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L-1 Category

The L-1 Category is a nonimmigrant status that allows companies with international offices to transfer employees to the United States for a temporary period of work authorized status. The L-1 category is broken down into 2 distinct statuses, the L-1A and L-1B Category:

I. L-1A

Description:

Intracompany Transferees—Managers & Executives

A foreign national can temporarily enter the U.S. in order to continue to render services to the same employer, subsidiary, or affiliate thereof in a managerial or executive capacity.

Family Members—Dependent spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may accompany the L-1 employee to the U.S. in L-2 status. (The L-2 spouse is eligible to apply for Employment Authorization following admission into the U.S. in L-2 status or their change of status to the L-2 category).

Eligibility:
      1. Employed abroad for 1 year out of last 3 by a parent, branch, affiliate or subsidiary of U.S. Company.
      2. Employment abroad was in a Managerial, Executive or Specialized Knowledge Capacity. (See Definitions, below).
      3. Employee will work in U.S. in a Managerial or Executive Capacity.
Duration of Stay:

Initial Admission: Up to 3 Years.

Subsequent Extensions of Stay are available for a maximum period of 7 years.

After 7 years have passed, the L-1A employee must remain out of the U.S. for one year before becoming eligible for the L-1 or H-1B category.

Green Card Implications:

Generally, the L-1A nonimmigrant will qualify for an EB1 Green Card Petition. EB1 petitions do not require a PERM Labor Certification Application.

II. L-1B

Description:

Intracompany Transferee – Specialized Knowledge

A foreign national can temporarily enter the U.S. in order to continue to render services to the same employer, subsidiary or affiliate thereof, in a position that involves specialized knowledge (i.e., knowledge of the company’s product and application in international markets or an advanced level of knowledge of the processes and procedures of the company).

Family Members—Dependent spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may accompany the L-1 employee to the U.S. in L-2 status. (The L-2 spouse is eligible to apply for Employment Authorization following admission into the U.S. in L-2 status or change of status to the L-2 category).

Eligibility:
      1. Employed abroad for 1 year out of last 3 by a parent, branch, affiliate or subsidiary of U.S. Company.
      2. Employment abroad was in a Managerial, Executive or Specialized Knowledge Capacity.
      3. Employee will work in U.S. in a Capacity that requires Specialized Knowledge.
Duration of Stay:

Initial Admission: Up to 3 Years.

Subsequent Extensions of Stay are available for a maximum period of 5 years.

After 5 years have passed, the L-1B must remain out of the U.S. for one year before becoming eligible for the L-1 or H-1B category.

Green Card Implications:

Generally, the L-1B nonimmigrant will qualify for an EB2 (Professional with Advanced Degree) or EB3 (Professionals with a Bachelor’s degree or Skilled Worker) Green Card Process. EB2 and EB3 petitions require a PERM Labor Certification Application.

III. Blanket Approval Notice:

A Blanket L-1 Approval Notice generally allows the transfer of foreign personnel who otherwise qualify for the L-1A or L-1B categories without an initial petition to the USCIS. Use of the Blanket Approval can decrease processing times. With the Blanket L-1 Approval, the foreign national makes their application directly at the U.S. Consulate outside of the U.S. A Blanket L-1 Approval Notice can list all qualifying organizations outside and inside the U.S., making the transfer of personnel more efficient.

The major benefit of the Blanket Approval is a lower per application cost, as well as faster processing. The following table demonstrates the same:

Blanket Petition

Non Blanket Petitions

Processing Times
  1. Application Made Directly at US Consulate— Wait is based on how long it takes to get an appointment which varies by Consulate
  1. Application made at the USCIS Service Center. Regular Processing Times 30 to 60 days. If Premium Processing is requested, Petition will be adjudicated within 15 days of filing.
  1. Applicant enters the US with their visa
  1. Once Approval is received, applicant must make an appointment at US Consulate for a visa interview. The wait is based on how long it takes to get an appointment which varies by Consulate.
  1. Applicant enters the US with their visa
USCIS Filing Fee Costs -0- $320.00
Fraud Detection Fee $500.00 $500.00
MR Visa Application Fee at US Consulate $100 $100
Reciprocity Fee Varies by country Varies by country
USCIS Premium Processing Fee -0- $1,000
TOTAL $600 $920 (Regular Processing)$1,920 (Premium Processing—15 day adjudication)

 IV. Definitions:

    1. “Managerial capacity” as defined by 8 C.F.R. §214.2(l)(1)(ii)(B) is an assignment in the organization in which the employee primarily:
      1. manages the organization, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the organization;
      2. supervises and controls the work of other supervisory, professional, or managerial employees, or manages an essential function within the organization, or a department or subdivision of the organization;
      3. has authority to hire and fire or recommend those as well as other personnel actions (such as promotions and leave authorization), or, if no other employee is directly supervised, functions at a senior level within the organization hierarchy or with respect to the function managed; and
      4. exercises direction over the day-to-day operations of the activity or function for which the employee has authority.
    2. “Executive capacity” as defined by 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(l)(1)(ii)(C) is an assignment in the organization in which the employee primarily:
      1. directs the management of the organization or major component or function of the organization;
      2. establishes the goals and policies of the organization, component or function;
      3. exercises wide latitude in discretionary decision making; and
      4. receives only general supervision or direction from higher level executives, the board of directors, or stockholders of the organization.
    3. “Specialized Knowledge Employee” as defined by 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(l)(1)(ii)(D) is defined as an employee who has specialized knowledge of the company, product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management or other interests and the application in the international marketplace or who has an advanced level of knowledge of the processes and procedures of the company. Must describe and distinguish that knowledge from elementary or basic knowledge possessed by others in the profession.