Using Visas for Global Mobility: The L-1 Visa

Is your company aware of the L-1A intracompany transferee visa available for executives and managers?

In the day and age when immigration visas are scarce and the H-1B lottery is outdated and inadequate, HR and employers must become creative in meeting the goals of company ownership and the directives of their boards.

One immigration tool which is not subject to a cap and readily available year round is the L‑1A intracompany transferee visa for executives or managers.

This U.S. work visa permits a U.S. employer to transfer an employee from one of its affiliated foreign offices (parent, subsidiary, or even affiliate) to its offices in the United States. This visa even permits a foreign company, which is looking to establish a U.S. office, to send a hand-picked executive to the U.S. for the specific purpose of opening and establishing the new presence.

There are nuances between the executive capacity and managerial capacity visa types. The best sources for these descriptions is 8 CFR 214.2(l)(1) or to discuss with counsel.

The general requirements for eligibility are that the beneficiary worker must have been working for a parent, affiliate or related entity abroad for at least one continuous year out of the last three years and be seeking to enter the U.S. to provide service in the executive or managerial capacity at another branch of the same or related employer.

These visas are uncapped, subject to no lottery system and available initially for one to three years with a maximum of seven years of total eligibility. These attractive visas are even eligible for adjustment of status to a more permanent green card/permanent residency.

The family of a transferring employee may be easily included provided they are either a spouse or an unmarried child under 21 years of age. Family members are generally granted the exact same period of stay as the transferred employee.  Although each L-1 petition must be considered on its own merits, the USCIS will even consider multiple applications grouped together referred to as “bundles” of L-1 petitions in order to streamline the adjudication process.  Along those lines L-1 visa applications may be “premium processed,” guaranteeing a response from the USCIS within 15 days of the actual filing date.  This provides U.S. employers with not only the benefit of year-round availability subject to no lottery or cap but also the certainty of knowing the adjudication of the visa application within just a few weeks of filing.

If you have foreign operations of any shape or size and believe that your U.S. offices would benefit from the services of an intracompany transferee, do not hesitate to contact Greg Palakow and the Immigration Department of Archer & Greiner, P.C.