Employees who have worked for a particular company abroad for at least one full year may be eligible for an L-1 (Intracompany Transferee) visa. Intracompany Transferees include managerial and executive employees (L-1A) and employees with "specialized knowledge" of the company's processes and procedures (L-1B).
- Eligibility requirements for an L-1 Visa
The employee must have worked abroad for at least one year in the last three years in either a "specialized knowledge" capacity or as a manager or executive. There is one exception: a transfer under a pre-approved "blanket L petition" requires the employee to have worked in the foreign company for only six months. A U.S. company must be requesting that the employee be transferred to the U.S. to assume a specialized knowledge or managerial or executive position.
- What is "specialized knowledge"?
"Specialized knowledge" is knowledge of the employer's products, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization's processes and procedures.
- What steps are involved in the processing of an L-1 application?
The employer must file an L-1 petition with the appropriate USCIS regional service center. A beneficiary from Canada can apply for the L-1 at the border and does not have to wait on the regional service center.
- How long will it take to go through the L visa process?
Processing times for the L-1 process will vary depending on the employee's qualifications and government backlogs at the relevant U.S. consular post and the USCIS. On average, processing time of an L visa application at a consular post is 3-5 business days, processing time at the USCIS is usually four to eight weeks.
- Extension of L-1 visa status
Extensions of L status should be filed during the six-month period prior to expiration of current stay. Extensions are generally granted in two-year increments, up to a maximum of five years for specialized knowledge employees (L-1B) and seven years for managers and executives (L-1A). This time is cumulative of all U.S. stay in H or L status for any employer. If the extension application is filed prior to expiration of the current authorized stay, you automatically have continued work authorization for up to 240 days while the application is pending. There may be restrictions on international travel, however, while the extension application is pending. Consequently, it is recommended that the extension be filed approximately five months prior to expiration of current stay for those individuals with international travel plans.
You should contact HR or Kuck Casablanca LLC approximately six months prior to expiration of your current L visa status to ensure sufficient time remains to process an extension.