A US L1 visa is the American equivalent of the UK ICT or Intra Company Transfer visa which allows an employee of a foreign company to migrate to the United States in order to set up a new branch, office or subsidiary of that company. The L1 visa is a much faster process than applying for permanent residence (Green Card) in the United States. The L1 visa is the most popular choice among employers intending to hire foreign nationals to fulfil specific vacancies.
An L1 visa may enable the employee to work towards obtaining a Green Card.
L1 visas are granted for a duration of 3 years but may be extended if the employee is still required in the role. It may be extended this way every 2 years up to a maximum of 7 years total. Upon expiration of the maximum duration of the L1 visa the employee will need to spend a minimum of 1 year outside of the United States before reapplying for either an L or H visa.
L1A Managerial/Executive Capacity Visa:
L1A visas are specifically designed for employees fulfilling a senior level or executive role. Applicants for an L1 visa must be responsible for a key department, division or function of a company. A detailed outline of the specific duties and function of the role will need to be provided with the application. The L1A visa has a duration of 3 years which may be extended in 2 year increments up to a total of 7 years.
L1B Specialized Knowledge Visa:
L1B visas are specifically for employees that have been employed in a foreign branch of the company for a minimum of 3 years immediately prior to making the application. The applicant must have been employed in either an executive or managerial capacity or in a role that requires specialist knowledge. L1B visas may be extended up to a maximum of 5 years.
L1 New Office Visa:
The L1 visa is specifically for new parents, subsidiaries, branches or affiliates of a company that has been doing business in the US for less than a year and cannot prove extensive business activity outside of the United States. The employee must meet the 1 year physical presence requirement and the employer must prove that there is sufficient physical space in the office and that the company can support an executive or managerial position.
L1 Blanket Visa:
This visa is specifically for companies with a large volume of intra company employees that are required to be transferred from one parent, branch, subsidiary or affiliate to another. If the company has a minimum of 3 domestic or foreign branches, subsidiaries or affiliates, has been doing business for less than 1 year and can show combined annual sales of $25,000,000 or more, a 1000+ man domestic workforce or received at least 10 successful L visas within the past 12 months then it is eligible to apply for the L1 Blanket visa.