L visas are used by companies to transfer employees from abroad into the United States. The L visa is a great tool to transfer executives, managers, or employees with specialized knowledge. The following points are important considerations when planning an L visa:
- Generally, it is easier to obtain an L-1A for an executive or manager, rather than an L-1B for a specialized knowledge employee;
- To qualify the L visa employee must have been working for a minimum of one continuous year outside the S. for the sponsoring employer’s organization within the three years preceding the filing of the application;
- The sponsoring S. employer must establish a qualifying relationship with the organization abroad where the employee currently works. This would include that the foreign organization is a parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate of the U.S. company;
- Foreign companies can plant a new office in the S. and utilize the L visa strategy to transfer employees;
- L visa employees can bring spouse and children as dependents. L visa spouses can obtain work permits;
- L visa employees can possess both nonimmigrant and immigrant intent. This would allow a S. sponsor to petition for the employee’s green card;
- L visas are not subject to visa caps and there is no treaty requirement. Thus, this is a great alternative to H-1Bs or E visas.