L-1A Visa: Intracompany Transferee
- You can be transferred to the U.S. and legally work for a U.S. company that is a branch, subsidiary, affiliate of joint venture partner of a company that already employs you outside of the U.S.
- L-1A visas are typically issued quickly.
- You may travel in and out of the U.S. until your L-1A visa expires.
- Visas are available for immediate relatives (spouse and/or unmarried children under 21 years of age).
- If you have an L-1A visa in the executive or managerial level, and want to apply for a green card through employment, you can do so and skip a substantial step of that process.
- You may only work for the U.S. employer who sponsored you, and the U.S. company must be a branch, subsidiary, affiliate, or joint venture of the company that currently employs you outside of the U.S.
- Initially, the visas are extended for either one year (for newly established U.S. companies) or three years (for established companies). Extensions are available at two years at a time, with a total of five years if you are an employee of specialized knowledge or a total of seven years if you are a manager or executive.
- Immediate family members may stay in the U.S. with you, but cannot work (unless they obtain work authorization independently of you).
You qualify for an L-1A visa if:
- You have been employed outside the U.S. as manager, executive, or employee with specialized knowledge for at least one of the past three years, and are being transferred to the U.S. to work in a similar position.
- The U.S. company you are transferring to must be a branch, subsidiary, affiliate, or joint venture partner of your non-U.S. employer.
- The non-U.S. company must remain in operation while you have the L-1A visa. There is no strict policy about the particular business structure that employs you. Many legal forms of doing business are acceptable, including (but not limited to): Corporations, Limited corporations, Partnerships, Joint ventures, Sole proprietorships.
To successfully obtain your L-1A visa, three requirements must be met:
- The U.S. company must be affiliated with the company abroad as a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate. This relationship is demonstrated in one of two ways: either one entity having control over the other, or if both entities are controlled by a third party.
- The visa applicant must be employed at the company abroad at a managerial, executive, or employee with specialized knowledge position for one of the previous three years before the visa application may be filed. Time spent in the U.S. on temporary assignment or as a trainee with the company does not count toward the one year of employment with the company abroad.
- The employee must be coming to work at the U.S. company either as an executive, manager, or employee with specialized knowledge.
Validity of an L-1A Visa
The validity of your L-1A visa status may range from a maximum of five to seven years, depending on your employment level: Executives/Managers:
- If coming to the U.S. to work at a new U.S. office, you will be admitted for one year initially, with the option to extend the stay for a maximum of seven years.
- If coming to the U.S. to work at an established company (in existence for more than one year), you may be admitted for a maximum of three years initially, with the option to extend the stay for a maximum of seven years. Employee with Specialized Knowledge
- If coming to the U.S. to work at a new U.S. office, you will be admitted for one year initially, with the option to extend the stay for a maximum of five years.
- If coming to the U.S. to work at an established company (in existence for more than one year), you may be admitted for a maximum of three years initially, with the option to extend the stay for a maximum of five years.