The L-1 Nonimmigrant Visa – A conversation with Kunal Tewani of Tewani Law

What is an L-1 Visa?

It is a non-immigrant visa which means that it is a visa for those temporarily, from three months to five years with an extension up to seven years, working in the United States. The visa is granted to those employees of an international company, which has offices both in the United States as well as in other countries. The relationship between the employee and the company is an important one that is unique to the L-1 Nonimmigrant Visa.

What are the requirements?

  • The visa allows an individual to relocate to the United States office after having worked for at least one year continuously within the previous three years prior to the admission to the U.S. entry.
  • During this qualifying year of continuous work, the applicant must be a executive, a manager or a specialized knowledge worker.
  • The international office and the US office must be related in several ways: 1) be a parent and subsidiary; 2) branch and headquarters; 3) sister companies owned by a mutual parent; or 3) affiliates or branch office owned by the same company.

What is the definition of managers or executives?

In immigration law, the burden or standard of proof is on the worker to show that they must have generally supervise other professionals or managerial staff having control over day-to-day operations of a primary or significant function within a unit or a subdivision of the employer’s company.

What are the different types of L-1Visa?

L-1A for executives and managers and L-1B for workers with specialized knowledge as mentioned above.

L-1A status is valid up to 7 years (including extensions).

L-1B status is valid up to 5 years.

After the expiration, one can only work by repeating the cycle all over again.

There are two types of visas in the L-1 area. Regular and Blanket. Regular visas must be applied for and approved by the USCIS; and Blanket visas are available to employers that meet a specific criteria.

Regular L-1 visas are adjudicated by the USCIS from petition to petition. With a Blanket visa petition, USCIS has already determined the qualifications for the issues of the intracompany transferee visa so the applicant needs to file only a copy of the approved blanket petition. Speak to your team at Tewani Law to help you with this process.

Can my spouse work under a L-1 visa holder?

Spouses of L-1 visa holders are allowed to work in the United States under an L-2 visa. For more on a L-2 visa holder and the eligibility for the visa, look forward to our subsequent blog posts.

How difficult is it to transfer between various L-1 Visas?

The process can get confusing and difficult. One must file a petition to change status if one wants to change between the L1B and L1A or vice versa. The burden is again on the applicant to prove which one they qualify for. In changing the status for the benefits of a longer period of stay in the U.S. on either nonimmigrant visa, it is generally advised to file 6 months prior to the individual reaching the maximum period in the L1B status (if going from a L1B to a L1A). It is strongly recommended that you speak to your immigration attorney at Tewani Law on how to proceed.

What are the filing fees for L-1 Visa?

The filing fee is $325 and the fraud detection fee is $500. If filing for an L-1 extension, it is $325.

Who can help me with an L-1 Visa?

It is extremely important to hire an experienced and driven attorney with a team that can help you in all your L-1 visa matters. Tewani Law has developed an expertise in the area of L-1 and has helped countless clients before. Speak to the team at Tewani Law today. You can write to us at contact@tewanilaw.com or call us at 347-767-3020.

This blog post was written with the help of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.