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Your Guide To L-1 Visas


L-1 visas are temporary, non-immigrant visas reserved for qualifying foreign nationals to come and work in the United States on an “L-1 status.” According to the Office of Policy and Strategy Research and Evaluation Division, USCIS approved nearly 30,000 L-1 visa petitions in FY 2019 alone—with approximately 12,000 being for new employment and 17,000 being for continuing employment.

USCIS reports that more than 95 percent of L-1 visas approved were for people taking jobs within the category of “executives and managers.” L-1 visas are largely reserved for high-ranking employees transferring to the U.S. office of a multinational company. Here, our Philadelphia immigration lawyer offers a more detailed overview of the key things to know about L visas.

Background: L-1 Visas are For Intracompany Transfers of Executives/Managers

 An L-1 visa is a type of nonimmigrant visa that allows companies to transfer executives and managers from their foreign offices to their offices in the United States. The L-1 visa is designed to help multinational companies transfer their employees to the United States on a temporary basis in order to continue their employment with the company.

 Note: L-1A visas are reserved for executives and managers. There is another type of visa called an L-1B visa for employees with “specialized knowledge” of business operations. A non-executive employee with specialized knowledge may qualify for an L-1B visa.

 Qualifying for an L-1 Visa: Requirements for the Employer and Employee 

To be able to qualify for an L-1 visa, a strong and well-supported application must be submitted to USCIS. Notably, both the employer and employee filing the application must meet certain requirements. Here is an overview of the standards:

  • Employer Requirements (L1 Visa): The foreign employer must provide a sufficient link between itself and the U.S. office of where the applicant employee is being transferred. Additionally, the employer company must be “doing business” in the United States.
  • Employee Requirements (L1 Visa): The applicant employee must have worked for the employer for a minimum of one year and they must work in an executive or managerial position (or have specialized knowledge (L-1B visa)). 

L-1 Visas Allow Executives/Managers to Bring Dependents With an L-2 Visas 

Closely related to an L-1 visa, an L-2 visa is a type of immigration option that allows an L-1 visa holder to bring their spouse and children (unmarried, under 21) within them to the United States. You can apply for an L-2 visa for dependents when you apply for an L-1 visa. If you have any questions about L-2 visas, an experienced Philadelphia immigration lawyer can help.

 Contact Our Philadelphia L Visa Attorney Today

At Ellenberg Law Group, our Philadelphia immigration attorney has the professional skills and legal expertise to handle all types of L visa cases. If you have any questions about applying for an L visa, we are here as a legal resource. Give us a call today or contact us online for a fully confidential case review. From our Philadelphia office, we provide immigration services throughout the entire region, including in Montgomery County, Chester County, Bucks County, and Delaware County.


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