L-1 visas may be used by individuals who are transferred from an employer abroad to a U.S. affiliate. The two entities must have a “qualifying relationship” and must be “doing business” abroad and in the United States. The individual L-1 beneficiary must have been employed for a full year by the foreign entity within the three year period that precedes the filing of the L-1 petition.
There are two types of L-1 visas: the L-1A visa for managers and executives of the foreign entity, and the L-1B visa for individuals who have specialized knowledge of the organization’s operations, products, services, and/or procedures, etc. The specific qualifications for each category may be found at 8 CFR § 214.2(l)(1)(ii).
Generally, L-1 beneficiaries will be granted an initial validity period of three years at most (L-1 beneficiaries who are being transferred to the U.S. to establish a new office will only receive one year). USCIS may grant extensions of status for up to seven years for L-1B or five years for L-1B.
Family members (spouses and children under 21) may apply for visas as derivative beneficiaries. In addition, spouses are permitted to seek employment authorization. Lastly, L-1 beneficiaries may seek adjustment of status from within the United States.