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The L-1 visa enables international organizations with offices in both the U.S. and abroad to transfer certain employees under their employment to work in their U.S office and occupy suitable roles.
The L-1 visa is split into two categories based on the position that is to be occupied by the employee. The two types are the L-1A and L-1B.
L-1A Visa for Managers and Executives
As the name implies, this category is meant for employees who are executives or managers of a multinational company. It enables the company to transfer this employee to its affiliated U.S. office to serve in an executive or managerial role.
A company without an existing branch or location in the U.S but that is in the process of starting one may also be allowed under this L-1A category. As mentioned above, the company could send executives and managers to the U.S. under a one-year visa to start a new branch.
L-1B Visa for Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge Workers
The L-1B is for employees with specialized knowledge. U.S. companies can transfer certain professional employees from their affiliated foreign offices to work in their U.S. office.
The transferred employees need to have some particular skill set or insight crucial to the company’s management, which may not be readily available in the U.S.
The L-1 visa requirements and process is a procedure which must involve both the sponsor and the beneficiary. Both the L-1A and L-1B require the company to file the I-129 petition on behalf of the employee. Summarily, the employer is the sponsor, while the employee is the beneficiary.
Spouses and children under both L-1A and L-1B visas are also eligible to stay in the country. These visas can be valid for as much as 3 years and later maybe valid indefinitely.
Employers who frequently file petitions to transfer employees from their multinational offices to the U.S. might need to consider a Blanket L petition. A Blanket L petition is a means to simplify the process, so the employees can apply directly for their L-1 visas at consulates without having to go through the initial wait for USCIS approval.