An L-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows foreign corporations to transfer executives, managers, or employees with specialized knowledge to their offices in the United States. This type of visa is ideal for those who wish to transfer to the United States and work for a related company. In order to qualify for an L-1 visa, the foreign company must be related to the U.S. company as either a parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate and the foreign employee must have worked abroad for the related company for one consecutive year within the three years prior to their U.S. application.
An L-1 visa is valid for up to three years and can be extended in two year increments for up to five years. During this period, the visa holder can work legally in the United States. In addition, the family members of an L-1 visa holder can also come to the United States. The spouse of the visa holder is eligible to apply for an L-2 visa, which will allow them to work in the United States.
The Most Common L-1 Visa Forms and Their Associated Cost
The L-1 Visa is a great way for companies to transfer foreign employees to a U.S. office. The most common form for an L-1 Visa is the Form I-129, which must be submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The form costs $460 and is used for both new and returning employees. If a company is seeking to transfer multiple employees, the I-129S Nonimmigrant Petition Based on Blanket L Petition must also be submitted to USCIS.
If the employee wishes to extend their stay in the US, the I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status must be submitted. This form costs $370 and must be submitted to USCIS. Additionally, if an employee needs to replace their I-94 Arrival/Departure record, the I-102 Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival/Departure Document must be submitted. This form costs $445 and must also be submitted to USCIS. Overall, the L-1 Visa is a great way to transfer foreign employees to a U.S. office.
Types of L-1 Visas
The L-1 visa is a popular option for employers to transfer foreign workers to the United States for temporary assignment. Employers can use the L-1 visa to transfer qualified employees to the US in both executive and managerial roles, as well as for specialized knowledge roles.
The L-1A visa is designed for foreign workers who have been employed by a company abroad and are being transferred to the US to fill an executive or managerial role. The L-1B visa is meant for foreign workers who have specialized knowledge of the company’s operations, products, services, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests.
Family members of the L-1 visa holder are also eligible for an L-2 visa. This includes the spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21.
Many companies also opt for a blanket L-1 visa which allows them to transfer multiple employees to the US from abroad, without having to apply for individual visas for each employee. This is a great option for companies with a large number of foreign workers they would like to transfer to the US.
For multinational companies, the intracompany transferee visa allows employees to come to the US to work in their business.
L-1 Visa Application Process
The L-1 visa is an important tool for employers who need to transfer a foreign worker to their U.S. office for a temporary period of time. To apply for an L-1 visa, the foreign employer and U.S. employer must first start the application process by filing Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This petition must include evidence of a qualifying relationship between the foreign and U.S. employers, such as a parent-subsidiary or branch office. Evidence must also be provided that the foreign worker has worked for the foreign employer for at least one year within the three years prior to entering the U.S. Additionally, a signed contract between the U.S. and foreign employers should be included which outlines the employee’s duties and responsibilities while in the U.S. Other evidence may be needed to demonstrate the foreign worker’s qualifications and the specialized knowledge that make them eligible for the L-1 visa.
Once the paperwork is submitted, the foreign worker will need to apply for an L-1 visa at the U.S. consulate in their home country. Depending on the consulate, the foreign worker may also be required to attend an in-person interview in English.
L-1 Visa Costs
Obtaining an L-1 visa is an important step for employers looking to transfer foreign employees to the United States. The cost of an L-1 visa application largely depends on the type of visa being applied for. Employers must pay the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) filing fee of $460, the Fraud Prevention and Detection fee of $500, and the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA) fee. For L-1A visas, the ACWIA fee is $750 and for L-1B visas, the ACWIA fee is $1,500. Additionally, employers may incur legal fees associated with preparing and filing the L-1 petitions. Small businesses should be aware that they must pay the Fraud Prevention and Detection fee for each visa application, resulting in higher costs for an L-1 visa.