Obtaining an L-1 Visa: A Massachusetts Immigration Lawyer Explains the Requirements
L-1 visas are available to employees of international companies with offices in both a foreign country and the U.S. The L-1 visa allows the foreign workers to work in the company’s U.S. office after having worked in a foreign country for the company for at least one year.
Who Is Eligible for an L-1 Visa?
Two types of employees are eligible for L-1 visas:
- Managers/Executives. These are employees with supervisory responsibility for professional staff and/or for a key function, department or subdivision of the employer. They are employees with the ability to make broad decisions for the company.
- Staff with Specialized Knowledge. These are employees with specific knowledge about the company’s products, systems, services, management, procedures, or proprietary techniques.
Check with your Cambridge immigration lawyer to determine whether you (or your employee) may qualify in one of these categories.
Period of Stay
Qualified employees are allowed to stay in the U.S. initially for a maximum of three years. Qualified employees entering the U.S. to establish a new office can stay initially for a maximum of one year. Requests for extensions may be granted in two-year increments, for a maximum of seven years.
After an employee finishes the maximum period of stay, he or she must be employed outside the U.S. for at least one year before applying for L status again.
The transferring employee may be accompanied by his or her spouse and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. Spouses are permitted to work in the U.S.
To qualify for L-1 classification, the employer must:
- Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate); and
- Currently be, or will be, doing business as an employer in the U.S. and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization during the entire period of the employee’s stay in the U.S.
To help you through the complex L-1 visa application process, and for the best advice about all your immigration issues, contact the Massachusetts immigration lawyers at Ionson Law. We can be reached at 781-674-2562.