L1 Visa

In order to get an L1 visa, the employee should have worked in the foreign entity for at least one year as a specialized knowledge worker, an executive, or a manager in the previous three years and should be sponsored to work in the same capacity for the U.S. entity.

What Is an L1 Visa

The L-1 visa is a work visa issued to professionals seeking employment in any U.S. branch or a subsidiary of a foreign company. It is different from the H-1B work visa in the sense that it applies explicitly to individuals relocating to the USA-based office of their current organization. The highest term of stay with this visa in the USA is seven years. While the L-1 visa is valid for seven years, it can be converted to permanent residency before this time.

Specialized knowledge L-1 visa, on the other hand, is only valid for five years. Also, you cannot convert it to a permanent residence. A person with specialized knowledge in the L-1 category could nonetheless seek permanent residency through other means.

L1 Visa And Foreign Employer

When it comes to the non-US employer, the foreign corporation should have at least one of the four relationship forms with the U.S. employer:

  • Sister company owned by the mutual parent company,
  • Affiliates retained by the corporation,
  • Subsidiary/parent, or
  • Headquarter/branch.

In order to get an L1 visa, the employee should have worked in the foreign entity for at least one year as a specialized knowledge worker, an executive, or a manager in the previous three years and should be sponsored to work in the same capacity for the U.S. entity. Therefore, to prove that the applicant has worked in the qualifying capacity for one year, the company should provide necessary evidence proving that they have had a professional engagement for at least one year.

List Of Required Documents for an L-1 petition

U.S. Company Documents

  1. Certificate of Incorporation;
  2. Share Certificates to show relationship between both companies;
  3. Organizational chart of personnel and departments. This organizational chart should show the beneficiary name and job title and number of people he will supervise. Also we need in a separate sheet names, job titles and qualifications of people the beneficiary will supervise.
  4. Letter from the US Company stating beneficiary’s job title, job duties in the USA, and the number of people the beneficiary will be supervising in the U.S.
  5. A business plan for the company, including existing personnel (details of the positions) and anticipated staffing;
  6. Repatriation of funds to parent company or wire transfer of funds from parent to US company evidencing initial investment.
  7. Company Lease and utility bills for office space and operations;
  8. All pages of latest three months Bank Statements;
  9. List of clients, copies of contracts, invoices and other documentation to show that the business is active;
  10. Most recent three years of tax returns & financial statements of the company;
  11. Brochure or Photos of the office;
  12. Bills of Lading and Airway bills if applicable.

Parent Company in Foreign County:

  1. Name of parent company, registration and Business license;
  2. Statement explaining the name of principals of the parent company and their exact shares;
  3. Share Certificates to show relationship between both companies;
  4. Copy of partnership deed (if applicable);
  5. Company brochure or product introduction;
  6. Organizational chart of the personnel and departments. This should include position held by the transferee; total number of workers he is supervising. Also we need in a separate sheet names, job titles and qualifications of people the beneficiary is supervising.
  7. Employment verification letter from parent company, which should mention beneficiary’s current Job Title, Salary and Job Duties, number of people he is supervising, dates of his Employment and job titles he has held to show his growth within the company, Reason you want him transferred to USA;
  8. Recent three years of Income tax filings for the past three years, balance sheets, profit/loss statements, cash flow reports;
  9. Copies of recent three months of bank statements;
  10. Payroll journals of the company for 3-6 months, showing the name of the beneficiary and other employees;
  11. Copy of the lease/sale deed of the premises & warehouses of the company;
  12. Documents of business transactions (invoice, contracts, bills of lading, letters of credit etc)

From the Beneficiary:

  1. All stamped pages of passport, 1-94 (if applicable) of the alien beneficiary who seeks to move to the United States;
  2. Exact dates of his employment and job titles he held;
  3. Paystubs for last one year;
  4. The proposed duties of the alien beneficiary with the US company;

Documents Needed to show Executive/Managerial Position of the Beneficiary

  1. Detailed duties identifying executive and managerial duties with percentage of each;
  2. Detailed duties and percentages of managerial or clerical duties of employees reporting to beneficiary
  3. Flow Chart or SOP (standard operating procedure document) showing the process and who is involved at each step
  4. To show managerial role, we would need emails showing that you are giving directives to your subordinates or they are asking you for direction or they are reporting to you, performance appraisal for all of them under your supervision, proof that you signed the employment or reliving letters, that you approved raise in salaries or bonuses. Leave letters etc.
  5. To show Executive role, proof that you prepared a policy document for appraisal by the Board of directors, signatures on important executive decision documents, summary of board of meetings showing that you played an executive role, if you prepared or signed off on the budget of the company, Any other policy decisions that you have taken, proof of the same.
The Law Offices of Prashanthi Reddy, PLLC

Prashanthi Reddy


Talk to an Attorney

Get a Consultation

Other Type Of Work Visa

How Long Does It Take To Get An L1 Visa?

The entire process of obtaining an L-1 visa can range from six months to a year. Therefore, it is recommended that if you intend to apply for an L-1 visa, you should start the entire application process at the earliest to avoid any last-minute hassle. 

How To Apply For An L-1 Visa?

Here’s a  guide to applying for an L-1 visa-

Step 1: Apply for a petition with USCIS or the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services with the help of Form I-129.

Step 2: Deposit documents demonstrating that the parent corporation in the United States and the foreign branch, parent, or subsidiary meet the qualifying criteria.

Step 3: Upon checking the documents, USCIS will issue approval of Form I-129 on the Notice of Action, Form I-797, which can then be used as the basis of an application by the individual while applying for a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

Who Can Apply for an L-1 Visa?

In order to fit the eligibility criteria for an L1 visa, an employee should have spent at least one year of the previous three years working for an overseas branch office, affiliate, parent, or subsidiary of the U.S. company to which they are transferring. It is further essential that the individual has worked as a specialized knowledge worker, executive, or manager during this time.  

Additional Information 

Getting an L1 visa for working in the USA is a lengthy and complicated procedure. Therefore, one needs to:

  • Follow the above instructions and steps meticulously to get their L1 visa.
  • Read all the related documents with the utmost caution.
  • Follow the procedure thoroughly.

Considering the complicated visa application process, it’s always in the foreign national’s interest and the companies interest to get the guidance of an Immigration Attorney.

At the Law Offices of Prashanthi Reddy, PLLC, an NYC immigration law firm, we have filed numerous L-1 petitions. Hence, we are very familiar with the kind of cases that the USCIS approves. As a result, we can anticipate difficulties and offer the right advice at the right time. To reach out to our immigration lawyers at the Law Offices of Prashanthi Reddy, PLLC, mail at prashanthi@reddyesq.com or call us at 212-354-1010. Our Attorney Also Provide Immigration Services to Other U.S State As Well new York, New Jersey, Texas, and  California .


The L1 visa is a specific kind of work visa for internal transfers within an organization; the primary criterion for a person eligible for an L1 visa is that they should fall under the category of a speciality occupation and have worked with the company as a manager or executive. A person seeking to enter the US using an L1 visa using internal transfer within a company should have at least worked with the organization for at least one year out of the last three years before filling out the application

USCIS issues an L1 visa for a maximum period of five years. If post expiry one needs to continue with the status, they can do it after one year by working with the company’s branch, affiliate, or parent in a foreign location.

Though the L1 visa is an excellent alternative to H1B, qualification guidelines are stricter. The sponsoring employer needs to convince the USCIS the person in consideration is a manager, executive or employee with specialized knowledge.

An employer can use two categories of L1 visas to transfer somebody to its US Office. L1-A is a category for executives or managers, and L1-B is for people in a speciality occupation; the transferred employee should have specialized knowledge in a particular field which is strategic and indispensable for the employer’s business function.

A basic visa filing fee is $325, but if there is premium processing required, there is an additional fee of $1225. Other than this, there is an extra cost of $500 called the Detection and Fraud prevention fee. In some exceptional circumstances, one might need to incur an additional charge of $2250.

Yes, an L1 holder can apply for a green card to obtain permanent residency while in status. There is a specific employment-based green category called EB-1C specifically for multinational executives and managers.

L1 and H1B visas; both offer equal opportunities to apply for a green card, but the difference only lies in the qualifying guidelines, so there is no question of one being good or bad.

Let’s talk and discuss

Book a Free Consultation


Call us (212) 354-1010