Intra-Company Transferees L-1

For Executives, Managers or Persons with Specialized Knowledge Who Transfer to a U.S. Branch, Affiliate or Subsidiary of a Foreign Company

    1. Eligibility Requirements
    2. Definition of Executive, Manager or Persons with Specialized Knowledge
    3. Duration of L Visa
    4. Family Eligibility

      1. Eligibility

      When a foreign company needs to transfer an executive, manager or specialist to a U.S.-based company they will require an L-1 visa. To qualify, there must be a subsidiary, affiliate or branch office relationship between the foreign and U.S. companies where there is either more than 50% stock control or a 50/50 joint venture with joint veto power.

      The requirements for an L-1 visa include proof of continuous foreign employment for at least one year in the previous three years immediately prior to the application. This requirement is satisfied even if there is a valid interruption in the performance of duties for the foreign company.

      The company no longer needs to show that they are training U.S. replacement workers.

      2. Definition of Executive, Manager or Person with Specialized Knowledge


      The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services define an executive as one who directs the management of an organization or a major component or function of the organization. He or she establishes goals and policies and exercises wide latitude in discretionary decision making, receiving only general supervision or direction from higher level executives, the board of directors, or stockholders of the organization.


      A manager is one who has supervision and control over the work of other supervisory, professional or managerial employees, or who manages an essential function, department or subdivision of an organization. A manager has the authority to execute or recommend personnel actions if others are directly supervised. If no other employees are supervised, he or she must function at a senior level within the organization or with respect to the function managed and exercise discretion over the day-to-day operations of the organization or function managed.

      Person with Specialized Knowledge:

      To qualify as an employee with specialized knowledge, the individual must possess special knowledge of the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management or other interests, and its application in the international markets. The employee may also qualify under L-1 classification if he or she has an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes or procedures.

      3. Duration of L Visa

      For businesses that have just opened up their U.S. operations, the L visa is valid for one year and may be renewed for a period of 7 years for executives or managers, and a period of 5 years for persons with specialized knowledge.

      For companies that have been doing business in the U.S. for one year or longer, the visa is valid for up to three years with two-year extensions for a total of seven years for executives and managers and up to five years for persons with specialized knowledge.

      4. Family Eligibility

      The foreign national spouse or unmarried minor children of a foreign national with an L-1 visa are entitled to accompany the L-1 visa holder to the U.S. and may stay the same length of time as the employee. Spouses of L intra-company transferees within the U.S. may obtain work authorization.