The L Visa applies to foreign workers who are employed by a company with a branch, subsidiary or affiliate in the U.S. These workers come to the U.S. as intra-company transferees who are coming temporarily to perform work in either:
- a managerial or executive capacity, or
- a position that requires specialized knowledge.
To qualify, the employee must have been employed abroad on a full-time basis for at least one continuous year of the last three years. There is currently no annual cap on L-1 visas and the visa is issued for 3 years. In cases where the foreign entity opens a new branch, subsidiary or affiliate in the US, the L Visa is only issued for one year and must be extended thereafter. There is a 7-year maximum for managerial or executive workers and a 5-year maximum for foreign workers with specialized knowledge.
An L Visa allows dual-intent. An L Visa holder can therefore pursue permanent residency without jeopardizing the ability to file for an extension of the L status.