The expansion of global competition demands that multi-national executives stay informed of the market and geo-political climate, among other things.  As a result, Intra-company transfers of executives and managers are necessary for a properly functioning business.

The L-1A visa category is designed to allow executives to live and work in the United States in order to oversee the daily operations of a U.S. business.  L-1B category covers non-executive personnel with specialized knowledge.  An example of specialized knowledge personnel would be someone with company knowledge of certain products, and who must travel to the U.S. to train employees about that knowledge.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly the "INS") also provides special procedures for companies that are frequent users of the L-1 visa category.  Under the "L-1 Blanket Petition Program" a company needs only ONE approval from the USCIS to transfer a number of managers and executives to the U.S. branch office.

Advantages of L-1 Visa

The advantages of a L-1 visa are many compared to an E-visa, in that no showing of a "treaty" is required, and therefore the "nationality" requirements are not considered.  But, the main advantage of a L-1 visa is that the executive or manager who has been granted a L-1 visa may apply for permanent residence (green card) under the EB-1(c) category, because they are given “first preference” and are considered as “priority workers.”  Therefore, the granting of a L-1 petition can increase your chance of receiving permanent residence status.

L-1A Requirements

The L-1A visa applicant should hold a managerial or executive position whose primary duties are:

(1)  Managing a department, subdivision, function or component of an organization;

(2)  Supervising and controlling the work of other supervisory, professional or managerial employees;

(3)  The authority to hire and fire, or recommend personnel actions;

So, first-line supervisors are not considered to be managers, unless the employees they supervise are professionals, such as engineers, accountants, attorneys, or members of some professional affiliation, or other managers of the company.

L-1B Requirements  

The L-1B visa category is designed for staff with special, proprietary knowledge of company products, services, equipment, research and development, techniques, or other interests of the business that is not generally disclosed to the public.


Disclaimer:  Information provided on this page is only intended as a general guideline for the reader, and it is not intended as legal advice for any particular case, or exhaustive of all legal requirements.