L-1 and L-2 Visas
These are temporary nonimmigrant visa for employees who are being transferred within the company they work for in higher-level positions, such as managers, executives, or persons with specialized knowledge. The company must have offices both inside and outside the United States; the office inside the United States must be either an entity affiliated with the company, a branch, a parent, a joint venture, or a subsidiary. For the duration of employment on a L-1 visa, the outside company must continue operations or there must be an affiliated entity to the original company that has on-going operations outside of the United States.
Approved L-1 visa holders may bring their spouses and/or their unmarried, under 21 year-old children, using a L-2 visa, by providing proof of a valid family relationship. Spouses on L-2 visas may apply for an employment authorization (work permit).
To qualify for a L-1 visa, the employee must have been employed with their company, outside the United States, for at least one continuous year in the last three years prior to petitioning.
A L-1 visa is good for up to three years and then may be extended for two years on each extension application for a maximum of seven (7) years, if the employee is a manager or executive, or five years if the employee has specialized knowledge. Time spent in the United States on a H visa counts against the maximum time allotted. During this time, the employee must only work for their L-1 visa sponsor (the company they work for).
A L-1 visa holder may travel in and out of the United States during the duration of their visa.
Before entry into the United States on a L-1 visa, you must have your petition approved by USCIS unless you are a citizen of Mexico or Canada.
The procedures for applying for a L-1 visa are different for employees who are Canadian or Mexican citizens. Canadian or Mexican citizens may take all of their L-1 paperwork (three copies) and required fee to a port of entry and by-pass sending their petitions to USCIS. The border immigration inspector decides whether the employee qualifies for a L-1 visa. Accompanying relatives may also submit proof of familial relationship to the L-1 visa applicant at the port of entry to receive a L-2 visa.
There are no limits on the number of L visas given out every year.