L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager


The L-1A visa classification allows a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices (a qualifying organization abroad) to its offices in the United States. It also allows foreign companies without U.S. counterparts to send an executive or manager to establish an office in the United States.

Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may seek admission under the L-2 nonimmigrant classification. L-2 spouses (not children) may also apply for work authorization which is not limited to the sponsoring L-1A company.

Eligibility Criteria

To be classified as an L-1A employer, the employer must:

  • Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent, branch, subsidiary, affiliate)
  • Currently doing or will be doing business in the United States and at least one other country via the qualifying organization for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the U.S. as an L-1A holder. While the business must be viable, there is no requirement that it be engaged in international trade.

To be classified as an L-1A employee, the employee must:

  • Have been working for the qualifying organization abroad for at least one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding admission to the United States; and
  • Seek to enter the U.S. in a managerial or executive capacity for a branch of the same employer abroad or its qualifying affiliated organization

To be classified as an L-1A executive or managerial employee establishing a new office, the employer must also show that:

  • Employer has secured sufficient physical premises to house the new office;
  • Employee has been employed as an executive or manager for at least one continuous year in the three years preceding the filing of the petition; and
  • The intended U.S. office will support an executive or managerial position within one year of the Petition’s approval.

Executive capacity generally refers to the employee’s ability to make decisions of wide latitude without much oversight.

Managerial capacity generally refers to the ability of the employee to supervise and control the work of professional employees and to manage the organization, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the organization.  It may also refer to the employee’s ability to manage an essential function of the organization at a high level, without direct supervision of others. See section 101(a)(44) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, and 8 CFR 214.2(l)(1)(ii) for complete definitions.

Length of Stay

The maximum initial stay on an L-1 visa is three years, except for those establishing a new office, who are granted one year. Extensions may be requested but cannot exceed a period up to seven years. In certain circumstances, individuals can extend their L-1A status beyond seven years by recapturing time spent abroad while on their L-1 visa.

What We Do

  • Prepare a thorough L-1A application with evidence required
  • Review applications to identify potential concerns that may affect the outcome of the application
  • Provide guidance in maintaining the L-1A status
  • Provide assistance to L-1A holders within the United States that wish to extend their visa, apply for a Change of Status or file for EB-1 then Adjust Status

Additional Details

Certain organizations may establish the required intracompany relationships in advance of filing individual L-1 petitions. This is known as a blanket petition. This petition provides the employer with the flexibility to transfer eligible employees on short notice without having to file individual petitions to USCIS, though L-1A classification is not guaranteed despite the approval of a blanket L Petition.

Eligibility for blanket L certification may be established if:

  • The petitioner and each of the qualifying organizations are engaged in commercial trade or services;
  • The petitioner has an office in the United States which has been doing business for one year or more;
  • The petitioner has three or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates; and
  • The petitioner along with the other qualifying organizations meet one of the following criteria:
    • Have obtained at least 10 L-1 approvals during the previous 12-month period;  
    • Have U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of at least $25 million; or
    • Have a U.S. work force of at least 1,000 employees.

Canadians with approved blanket petitions seeking to enter the United States as L-1A employees of qualifying organizations may be eligible to apply for admission in L-1A status at certain Ports of Entry under NAFTA.

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