The L-1 category applies to aliens who work for a company with a parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate in the U.S. These workers come to the U.S. as intracompany transferees who are coming temporarily to perform services in a managerial or executive capacity (L-1A) for a parent, branch, subsidiary or affiliate of the same employer that employed the professional abroad. Compensation level is not prescribed, but U.S. income must be sufficient to prevent the alien from becoming a public charge.
L-1 is available only to applicant who:
- has been employed abroad continuously for one year during the last three years by a firm or corporation or other legal entity,
- in a managerial or executive capacity or a capacity that involves specialized knowledge, and
- seeks admission to the U.S. to be employed in one of such capacities by a qualifying organization that is a parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of the foreign employer.
Family of L-1A Visa
Holders Dependents (i.e. spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age) of L-1 workers are entitled to L-2 status with the same restrictions as the principal. Dependents may be students in the U.S. while remaining in L-2 status; spouses of L-1 visa holders may also apply for work authorization.
Term/Duration of L-1A Status
L-1A (managerial or executive transferee) is limited to 7 consecutive years (Initial L-1 visa may be issued for 1 year or 3 years, and it can be extended for additional term of 2 years until the total of 7 years is reached). Employee is ineligible for L status again until "has resided and been physically outside the United States, except for brief visits for business or pleasure, for the immediate prior year."
Dual intent concept is recognized by statute. Although L-1 is nonimmigrant and must comply with requirements of status, there is no presumption that she/he is a potential immigrant; she/he need not enter ''temporarily" or have a residence abroad which she/he has no intention of abandoning; and filing of preference petition or other indication of seeking permanent residence is not evidence of abandoning foreign residence for purposes of seeking or maintaining L status. This distinction from other nonimmigrant visas is very important for L-1 nonimmigrant while applying for certain immigration benefits.