Intracompany Transferees (L-1’s)
The L-1 category applies to aliens who work for a company with a parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate in the U.S. These workers come to the U.S. as intracompany transferees who are coming temporarily to perform services either
- in a managerial or executive capacity (L-1A) or
- which entail specialized knowledge (L-1B)
for a parent, branch, subsidiary or affiliate of the same employer that employed the professional abroad. The employee must have been employed abroad for the corporation, firm, or other legal entity (or an affiliate or subsidiary thereof) on a full-time basis for at least one continuous year out of the last three-year period to qualify. There is currently no annual cap on L-1 visas.
All L-1 beneficiaries are now required to have been employed abroad for a 12-month period regardless of whether the beneficiary is obtaining L classification based on a blanket or as an individual. This provision applies only to initial L petitions filed after June 6, 2005. The 6 month rule should continue to be applied to cases involving extensions or changes of job duties within the L classification filed after the effective date, but in which the original status was obtained through a blanket process prior to the effective date based on the then existing eligibility requirements.
Dependents (i.e. spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age) of L-1 workers are entitled to L-2 status with the same restrictions as the principal. Dependents may be students in the U.S. while remaining in L-2 status. If it can be established that the spouse is accompanying or following to join the principal alien, the spouse may obtain an employment authorization under the L-2 classification. Minor children may not be employed under the L-2 classification.
Blanket L Petition
Employers who regularly file L petitions may wish to consider filing for a blanket L petition in order to obtain continuing approval for itself (and some or all of its parents, branches, subsidiaries and affiliates in the U.S.). This simplifies the process of approving and admitting additional individual L-1A and L-1B workers.
The blanket L petition must be filed by a U.S. employer who will be the single representative between INS and the qualifying organizations and must be filed with copies of evidence that the:
- Petitioner and its branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates are engaged in commercial trade or services;
- Petitioner has an office in the United States that has been doing business for one year or more;
- Petitioner has 3 or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates;
- Petitioner and its qualifying organizations have obtained approved petitions for at least ten L-1 professionals during the previous year or have U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of at least 25 million dollars, or have a U.S. work force of at least 1,000 employees.
After approval of a blanket petition, the petitioner may file for individual employees to enter as L-1 professionals under the blanket petition. If the alien is outside the U.S., submit a completed Form I-129S and a copy of the Form I-797 (INS approval notice). If the alien is already in the U.S., the petitioner may file an I-129 to request a change of status, based on this blanket petition.