There are many different types of visas that allow foreign nationals to live and work in the United States for a limited amount of time. The United States L-1 visa allows companies that operate abroad and in the United States to move workers from foreign operations to the U.S. for up to seven years. Whether or not a worker is granted a visa will often depend on the position and qualifications of the applicant.
The two types of employees who may qualify for an L-1 visa include managers, executives, and specialized knowledge staff:
- Managers and executives: During the application process, the executive or manager will have to include a detailed description of their duties. They will have to show that they have supervisory responsibility for professional staff. It is common for managers to receive a three-year L-1A visa that can be increased in two-year increments.
- Specialized knowledge staff: L-1B visas are made available for workers with specific knowledge of a company’s products and services. Workers may need to prove that they have experience working with the company's operating systems, proprietary techniques and procedures.
The L-1 visa is ideal for small and start-up overseas companies that wish to expand their businesses into the United States. The applications from lesser-known companies, however, are highly scrutinized by officials. This is why smaller companies wishing to move workers to the United States should seek legal guidance throughout the application process.
L-1 visas are also great for large, multi-national companies that wish to move around employees with specialized skills and knowledge. Many of the most successful companies benefit from rotating executives and skilled employees to various offices to ensure uniformity of service.
Not all L-1 visa applications are approved and there are limited numbers of visas made available each year. It is important for all companies and workers interested in the L-1 visa program to seek the counsel of an experienced Los Angeles immigration attorney when filling out the forms, preparing for the official interview and when applying for a visa.