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A brief guide to L-1 visas

On Behalf of | Oct 27, 2020 | Firm News

The L-1 visa program has been a crucial component to the success of many multinational businesses. You should understand how this program can benefit your company. The following is a brief guide to the L-1 visa program.

Who is eligible for an L-1 visa?

The L-1 visa is a temporary visa for foreign employees coming to the United States to work in the office of a multinational business. There are two L-1 visa categories: The L-1A visa and the L-1B visa.

Executives and managers are eligible for the L-1A visa. Employees who have specialized knowledge are eligible for the L-1B visa. The spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age of a worker granted an L-1 visa may apply for an L-2 nonimmigrant classification. Upon approval, they will be allowed to stay in the U.S. for the duration of the L-1 visa.

How long does an L-1 visa last?

It depends on the type of business and the type of visa. An L-1A visa for an executive of a new company is initially good for one year. If a business has been in operation for one year or longer, the initial visa is good for three years. You may apply for an extension in two-year increments. The maximum stay allowed is seven years.

An L-1B visa has the same initial validity and extension rules as an L-1A visa. However, the maximum stay allowed is five years.

Is there a cap on how many visas are issued?

There are no caps on how many L-1 visas may be issued in a given year. The program exists to promote the smooth operation of global businesses. Limiting the number of visas issued would impede this purpose.

Should I anticipate any changes to this program?

The U.S. immigration program has been in flux in recent years. While there has been some talk of making changes to the L-1 visa program, nothing has come to fruition as of yet. Given the fluid nature of the situation, it’s always best to work with an immigration law professional who can help walk you through the visa process.