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Nonimmigrant Visa 
The L nonimmigrant visa category is a useful tool for international companies needing to bring foreign employees to the United States. An L-1 visa allows for an intra-company transferee. This is a person who worked for a company abroad in an executive, managerial, or “specialized knowledge” capacity for at least one continuous year within the three years prior to coming to the US and is coming to the US to work for a related company (parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch).

An alien may be admitted to the United States in L-1 status for the period of time required by the employer, with the following maximums:

  1. Seven years for managers and executives.
  2. Five years of specialized knowledge personnel.

There is an exception to the maximums for intermittent L-1 stays in the United States. Employers who can document intermittent US employment in L-1 status for an alien can have new L-1 petitions approved indefinitely as the usual maximums do not apply. For example, a specialized knowledge employee who enters the US sporadically, and for brief periods of time, to impart to employees of the US subsidiary the proprietary knowledge of the company’s product could have L-1 petitions approved indefinitely.

Permanent Residence 
L employees who are in managerial or executive roles also have an advantageous route to permanent residence. Managers and executives meeting L-1 standards are considered “priority workers” and fall under the first employment-based preference category. Aliens qualifying in this category are exempted from the usual labor certification requirement.

Family Members of An L-1 Nonimmigrant 
Family members of the L-1 nonimmigrant are entitled to admission in the L-2 nonimmigrant category. This includes the L-1 visa holder’s spouse and minor unmarried children under the age of 21. Once children attain the age of 21 or get married, they are no longer eligible to remain in the US in L-2 status. The family members of the L-1 visa holder can undertake courses of study in the US. The spouse of an L-1 visa holder can obtain an employment authorization.

Blanket L-1 
The Blanket L-1 is a procedure whereby a very large company can pre-qualify to transfer L-1 employees. Once the Blanket L-1 is approved, the company has the flexibility to transfer people to the US quickly and on short notice without having to file a separate petition. Instead, a special form is submitted to the US consulate abroad to grant the individual an individual an L-1 visa. The basic employer requirements for the Blanket L-1 are:

US office for at least one year;
Three or more branches, subsidiaries or affiliates;
One of the following:

  • US annual sales of $25 million;
  • US workforce of 1,000 employees; or
  • At lease 10 L-1 petition approvals in the past year.

U.S. Immigration Law can be very complicated. However, with proper legal advice and guidance, the immigration process can be stress-free. Our goal is to ensure that our clients understand their particular circumstances in light of current immigration laws and procedures. We provide legal counsel to immigration clients throughout the United States, and we handle most types of immigration cases, including family based and employment based visas,