L1 Visas

US L1 Visa

The USA L1 visa immigration service functions in a similar manner to a UK work permit application for an Intra Company Transfer (ICT) in that it allows a UK-based company to transfer a specific worker to a branch office in the United States, granting US visas to these employees.

An L1 work visa USA can also be utilised where an employee of a foreign company is migrating to the United States in order to set up a new office, branch or subsidiary in America.

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In these circumstances, US visas with an initial duration of one year will be approved, after which time the enterprise must be seen to be functioning effectively in order for the visa to be extended.

Like UK work permits, the US L1 visa application process is an employer-led system with American companies petitioning for the recruitment of foreign nationals where necessary. Like all US business visa services, the L1 requires a guaranteed position of employment to be presented.

US immigration requires in almost all cases, that a guaranteed job offer is in place.

To apply for a US visa, visit our online assessment area now to get started. Simply complete the L1 assessment form and a Global Visas migration consultant will contact you.

Benefits

Like a US H1B visa application for skilled immigration to the USA, applying for an American L1 visa is generally a much quicker process than making an application for lawful permanent residence in the USA, or as it is more commonly known A USA Green Card application. As a result, USA visas of this class, along with H1-B visas, tend to be more popular with employers wishing to bring foreign nationals into the country to fill specific roles.

As with H visas, L1 visas for the USA are not regarded as a route to permanently settled status in the USA in themselves. However, like an H1-B visa, which is not intrinsically a route to permanent residency but allows a candidate to initiate the process of applying for a US Green card whilst in the country, an L1 USA work visa may enable a candidate to work towards obtaining Permanent Residency in the United States.

In the USA, immigration through this route is specific to the sponsoring company, and candidates will not be permitted to work for any other company or organisation unless a fresh L1 application is submitted.

Duration

American L1 visas for business immigration to the USA are initially granted for a period of three years. Beyond this, if the candidate is still required in this position, the grant of leave may be extended in increments of two years up to a maximum of seven years.

However, once the maximum period for US L1 visas has expired, an applicant will not be able to re-enter the country on an L or H visa or until they have spent a minimum period of one year outside the country.

Eligibility Criteria

Candidates migrating to the US through US L1 visas may enter the country in one of the several streams.

L1A Managerial/Executive Capacity Visa

L1A visas are designed for those being brought to the United States to engage in a senior-level managerial or executive role. In America, immigration candidates in this stream must be entering a role with supervisory responsibility for professional staff and must be responsible for a key department, division or function of the US company.

Applications in this stream will need to be accompanied by a detailed outline of the function and duties of the position. In the US, visas of this kind are granted for an initial period of three years with the opportunity for a US visa extension in two-year increments up to a maximum of seven years.

L1B Specialized Knowledge Visa

L1B visas are intended for those coming to live and work in the US who have specialised knowledge and experience of a company's products, services, systems or procedures. In this stream, leave is initially granted for a period of three years which may, if necessary be extended to five years.

In either stream, candidates must have been employed by the sponsoring company, in a branch outside the United States for a minimum of one of the three years directly preceding the application. Candidates must have been employed in either an executive or a managerial role or in a position requiring specialist knowledge.

L1 New Office Visa

The L1 New Office visas are designed for when a new parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate office is opened in the US and wishes to employ a manager or executive but does not have proof of extensive business activity in the US. A “new office” is defined as “an organisation which has been doing business in the US for less than one year.” 

To obtain an L1 visa based upon opening a new office, the company must show that it has sufficient physical premises for the office (such as securing a lease); the intending foreign beneficiary meets the one-year physical presence requirement, and the intended US operation will support an executive or managerial position.

L1 Blanket Visa

This visa is designed for companies who have a high volume of intra-company employees that need to transfer from one parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate office to another. 

The significant benefit of obtaining a Blanket L1 visa is that the employee can apply for his/her L1 visa directly at the embassy or consulate in their home country rather than have the application processed by USCIS.  Not only does this result in significant time savings, but also financial savings for the company. 

To qualify for a L1 Blanket visa, the company must have an office that has been doing business in the US for more than one year; has 3 or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates; and have combined US annual sales of $25 million, US workforce of 1,000, or received approval of at least 10 L petitions in the last 12 months.

Dependent Immigration and Spouse Immigration

Whilst an L visa for US immigration is not directly intended as a route to permanent settlement in the USA, the potential is in place for it to lead to a Green Card visa application.  In addition, where candidates do not progress to permanent immigration to the USA, a fully extended non-immigrant visa of this kind will still entail living and be working in the USA for a number of years.

As a result, American visas of this class allow the spouse and dependents of candidates on an L visa application to enter the United States in order to join the main applicant in the country. In these circumstances, spouses and dependents will be issued L2 Visas.

A spouse in possession of an L2 visa, (though not dependent children) may later apply for a general work authorization, enabling them to seek and undertake employment in the country. Though dependent children on an L2 United States visa are not permitted to work, they may undertake a course of study in the USA.

Immigration USA

The L1 visa is just one pathway to living and working in the USA. There are also several pathways to permanent residency in the US. Visit the Immigration USA page to find out more.

US Work Visa

Find out the full range of employment-based visas available for the USA by visiting the US Work Visa page.

US Business Visa

A US Business Visa is yet another pathway to living and working in the country, available to entrepreneurs and investors.

Green Card through Investment

Offering the greatest advantages for businesspeople is the Green Card through Investment, allowing eligible candidates to permanently live in the US.

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