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The L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa Application

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  • The L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa Application

    The L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa Application

    The L-1 intracompany transferee visa allows managers, executives, and especially knowledgeable employees who work outside the U.S. for a company that has an affiliated entity inside the U.S. to come to the U.S. and perform services for that entity. There are no limits on how many people can get L-1 visas every year.

    The U.S. Congress created the L-1 nonimmigrant visa category in 1970, primarily to assist multinational companies that experienced difficulties in bringing to the United States critical personnel temporarily from abroad. To be eligible for an L-1 visa, a foreign national normally must have been employed by the foreign company continuously for at least one year during the preceding three years in a managerial or executive position, or in a position where the individual gained specialized knowledge.

    The individual must be coming to the United States to provide services to the same employer or a branch office, subsidiary or affiliate. For this reason, L-1 visa holders are known as intracompany transferees. Executives and managers enter the United States on an L-1A visa. Employees with specialized knowledge enter the United States on an L-1B visa.

    To qualify for specialized knowledge, the employee must possess special knowledge of the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge in the organization’s processes and procedures.

    Since the L-1 program’s creation, U.S. Congress has consistently responded to the needs of the business community by facilitating the process by which multinational companies import key personnel through the

    L-1 visa. Originally, the L-1 beneficiary had to have worked for the company abroad during the year immediately before filing the L-1 petition. A later amendment broadened the qualifying period to one year during the prior three year, thus permitting a former employee to rejoin the multinational company in the United States.

    A “blanket” L petition allows employers to have a petition on file that certifies that the organization meets the requirements of the blanket L visa program.