The L-1 visa allows employers to transfer executives, managers, and specialized knowledge employees from one of the organization’s foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. The transferred employee may also be coming to the US to establish a new office if the company does not yet have US operations. The corporate relationship can be a parent/subsidiary relationship (the US entity can either be the parent or the subsidiary), a branch office relationship, an affiliate relationship, or a joint venture.
Within the three years preceding the time of filing an L-1 petition, the applicant must have been employed abroad continuously for one year by a qualifying organization. Managers and Executives use the L-1A visa, and holders can be in L-1A status for up to 7 years. Specialized knowledge employees can use the L-1B visa for up to 5 years. Foreign nationals setting up a New Office in the US will initially only be given a 1-year L visa, and then have to apply for an extension demonstrating how the company is progressing with the business plan it submits. Larger, established companies may qualify for an L-1 Blanket which shows that the company satisfies the L-1 requirements and then streamlines the process for employees needing L visas with the company.
Spouse and children under the age of 21 can accompany an L-1 using the L-2 visa. L-2 Spouses may apply for work authorization once they arrive in the US.