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Does U.S. immigration law allow for intracompany transfers?

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2021 | Blog, Immigration |

Thanks to advancements in technology, the global marketplace is smaller than ever. If you have business operations outside the U.S., you may need to transfer workers from your out-of-country office to your U.S. headquarters or a satellite branch. Fortunately, U.S. immigration law allows for intracompany transferees to come to the country temporarily.

If your business chooses to sponsor an intracompany transferee, you can probably choose between L-1A and L-1B visas. Still, picking the correct one is likely to improve your chances of receiving speedy approval.

L-1A visas for international executives and managers

The L-1A visa category is appropriate for international executives and managers. To qualify for this type of visa, your business must have operations in a foreign country and inside the U.S. Typically, the transferee must have worked for your enterprise for at least a full year out of the three years before your petition’s filing date.

Upon approval, your transferee may work in an executive or managerial role at the location listed on the petition. The initial approval is likely to be for three years, although the L-1A status is extendable up to seven total years.

L-1B visas for employees with specialized knowledge

If your transferee is not an executive or manager, you may be able to request an L-1B visa. To qualify for one, your employee must have specialized knowledge. Specialized knowledge is knowledge about your organization’s product, service or processes.

While L-1B visas are usually good for three years, you may request a two-year extension. The total amount of time your transferee may remain in the U.S. in L-1B status is five years.  Ultimately, whether you are looking to start a new office in the U.S. or staff an existing one, filing an L-1A or L-1B visa petition may give you the talent you need to make your enterprise a success.