L-1 : Intracompany Transferees
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 either
- in a managerial or executive capacity (L-1A) or
- which entail specialized knowledge (L-1B)
for a parent, branch, subsidiary or affiliate of the same employer that employed the professional abroad.
Note: The employer is not required to obtain a labor certification prior to petitioning in this category. 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:
(1) has been employed abroad continuously for one year during the last three years,
(2) by a firm or corporation or other legal entity,
(3) in a managerial or executive capacity or a capacity that involves specialized knowledge, and
(4) 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.
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, however, dependents may not be employed under the L-2 classification.
Petition Document Requirements
A U.S. employer or foreign employer may file the I-129 petition, but a foreign employer must have a legal business in the U.S. The petition must be filed with:
- Evidence of the qualifying relationship between the U.S. and the foreign employer which address ownership and control, such as an annual report, copies of articles of incorporation, financial statements, or stock certificates;
- A letter from the alien's foreign qualifying employer detailing his or her dates of employment, job duties, qualifications and salary and demonstrating that the alien worked for the employer abroad for at least one continuous year within the three-year period before the filing of the petition in an executive or managerial capacity or in a position involving specialized knowledge; and
- A detailed description of the proposed job duties and qualifications and evidence the proposed employment is in an executive or managerial capacity or in a position involving specialized knowledge.
If the alien is coming to the U.S. as a manager or executive (L-1A) to open or to be employed in a new office, also file the petition with evidence that:
- Sufficient premises to house the new office have been secured;
- The beneficiary has, or upon establishment will have, the qualifying relationship to the foreign employer and the qualifying position; and
- The intended U.S. operation will be able to support the executive or managerial position within one year of the approval of the petition. This must be supported by information regarding:
- the proposed nature of the U.S. office (size and scope, organizational structure, and financial goals),
- financial information about the foreign entity (the size of the U.S. investment and the financial ability to remunerate the beneficiary and to commence doing business in the U.S.), and
- the organizational structure of the foreign entity.
If the alien is coming to the U.S. in a specialized knowledge capacity (L-1B) to open or to be employed in a new office, also file the petition with evidence that:
- Sufficient premises to house the new office have been secured;
- The business entity in the U.S is or will be a qualifying organization
- The petitioner has the financial ability to compensate the alien beneficiary and to begin doing business in the U.S.
Extending an Individual L-1 Petition
A petitioner may apply for an extension of an individual L-1 petition using Form I-129. Supporting documentation is not required, except in those cases involving new offices or when requested. For details, please refer to 8CFR 214.2(l)(14)(i).
Blanket L Petition
A simplified procedure is available for commercial organizations with at least three entities abroad and in the United States, having an office in the U.S. that has done business for at least a year, and who meet certain threshold requirements. It involves a petition to INS establishing the relationship of the qualified entities. Applicants then apply directly to the consulate, showing the blanket approval and their personal qualifications. The procedure is available only to bring managers and executives, and specialized knowledge personnel who are also members of the professions. Note that personnel under blanket petition need only have worked in the qualifying capacity for six months during the prior three years. The blanket L petition must be filed by a U.S. employer who will be the single representative between INS and the qualifying organizations and must be filed with copies of evidence that the:
- Petitioner and its branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates are engaged in commercial trade or services;
- Petitioner has an office in the United States that has been doing business for one year or more;
- Petitioner has 3 or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates;
- Petitioner and its qualifying organizations have obtained approved petitions for at least ten L-1 professionals during the previous year or have U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of at least 25 million dollars, or have a U.S. work force of at least 1,000 employees.
After approval of a blanket petition, the petitioner may file for individual employees to enter as L-1 professionals under the blanket petition. If the alien is outside the U.S., submit a completed Form I-129S and a copy of the Form I-797 (INS approval notice). If the alien is already in the U.S., the petitioner may file an I-129 to request a change of status, based on this blanket petition. An I-129 petition for a change of status must be filed with:
o A copy of the approval notice for the blanket petition;
- A letter from the alien's foreign employer detailing the alien’s dates of employment, job duties, qualifications and salary for the 3 previous years; and
- If the alien is a specialized knowledge professional, a copy of a U.S. degree, a foreign degree equivalent to a U.S. degree, or evidence establishing the combination of the beneficiary's education and experience is the equivalent of a U.S. degree.
Extending a Blanket L Petition
A petitioner may file an I-129 to extend an expiring blanket petition. The extension petition must be filed with:
- A copy of the previous approval notice for the blanket petition; and
- A summary of the employment of L-1 aliens admitted under the blanket petition during the preceding three years, listing, for each alien:
- His or her name;
- Position(s) held during the period;
- Employing entity;
- Date of initial L-1 admission under the blanket;
- Date of final departure, if the alien has been transferred outside the United States, and;
- Documentation of any changes in approved relationships and additional qualifying relationships.
L-1A (managerial or executive transferee) is limited to seven consecutive years, the L-1B to five consecutive years. Employee 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, no presumption that she is immigrant; need not enter ''temporarily" or have a residence abroad which she 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.