the organization under his or her management

An executive is defined as someone whose primary role involves:

  • directing the management of the organization or a major function of it
  • sets goals or policies for the organization or for a function or portion of it
  • possesses extensive discretionary decision-making authority
  • receives only general direction or supervision from higher-level executives, a board of directors, or stockholders

An employee with specialized knowledge is one who has knowledge of the company and its products, services, research equipment, techniques, management, or other interests. This knowledge must go beyond the information that is widely held throughout the industry or even within the company. This knowledge must be advanced and unique compared to others similarly situated.

Contact An Experienced L-1 Visa Attorney

 Qualifying for an L-1 visa can be complicated, so you may want an experienced immigration lawyer on your side. At Serving Immigrants, Inc., we have the experience and the knowledge to guide you through the application process. Contact us online or call us at (305) 907-6151 to schedule a consultation.

Magdalena Cuprys, Esq.

As an immigrant and a refugee herself, attorney Magdalena Cuprys understands how
important, terrifying, and exciting immigrating to America can be. She understands
how important it is to have one’s legal status in order to achieve the American dream.

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