L1 - Intracompany Transferee

The L1 intra company transfer visa are for Intracompany Transferee employees either Executive or Managers or those with Specialized Knowledge. The L1 visa enables multinational companies to expand operations by transferring qualified staff to a newly established or existing United States subsidiary, affiliate, parent or branch office.

This L1 intra company transfer visa is available to someone who has at least 1 year of experience (within the last 3 years) as either a manager or specialized knowledge worker with a foreign company that is commonly owned and controlled by or commonly owns and controls  a business in the US (or will be opening a new office in the US). The foreign national must also be coming to work for the US office as either a manager (L-1A visa) or specialized knowledge worker (L-1B visa). 

A manager as defined by US immigration law is essentially considered to be someone who manages professional workers, manages at least 2 tiers of non-professionals or unskilled workers or  manages a key and essential function  of  the  organization.

Specialized knowledge workers are those that have specialized knowledge of a company’s products/services or advanced knowledge of the company’s processes, procedures, policies, etc. that is not commonly held in the company or the industry (e.g., knowledge of a proprietary or patented product or service).  Generally, if such knowledge can be transferred to someone in the foreign national’s field through reasonable training or if such knowledge is commonly held throughout the company, the government will not find that the foreign employee has specialized knowledge. 

There are specific provisions of the US immigration laws that apply to foreign corporations seeking to establish a new US office. These laws require that the new office secure an office or premises from which to conduct its business and essentially set up its operations (ie, incorporate the company, obtain a taxpayer ID, number, secure a bank account, etc.) before an L-1 visa application is made.

One cannot apply for this visa and then come open a US office. 

Setting up operations is usually done by a representative of the foreign company.    Foreign representatives can enter the US on a B-1 visa or under the Visa Waiver Program to so set up new office operations. 

Once operations are established, then the new office can apply for an L-1 visa for the manager or specialized knowledge worker it seeks to transfer to the US.  The foreign representative is not permitted to manage/work for the company on B-1 visa or via a Visa Waiver Program entry.

The L-1A visa can be held for up to 7 years total.  The visa is usually granted initially for 3 years (unless a new office is involved, in which case the visa would be granted for 1 year), and extensions are granted in 2 year increments up to the 7 years maximum. The L-1B visa can be held for up to 5 years total.

The visa is usually granted initially for 3 years, and extensions are granted in 2 year increments up to the 5 years maximum.  The family members of L-1A and L-1B visa holders, specifically spouses and unmarried children under 21, are automatically granted L-2 visas. An L-2 spouse can apply for a work permit in the US, and once granted, this work permit would allow the spouse to work for any US employer, although work is not required. L-2 children are unfortunately not able to apply for work permits, but they can attend school full-time on L-2 visas.

Key point:

Spouses and children (unmarried and under age 21) of L-1A visa holders can be granted L-2 dependent status.  L-2 status provides work authorization upon filing and approval.

L1 Visa Types


Benefits for L1 Intra company transfer Visa

  • Ability to Live and Work in the USA
  • Extended Period of Stay
  • Dual Intent Visa
  • No Set Wage Requirements
  • Immigration Benefits for Your Family
  • L1 Visa is Eligible for Premium Processing
  • No Annual Limit to the Number of L1 Visas Issued

Eligibility Criteria

  • Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate, collectively referred to as qualifying organizations).
  • Must have completed a minimum of one year’s continuous employment for the company outside of the U.S. within the three years immediately prior to your admission to the United States.
  • Currently be, or will be, doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States as an L-1
  • You must have been working in an executive or managerial role throughout the twelve-month qualifying period.
  • You must be seeking to enter the United States to provide service in an executive or managerial capacity for an affiliate or branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.

L-1 Visa Process

The US company must file the petition on the employee’s behalf. Therefore, the US company is considered the petitioner, and the L1 visa recipient, is considered the beneficiary.

Business Model Preparation

Business Registration and Setup

Application Preparation

File Form I-129 and L Supplement at USCIS

Change Status of Apply for L1 Visa at consulate office

Start working and managing US business

Available for


l1 intra company transfer visa

L1 Visa to Green Card

The L1 visa is a non-immigrant visa category with dual intent. This means that the L1 visa is temporary and does not directly lead to a green card.

In order to go from an L1 visa to a green card, you will have to either apply for an adjustment of status or apply for an immigrant visa abroad.

Path to Green Card

  1. EB1C Green Card for multinational managers and executives
  2. Work Sponsorship
  3. EB5 investment-based immigrant visa and Green Card
  4. Marriage (Spouse Sponsorship)



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