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All About L1 Visa in the US

Nobody really talks about L1 visas in the US. But that will change today. Because in today’s guide I’m going to share, “Everything you need to know about the L1 Visa in the US”. From eligibility to processing time, difference between L1a and L1B and even the process to get a green card on L1 visa.

So, let’s get started with the basics.

A woman sitting down and contemplating about something with text written by her side: All About L1 VIsa in the US
All About L1 Visa in the US

What is the L1 Visa?

The L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows multinational companies to transfer certain employees from their foreign offices to work in the United States temporarily.

It is a popular choice for companies that need to move key personnel to the US to:

  • manage operations

  • oversee projects, and

  • share specialized knowledge.

This allows the company to maintain its global presence while also benefiting from the skills and experience of its employees.

I’ll explain with my example:

I used to work for Google in India as a manager and when Google wanted to send me to the US they sent me on the L1 visa. Which means that my L1 visa is attached to the company that I’m working for. Remember this because I’ll refer to this later.

Now, moving on. Let’s understand the different types of L1 visa.

Types of L1 Visas

The L-1 visa is divided into two subcategories:

L-1A Visa:

This category is for managers and executives who are being transferred to a U.S. office that is a subsidiary, branch, affiliate, or parent company of the foreign employer.

L-1B Visa:

This category is for employees with specialized knowledge who are being transferred to a U.S. office of the same multinational company. Specialized knowledge typically refers to advanced knowledge or expertise in the company’s products, processes, technology, or other areas.

Now, there obviously are intricacies involved in what’s defined as specialized knowledge etc. But this guide is not for that. You can comment below on the guide and we’ll happily share more information.

Moving on.

L-1 Visa Requirements:

To get an L1 Visa, there are certain eligibilities that the employer needs to show and then there are some that the employee or the person receiving the visa needs to show. Let’s discuss first for the employer.

L1 Visa Requirements for the employer:

  • To qualify for an L-1 visa, the multinational company must have a qualifying relationship with the U.S. company where the L-1 employee will work. The multinational company must also be doing business in the United States and at least one other country for as long as the L-1 beneficiary’s stay in the U.S.

L1 Visa Requirements for the employee

  • The person must have worked for the multinational company for a minimum period of one continuous year within the last three years prior to their transfer to the United States.

  • The L-1 visa applicant must have worked for the foreign company in an executive or managerial position, or in a specialized knowledge capacity and must be entering the U.S. to perform in a similar role.

  • L-1 visa applicants must signify their intention to return to their home country at the expiration of their L-1 status.

  • L-1 visa holders must only work for the U.S. company through which the visa was granted for as long as their L-1 status remains valid.

  • There are other requirements for the L-1 visa, but they’re pretty much dependent on the type of L-1 visa the foreign company is petitioning.

Requirements for Establishing a new office in the U.S.

To petition for an L-1 visa, multinational companies must provide:

  • proof of a physical space in the U.S. and

  • demonstrate financial ability to pay the L-1 foreign worker's wages.

L-1 Visa Duration

The maximum duration for an L1a visa is 7 years. And the maximum duration for an L1B visa is 5 years.

L-1A visa holders can apply for visa extensions twice to reach seven years.

While L-1B visa holders can apply only once to reach their max of five years.

Organizations petitioning for an L-1 visa for the purpose of establishing a new office in the U.S. will usually be granted the visa for an initial one year and can extend it in two-year terms provided they meet the extension requirements.

L-1 Visa Application Process

There are two ways to obtain an L-1 visa --the regular procedure and the blanket petition. We’ll discuss the blanket position in a bit.

There are three major steps in the regular process:

Filing Form DS-160, Non-immigrant Visa Application Company Filing Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker: In this, the company submits the L-1 petition at a USCIS service center. The company must file the petition at least 45 days before the expected start date of the L-1 beneficiary. Next, the USCIS will evaluate both forms and assess whether the petitioning company meets its requirements for the L-1 visa.

Consular Processing The company sends the approved forms to the L-1 applicant who will then take them along with their application documents to the U.S. consulate or embassy in the home country. The consular officer there will conduct an interview and decide on whether the applicant meets the full requirements for an L-1 visa.

In some cases, there might be a request for evidence (RFE) or other documents before the visa application is processed. But once the consulate approves the applicant, the USCIS will issue the visa.

Required Documents for L-1 Visa Petition

Once the petition has been approved by USCIS, your employer will be given a notice of approval on form I-797. You will then need to submit your online visa application with the Department of State using Form DS-160.

You will also be required to schedule an interview at your local U.S. Embassy where you will need to attend with various documents, including the following:

  • The visa interview appointment letter

  • The DS-160 visa application confirmation page

  • Copy of Form DS-160 and L supplement

  • The DS-160 visa application fee receipt

  • A valid passport with at least six months left prior to its expiry

  • Any old passports held by you

  • Your most recent resume or CV

  • Two recent colour photographs of your face

  • A copy of the I-129 petition submitted to USCIS

  • The I-797 approval notice from USCIS

  • A letter from your employer to the consulate requesting an L1 visa

  • Education certificates

  • Payment statements

  • Income tax records

  • Job description

  • Organizational charts that shows your place in the organization

  • Letter of reference from supervisors, colleagues, and others

  • Employment verification letter from the foreign company

  • Board resolution or appointment documents verifying the transfer

  • Any other documents showing transferee’s capability to conduct business in the executive position

  • If you possess specialized knowledge, provide patent and trademark registrations by you for your organization

You will also be required to provide detailed documentation in support of your eligibility for an L1 visa, including but not limited to evidence of your previous and proposed role within the overseas and US company respectively.

In the event that you fail to attend with the necessary documentation you risk your application for an L1 visa being delayed, or even denied.

L1 Visa Application through blanket petitions

An L-1 blanket visa petition is a way for qualified foreign companies to transfer several employees to the U.S. at once under a single petition. The application process is simpler than for a regular L-1 visa, but your visa still needs to be approved by a consular officer. In India, blanket petition visa interviews happen only in the Chennai consulate.

Just FYI: My blanket petition was rejected during the interview and then Google filed for an L1a individual for me.

L-1 Visa Cost

The costs for the L-1 visa can vary depending on several factors. The general costs are:

  • $460 to file Form I-129 with USCIS

  • An additional $500 anti-fraud fee may be required

  • An additional $2,500 fee for premium processing

These costs are always paid by the company sponsoring the visa.

What are the Benefits of the L1 Visa

1. Relatively few eligibility requirements

The L-1 visa only requires you to be a manager/executive or specialized knowledge worker in a multinational company in order to qualify.

Yes, this can be a stringent requirement but compared to eligibility criterias for O1 visa, and the lottery and at least a bachelor’s degree for H1B, this is still much better.

2. No quota limit

L-1 visas are easier to obtain than H-1B visas because there is no quota limit for L-1 visas and they can be filed any time of the year, while H-1B visas have an annual quota limit and can only be filed on the first business day of April each year.

3. Immediate family members can transfer to the U.S. too

L-1 visa holders may bring their legal spouse and young unmarried children below 21 years old along with them to the U.S. The USCIS classifies them as dependents and issues them the L-2 dependents visa. What makes the L-2 visa even more appealing is that spouses are eligible to work based only on their status. They don’t even have to apply for a work permit anymore.

4. Dual intent

The L-1 visa is a dual intent visa, meaning L1 Visa holders may file for their Green Card without violating their L-1 status.

5. No minimum educational requirements

L-1 visa applicants are not required to have a minimum educational qualification in order to be eligible. This is unlike the H-1B visa which requires applicants to have at least a Bachelor’s degree before they can apply. Of course, it is unlikely that a manager or executive or even a specialized knowledge professional will not have some form of formal education, but at least the educational qualification is not listed as a condition.

Limitations of the L-1 Visa

Candidates must already be employed. And not just any kind of employment, but must be an executive, manager or specialized knowledge worker for at least one continuous year. Plus the company they work for must be large enough to have a qualifying organization in the U.S.

Fixed maximum stay period. Once the L-1 visa holder has reached their maximum allowed duration of stay, there can be no more extensions and they must either switch to a different visa that allows them to stay longer or file for a permanent residency. If not, then they must depart the U.S. and have their employer apply for a new L-1 visa. This is unlike the H1B visa where once you get your i140 you can keep extending your h1b visa till you are eligible to apply for your green card.

Limited types of eligible companies. The L-1 visa is only available to multinational companies that have a branch, parent, subsidiary or affiliate in the U.S. Additionally, other work visas, like the H-1B allow you to be employed with any U.S. employer, but the L-1 visa restricts you to only the company that sponsored your visa.

You can’t change your job. Remember I told you to remember that an L1 visa holder’s visa is attached to the company they’re working for? It is because of this. Unlike those on h1b visas who can transfer their H1B visa to another company, L1 visa holders cannot do that while staying in the US. Which means, if they are laid off, they need to find a job in the same company or a subsidiary of the parent company.

We’ve created a detailed video on H1B vs L1 Visa where we’ve discussed the similarities and differences between these visas. Linking it below.

L-1A Visa to Green Card

L-1A visa holders can apply for a green card through the EB-1C immigrant visa program. This program is designed for managers and executives of qualifying U.S. organizations. The process is relatively simple and does not require the complex PERM labor certification process. To apply, the U.S. employer must file an I-140 petition with USCIS. Once approved, the candidate can file for an adjustment of status to permanent resident through I-485 form if their priority date is current.

The process can take around eight months to a year to complete.

L-1B Visa to Green Card

The most ideal green cards available to L-1B visa holders are the EB-2 and EB-3 visas. The application process is long and can take up to two years, with the PERM Labor Certification being the main limiting factor. And once the PERM is approved, the company files for your i140 and once that is approved you can file for adjustment of status to get a green card. However, since the L1B visa is only for 5 years and there’s no chance that as an Indian your priority date will be current in that time, the best option for you would be to move to another visa. Either an H1B or an L1.

That’s it guys.

This was literally everything you need to know about the L1 Visa in the US.

I hope you guys found this guide helpful. And if you did, please hit the like button below. We do a lot of hard work to get this content to you in a simplified manner. ChatGPT doesn’t share scripts in this language. It’s all us.

What topic should we cover next? Let us know in the comments.

Until then, It’s Ok Yaar

3 commentaires


You should talk about retrogression of perm processing for eb1c


Pawann Edits
Pawann Edits
05 janv.


I really need to contact you.

I have to tell you something as you just uploaded a new video on H1B VISA .



after that the decision will be in your hands. Just a few minutes 🙏🏻🙏🏻

Pawann Edits
Pawann Edits
05 janv.
En réponse à

You can contact me on Instagram and we can connect on a call as well, so that i could explain you every single thing 🙏🏻

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