US Business Visa Category L-1 (Intracompany Transferee Visa)
Suitable for entrepreneurs/companies transferring an executive or employee to the US
On This Page
- How do I become eligible for L-1 Intracompany Transferee Status?
- What qualifies as a managerial employee?
- What qualifies as an executive employee?
- Who qualifies as an employee with specialized knowledge
- Am I able to transfer a qualified employee to a US office that isn’t yet fully established?
- Are transferred employees able to bring their family as part of this visa?
- Can family study and/or work whilst in the US?
- How long will an L-1 visa be valid?
- What are the main benefits of L-1 visas?
- What are the main limitations of L-1 visas?
- Is there a direct route to a green card with an L-1 visa?
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about taxes, company formaition, and residency in the U.S.
- Get advice on taxation, company formation, and residency in the U.S.
To be eligible, the following criteria needs to be met:
- Continually employed in a full-time role for a whole year by a parent, affiliate, branch or subsidiary of the US-based company in question.
- Employed as a manager, executive or in a role that requires specialist knowledge.
- Will be employed in the US as a manager, executive or in a role requiring specific knowledge/experience. However, the roles both abroad and the US don’t have to be exactly the same – for example, an employee being transferred might have worked as a manager in an overseas office, but will be undertaking a managerial role once in the US.
The specific position the individual will take in the US determines which of the two L-1 sub-categories are most appropriate.
L1-A is designed for managers and executives, and L-1B for those with specialized knowledge or experience.
- Managing the entire organization or a department, function, subdivision or component of that organization
- Possessing the authority to hire and fire employees, or being able to recommend personnel action
- Controlling or supervising the work of other professional employees within that organization, or managing an important function
- Maintains constant discretion over daily operations they manage
- Directing the overall management of the entire organization, or a major component or function of that organization
- Initiating goals and policies for other employees within the organization
- Displaying discretion in all decision making, and needing limited supervision to carry out responsibilities
In short, specialized knowledge has been defined as ‘special knowledge possessed by an individual of the relevant organization’s service, product, equipment, techniques, research, management or other valid factors and its application in multiple markets, or a highly advanced level of expertise in the organization’s specific procedures and processes’.
Conditions of individuals granted with specialized knowledge include:
- Having knowledge that is considered valuable to the competitiveness of the organization
- Possessing knowledge that is typically only gained from previous experience with their original foreign employer
- Knowing certain information about a process or product that isn’t easily transferrable or taught to another individual within the organization
- Is considered qualified to contribute to the US employer’s existing knowledge of foreign operations as a result of their specialist knowledge not typically attained within their industry
- Has been shown to be involved in important projects or assignments proven to have boosted the organization’s productivity, competitiveness or financial position
For employers wishing to send an employee of theirs to the US – whether managerial or executive – to develop a new office, the following list must be submitted during the application process:
- The employee in question must have been in full-time employment for at least one year as a minimum requirement
- Legitimate premises that has already been secured for the new office to be based
- Proof that, within the first year of approval, the relevant office will have the means to support a managerial or executive position.
Before spouses are eligible to legally work, Employment Authorization will need to be attained.
With regard to an established office receiving a foreign employee, both L-1A and L1-B visas are typically approved for up to three years. Executives and managers with L-1A visas could be granted extensions up to a maximum of seven years, whereas those with L-1B status have a lower maximum extension of five years.
Both L-1 visa holders and spouses/children with L-2 visas will be approved for the same period of time. However, applicants must be aware of children who are likely to reach 21 years of age during this time period – they will only be eligible for L-2 status until their 21st birthday.
For more advice on children likely to turn 21 during this time, give us a call.
- No specific nationality requirement on the employee being transferred or the company itself
- No company size restrictions
- Provides a direct route to permanent US residency
- No minimum investment sum required
- No labor certification is needed
- Premium processing of 15 days is available
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Taxes, Company Formation, and Residency in the U.S.
If you already have a project that you want to implement in the U.S., you will most likely have already dealt with the intense framework conditions in the U.S. Online, you can find a wealth of information on almost every subject. Though all this information is available, it is common for one to reach a point of confusion. There are too many aspects to consider simultaneously and the starting position can be complex.
To solve this mental knot and pave your way to success, jump on a 1-hour telephone counseling session based on taxation, incorporation, and residency in the U.S. In this conversation, we will discuss specific technical issues such as tax, U.S. corporations or LLCs. Or we can discuss any strategic options you are considering.