What Is an L Visa for Intracompany Transferees?

Intracompany visas are used to transfer managerial or executive (L-1A) and specialized knowledge (L-1B) workers from foreign companies to provide services in a similar capacity to a related company in the U.S. The foreign employees must have been employed continuously abroad for one year within the past three years by a parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of a U.S. company.

Employment by a firm, corporation, or other legal entity like a law firm includes profit, nonprofit, religious, and charitable organizations. Full-time U.S. employment is not required, but employees must dedicate a significant portion of time on a regular and systematic basis to the employer. However, the employee must have continuous full-time employment for the one year preceding U.S. entry with the foreign-related employer.

The majority or substantial stockholder of a U.S. and/or foreign company can be an L-1 visa holder, but submit evidence that his or her services will be temporary and that he will be transferred abroad upon completion of the temporary U.S. assignment. An employee must have been a manager or executive or have worked in a specialized knowledge capacity abroad. The transferee does not have to be transferred to the U.S. in the same capacity in which he or she was employed abroad.

Managerial capacity is an assignment with an organization in which the employee primarily:

(a) manages the organization, department, subdivision, function, or component;

(b) supervises and controls the work of other supervisory, professional, or managerial employees, or manages an essential function within the organization or department or subdivision of the organization;

(c) has authority to hire and fire or recommend personnel actions (if other employees directly supervised), or if no direct supervision, functions at a senior level within the hierarchy of as to function managed; and

(d) exercise discretion over the day-to-day operations of the activity or function.

First-line supervisors are not considered managers unless the employee they supervise are professionals.

Executive capacity is an assignment in an organization in which the employee primarily:

(a) directs the management of the organization or a major component or function;

(b) establishes goals and policies;

(c) exercises wide latitude in discretionary decision-making; and

(d) receives only general supervision or direction from higher level executives, board of directors, or stockholders.

Specialized knowledge includes specialized knowledge of the company’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge of processes and procedures of the company.  It includes a type of specialized or advanced knowledge that is different from that generally found in a particular industry, but need not be proprietary or unique.
An employer which meets the following requirements may file a blanket petition seeking continuing approval of itself and some or all of its parent, branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates as qualifying organizations if:
(a) the employer has an office and has been doing business in the U.S. for one year;
(b) the employer has 3 or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates;
(c) employer and each of those entities is engaged in commercial trade or services;
(d) combined U.S. annual sales of $25 million, U.S. workforce of 1,000, or received approval of at least 10 L petitions in last 12 months;
(e) the employee must work abroad for a parent, affiliate, or subsidiary for 12 months;
(f) nonprofit organizations cannot file blanket petitions.

The petition is approved for 3 years. If it’s a new office, it’s approved for one year, and thereafter for 2-year increments.  There is a 7-year maximum for an L-1A visa and a 5-year maximum for an L-1B visa.  Spouses and children receive L-2 visas. A spouse with an L-2 visa is eligible for an employment authorization document.

For more information and help with your L visa application, call the professionals at Juras Law Firm, PLC in Scottsdale, AZ at 480-425-2009 and schedule a consultation with us today!