L-1 Visas for Multi-National Executives and Managers

L-1 is a category of visa for multinational executives, managers and employees with specialized knowledge of foreign corporations, which allows them to work for U.S. subsidiaries and affiliates of the foreign company for up to seven (7) years. A holder of an L-1 visa may travel in and out of the country without limitations.

If the L1 candidate is coming to the U.S. to establish a new office -a one-year initial period of stay applies. At the end of the one-year period, the company must prove that it continues to do business in the U.S. and abroad, in order to request an extension of stay for the executive or manager.

Visas for Family Members

Spouses and children of may receive derivative L visas in order to accompany the principal alien. They may attend school. Spouses may obtain permission to work in the United States.

The foreign national may choose either to apply for the visa at the U.S. consulate with jurisdiction over his/her place of residence or to change status in the United States.

A Path to a Green Card

L-1 visas are “dual intent” visas and may pave the way for foreigners to seek permanent residency (Green Card) in the EB1-3 category as a successful multi-national executive or manager.

L-1 Visa Requirements

  • Foreign national must have been employed by the foreign company abroad for at least one year out of the past three years in a managerial or executive capacity.
  • Foreign company must be operational (must show that is has been doing business, i.e., holding goods and/or services for sale)
  • The U.S. company must be active (not merely a shelf corporation), conducting substantial business, and truly in need of an executive or manager.
  • Must demonstrate that the applicant will be employed in a managerial or executive capacity at the U.S. company.
  • Qualifying relationship must exist between foreign and U.S. company.
  1. Affiliate: owned by same entity/individuals in approximately same percentage.
  2. Parent/Subsidiary: U.S. company owned directly by the foreign parent company.

Typically supporting documents include stock/share certificates, operating agreements, corporate tax returns, accounting statements, photographs of the businesses, lease agreements, and other.

USCIS Website on L1 Visas

Department of Homeland Security Website on L1 Visas