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The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has two types of work visas – temporary worker visas and permanent worker visas. The L-1 nonimmigrant classification permits temporary intracompany transferees to be admitted to the United States to occupy specific positions. 

In this article, you will discover the eligibility requirements for the L-1 visa category. 

L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa – The Essentials  

The L-1 temporary work visa is available for intracompany transferees who occupy managerial positions or have specialized knowledge. The employer must file on the worker’s behalf with USCIS to apply for a visa. 

Only qualified employees who meet the strict L-1 requirements are allowed to work and live in the United States temporarily. The L-1 visa category is divided into two subcategories – L-1A visas and L-1B visas. 

The L-1A visa applies to intracompany transferees who work in managerial or executive positions in a company located abroad that is transferring the employee to the United States. The L-1B visa has a similar purpose but is applied to intracompany transferees who work in positions requiring specialized knowledge. 

In many cases, the L-1 visa is used by foreign companies to send an employee as an executive or manager to establish a new office in the United States. In such cases, USCIS requires employers to prove: 

  • The new office has a physical location  
  • The executive or manager selected for the task has been occupying the same position for one continuous year in the three years before the application, and  
  • The new office will support the company’s “ambassador” within one year of the approval of the petition 

Who Are Eligible for L-1 Visa? – L-1A Classification vs. L-1B Classification 

L-1A Visa Requirements  

If a US company has an affiliated foreign office and wants to transfer one of its offices to the United States, the L-1A visa permits the admission of an eligible executive or manager to perform this specific task. To qualify for L-1A status, the employee must: 

  • Have been working for a qualifying organization abroad for one continuous year within the three years immediately before US admission, and 
  • Enter the United States to occupy an executive or managerial position, providing services for a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations 

L-1B Visa Requirements  

If a US company wants to transfer an employee with specialized knowledge from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States, the L-1B visa provides an efficient solution. 

A foreign company that does yet have an affiliated office in the United States may also apply for L-1B classification to send a specialized employee to help in the establishment of a new affiliated office. To qualify for L-1B status, the employee must: 

  • Have been working for a qualifying organization abroad for one continuous year within the three years immediately before US admission, and  
  • Enter the United States focused on providing services in his or her area of specialized knowledge for a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations 

USCIS defines the term “specialized knowledge” as the applicant’s knowledge about: 

  • “The petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or  
  • An advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures” 

Do You Want to Apply for an L-1 Visa? – Contact Attorney Romy B. Jurado Today 

Immigration Attorney Romy B. Jurado is willing to help you. Contact us today by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing Romy@juradolawfirm.com to schedule a consultation. 

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