L-1 Visa

An L-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa for managers, executives, and especially knowledgeable employees of international companies with offices in both the United States and abroad who want to work in the U.S. office.

Basic Criteria

To qualify for an L-1 Visa, a person (called “Beneficiary”) and his/her employer must meet certain criteria:

  1. Beneficiary must have been employed outside the U.S. by the foreign employer for at least one continuous year out of the past three years;
  2. Beneficiary must have been a manager, executive, or specialized knowledge worker for the foreign employer in that one continuous year:
    • Managers and executives are eligible for L-1A Visas
    • Persons with specialized knowledge are eligible for L-1B Visas.
  3. The U.S. company to must be a parent, branch, subsidiary, affiliate, or joint venture partner of the foreign employer; and
  4. The foreign employer must continue operations for the duration of the visa.

Length of Stay

L-1 Visas can initially range from three months (for employees from Iran) to five years (India, Japan, Germany), but are generally for three years. For L-1 Visas establishing a new office, it is issued for one year initially.

L-1A Visas can be extended for up to seven years. L-1B Visas can be extended for up to five years.


L-1 workers can apply for L-2 visas for their spouses and unmarried children under 21. Spouses with L-2 Visas may apply for work authorization and work without restriction if approved.

Green Card

The L-1 Visa is considered a “dual intent” Visa, which means L-1 Visa holders can subsequently apply for a Green Card without jeopardizing their L-1 status.

L-1 Visas are a great option for those who owns business abroad or working for a foreign company, but wants to transfer to the U.S. either temporarily or permanently. The L-1 Visa process, however, requires submitting a lot of detailed information to the USCIS and can be very complicated. A lot of applications are denied due to not submitting enough information. If you are planning on obtaining an L-1 Visa, it is best to contact the Los Angeles Immigration Center to discuss your case.

To schedule a consultation with a Los Angeles Immigration Attorney, please call (310) 933-4455 or fill out our online form with a brief description of your situation.