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The L-1 visa allows multinational companies with locations both in the United States and abroad to transfer an existing foreign national employee from a location outside the U.S. to join their U.S. operations on a temporary basis. Foreign national employees who have worked for the foreign parent, subsidiary, affiliate, or branch office of a U.S. company or organization in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity for at least one continuous year out of the previous three and who are being transferred to the U.S. company or organization to fill a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge role are eligible for an L-1 visa.
Two types of employees may be eligible for the L-1 Visa:• Managers and Executives who hold a supervisory role within the company may apply for an L-1A visa; and • Employees with specialized knowledge of the company’s products, services, research, systems, management, operations, or procedures which is not widely held or available in the United States may be eligible for the L-1B Visa. Employers may petition for foreign national employees through the regular L-1 Visa procedure, submitting a petition to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for each individual employee, or by filing a Blanket L-1 Visa petition which allows the employer to apply for the L-1 Visa on behalf of multiple employees under a single petition and which allows employers to bypass the USCIS process and send employees directly to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to apply. Generally, blanket petitions are only available for larger corporations as certain criteria with regards to number of locations, previous L-1 petitions, number of employees, revenue, etc. must be met. Once the Blanket L-1 is approved, employers have greater flexibility in transferring employees to the United States. Our immigration attorneys can assist you in determining if your business qualifies for the regular or blanket L-1 Visa petition.