L-1A Visa (Intra-Company Executive or Manager Transfers)

The L-1A visa is a nonimmigrant visa for executives or managers who are being transferred from a foreign company to a related U.S. company.

At Total Law, we specialize in L-1A visas and provide comprehensive support to employers and employees throughout the visa application process. If you are looking to transfer executives or managers from another country to the United States, get in touch with one of our immigration law specialists on +1 844 290 6312, or contact us online.

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    L-1A (Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager) Visa Overview

    The L-1A nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager (foreign nationals) from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.

    This classification also enables a foreign company that does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States with the intention of establishing one.

    The L-1 visa allows executives and managers (and certain specialized knowledge capacity workers) of international companies to temporarily relocate to the United States in order to continue employment with their foreign employer in a managerial or executive capacity or with specialized knowledge.

    L-1 visa holders may live and work in the United States for up to seven years. After that time, they must return to their home country for at least one year before they are eligible to apply for another L-1 visa.

    L-1A visas are granted for initial stays of up to three years and can be renewed once for up to two additional years.

    Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age of L-1 visa holders may be eligible for L-2 visas and accompany them to the United States on L-1 status; however, they are not authorized to accept employment in the United States while on L-2 status.

    The company should file Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to obtain L-1A visa status for a foreign executive or manager.

    There are two different L-1 Visa tiers: L-1A and L-1B. L-1A visas are for executives and managers, while L-1B visas are for specialized knowledge foreign workers.

     

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    L-1A Visa Eligibility

    To be eligible for L-1A visa status, an individual must be employed by a qualifying organization that has a parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch office in the United States.

    This U.S. entity must have been doing business for at least one year to qualify and the foreign company must have been actively doing business as an international organization for at least one year prior to the L-1A visa application.

    The L-1A beneficiary must have been employed outside of the United States in a managerial or executive capacity for at least one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding his/her admission to the United States.

    Additionally, L-1A beneficiaries must be employed in managerial or executive positions by the U.S. entity within one year of his/her admission to the United States.

    L-1A beneficiaries may also receive salary, compensation, and/or other benefits from their foreign employer while on L-1 status in the United States. Still, they must be employed full-time (at least 35 hours per week) while in the United States.

    L-1A visa holders may not be self-employed in the United States.

    L-1A Visa Requirements

    The employers and the employees have different requirements.

    Employees:

    • Be employed for one year in the last three years of L-1A status with a qualifying organization outside the United States.
    • Intend to enter the United States to continue providing services as an executive or manager to the same employer or an affiliate/subsidiary.
    • Have been employed in an executive or managerial capacity outside the United States for a qualifying organization.
    • Have knowledge of the company’s products, services, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its applications in international markets.

    Employers:

    • Have had active business operations outside the United States for at least one year preceding L-1A visa application.
    • Have had active business operations in the United States for at least one year (if filing an L-1A petition for a new office).
    • Be either a parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of the foreign firm.
    • The intended U.S. office will support an executive or managerial position within one year of the approval of the petition.

    What is the Application Process for an L-1A Visa?

    The application process begins with the employer filing the L-1A visa petition, Form I-129, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Required documents from the employer include:

    • A copy of the business’s articles of incorporation or organization.
    • Evidence of a qualifying relationship between the United States entity and its foreign counterpart.
    • Proof that the L-1A beneficiary is an executive or manager.
    • Employment agreement.
    • Evidence of L-1A beneficiary’s salary and other benefits.

    Once the application has gone through, the employer should submit Form I-197 (Notice of Action) to the L-1A beneficiary.

    The L-1A beneficiary then should prepare and submit the L-1A visa application at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in his/her home country.

    Form DS-160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application) must be completed and submitted along with L-1A supporting documentation to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to obtain the L-1A visa stamp.

    The next stage of the application is scheduling and attending a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, where the L-1A beneficiary must demonstrate that he/she is qualified for L-1A status and intends to return to his/her home country after L-1A status expires.

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      What Documents are Needed from the Employer?

      The following documents are needed from the employer for L-1A visa application:

      • A copy of the business’s articles of incorporation/organization.
      • Evidence of a qualifying relationship between the U.S. entity and its foreign counterpart.
      • Proof that L-1A beneficiary is an executive or manager.
      • Employment agreement.
      • Evidence of L-1A beneficiary’s salary and other benefits.
      • Evidence that shows that the employee’s education, training, and employment qualifies him or her as an L-1A beneficiary.

      What Documents are Needed from the Employee?

      The L-1A employee should submit documents required for an L-1A visa application, such as:

      • Valid passport.
      • Copy of L-1A petition approval notice (Form I-797).
      • Two passport-sized photos.
      • Employment agreement.
      • Evidence of L-1A beneficiary’s salary and other benefits.
      • Any other documents requested by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, such as evidence of L-1A status for a new office applicant.
      • DS-160 confirmation page.
      • Visa interview appointment letter.

      L-1A Visa Fees

      The L-1A visa application filing fees are $460, plus an additional fraud prevention and detection fee of $500.

      L-1A Visa Processing Time

      L-1A visa processing time depends on the applicant’s country of origin. L-1A visas are usually issued within 3 to 5 days of the L-1A visa interview.

      How Long is the L-1A Visa Valid?

      The L-1A visa is valid for up to seven years, with a maximum stay of five years for L-1A transfers to a new office. L-1A visas are initially issued for three years and can be extended in two-year increments up to seven years, depending on the beneficiary’s eligibility.

      If the beneficiary exceeds the seven-year L-1A visa limit, he/she must wait one year before reapplying for L-1A status.

      What Happens if Application is Approved?

      If the L-1A visa is approved, the L-1A beneficiary can enter or reenter the United States in L-1A status. Once an L-1A beneficiary has been admitted to the United States with an L-1A visa, he/she may begin working for the U.S. employer as soon as possible.

      L-1A beneficiaries can also travel in and out of the United States as long as L-1A status is maintained.

      If you have any questions about your L-1A Visa application, our team is happy to assist. Contact Us

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        How the L-1 Visa Benefits Employers

        The L-1A visa provides several benefits to employers since it allows them to transfer qualified and experienced foreign executives or managers to their U.S.

        Blanket petition

        A blanket petition is a L-1A visa petition that allows a company to transfer multiple L-1A beneficiaries in the same application.

        Companies who have filed a blanket L-1A visa petition with USCIS are eligible for expedited L-1A visa processing. To qualify for an L-1A blanket petition, employers must have the following:

        • At least three U.S. and foreign branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates.
        • At least ten L-1A employees in the past 12 months.
        • Been actively doing business for one year or more.
        • A combined U.S. revenue of at least $25 million or a minimum of 1,000 employees in the U.S.

        New offices

        The L-1A visa is also beneficial for employers looking to expand their business and open a new office in the U.S. L-1A beneficiaries can act as executives or managers, helping employers establish new operations in the United States.

        No labor condition application (LCA) requirement

        An LCA is a certification from the Department of Labor (DOL) that a foreign employee will not be working in the U.S. for less than the prevailing wage rate or under exploitative conditions.

        L-1A beneficiaries do not require an LCA to work in the United States, which is beneficial for employers who hire L-1A employees as they can save time and money.

        Can Family Members Join an L-1A Visa Holder in the United States?

        Yes, L-1A visa holders can bring their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 as L-2 dependents to the U.S. L-2 dependents are eligible for employment authorization once they obtain L-2 status in the U.S.

        Children who turn 21 years of age during their stay in the United States on L-2 status must leave the country or change their status within 30 days or obtain employment authorization if they wish to remain in the United States on L2 status and work legally.

        Spouses who obtain L2 visas may apply for work authorization after their arrival in the United States. However, it can often take several months to obtain work authorization, so applicants should plan accordingly if they intend to work while on L2 status in the United States.

        Transitioning from an L-1A Visa to a Green Card

        The L-1A visa is a dual intent visa, which allows L-1A beneficiaries to transition from L-1A status to permanent residency status in the United States.

        L-1A beneficiaries can apply for a green card through the EB-1C immigrant work visa/immigration category.

        An EB-1C visa is a great option for L-1A beneficiaries seeking to obtain a green card quickly and without the time and cost of the labor certification process.

        An EB-1C visa is a great option for L-1A beneficiaries seeking to obtain a green card quickly and without the time and cost of the labor certification process.

        The employer should begin by filing an I-140 petition with USCIS, followed by an adjustment of status application.

        L-1A beneficiaries can also take advantage of the National Interest Waiver (NIW) to bypass the labor certification process and expedite their green card application process.

        Our expert lawyers can answer any of your questions about immigrating to the US. Contact Us

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          How Can Total Law Help?

          Total Law can provide comprehensive L-1A visa assistance to foreign executives and managers seeking L-1A visas for intra-company transfers.

          Our experienced L-1A attorneys will review your case, determine your L-1A eligibility, and guide you through the L-1A visa process.

          We will work with you and your employer to ensure that the L-1A visa petition meets all L-1A eligibility requirements and USCIS filing procedures so your L-1A application is approved quickly and without delay.

          In addition, we can also provide assistance with transitioning from an L-1A visa to a green card through the EB-1C or NIW immigration categories. Contact us today on +1 844 290 6312, or find us online to talk to our immigration attorney.

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                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    An L1A visa is intended for intra-company executive or managerial transfers. In contrast, an L1B visa is intended for employees with specialized knowledge relating to the organization coming to the U.S. to work. Both L1 visas are nonimmigrant visas and require employers to file petitions with USCIS.

                    The L1A visa does not have a minimum salary requirement. However, L1A visa holders must be paid the prevailing wage rate for the managerial or executive position they are coming to work in.

                    Yes, L-1A visa holders can bring their spouses with them to the United States as L-2 dependents. L-2 dependents are eligible for employment authorization in the U.S. once they obtain L-2 status in the United States. However, it can often take several months to obtain work authorization, so applicants should plan accordingly if they intend on working while on L2 status in the United States.