L1 Visa – The Intra-Company Transfer Visa for USA

Requirements, Benefits, Limitations, Forms and FAQ

The L-1 visa is a non-immigrant work visa designed for the purpose of allowing foreign employees of international companies, which hold offices abroad and in the United States, to relocate to their company’s U.S. office. These employees are generally managers, executives or workers with specialized skills.


  • The L-1 visa is generally good for 3 years.
  • Spouses of L-1 visa holders are allowed to work in the U.S. unrestricted.
  • Children (under 21 and unmarried) of the L-1 visa holder may attend any U.S. school.
  • Ability to apply for an adjustment of status to U.S. permanent residency and obtain a green card
  • Holders of the L-1 visa are permitted to leave and re-enter the U.S. as long as the visa is valid.
  • The L-1 visa may be extended.


  • U.S. office location must be a related company to the company abroad such as a parent company, branch office, affiliate or partner.
  • The foreign visa applicant must have worked for the company for at least a year in their country of residence.
  • The transferring foreign employee must have a specialized skill, manage or be in an executive position.
  • The visa holder may only work for the company or related company sponsoring the F1 visa.
  • Qualified children of the L-1 visa holder are not permitted to work in the U.S.


  • Eligible foreign employees must hold the position of manager, executive or have a specialized skill used by the company.
  • The L1 visa applicant must have worked for the sponsoring company for more than a year prior to the application.
  • Foreign employees must be granted the L-1 visa before work in the U.S. can start.

Documentation Required

  • Form I-129, visa petition filed by the employer
  • Form DS-156, non-immigrant visa application
  • Current passport valid for at least 6 months after the visa expiration date
  • Form I-797, approval notice

L1 Visa FAQ

  • The L1 regular visa can take anywhere from 1 to 4 months to process.
  • The L1 blanket visa, for employers who process large numbers of international company transferees per year, process is much quicker. The applicant need only take a copy of the approved blanket petition along with supporting personal documents to a U.S. consulate in their country of origin.
  • Premium processing is available for this visa. If an additional $1000 is paid to USCIS, separately, they will guarantee a response within 15 days.
  • Unlike the H1B visa, there is no educational requirement.
  • L2 visas are issued to the dependents of the L1 visa holder such as a spouse and unmarried children under 21.

Given the high stakes of the outcome of your L-1 visa application, it is important to understand your rights and your obligations under the law. If you are ready to begin the L-1 application process or have questions then contact us today to schedule a call or a meeting. We are more than happy to call you wherever you are in the world at no cost to you.

Eliana Phelps

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