L1 Visa: An L-1 visa is a visa document used to enter the United States for the purpose of work in L-1 status. It is a non-immigrant visa, and is valid for a short amount of time, generally three years. L-1 visas are available to employees of an international company with offices in both a home country and the United States, or which intend to open a new office in the United States while maintaining their home country interests. The visa allows such foreign workers to relocate to the corporation’s US office after having worked abroad for the company for at least one year prior to being granted L-1 status. The US office must be a parent company, child company, or sister company to the foreign company.
Spouses of L-1 visa holders are allowed to work, without restriction, in the US, and the L-1 visa may legally be used as a stepping stone to a green card under the doctrine of dual intent.
Types of L1 Visa:
The L-1 visa has two subcategories: L-1A for executives and managers, and L-1B for workers with specialized knowledge. L-1A status is valid for up to 7 years, L-1B for 5. After the expiration of the 7 or 5 years respectively, the alien must leave the United States for an aggregate of 365 days, and must work for a parent, subsidiary, affiliate or branch of the U.S. company during that time before becoming eligible to reapply for an L-1 visa.
There are two types of L-1 procedures:
- Regular L-1 visas, which must be applied for and approved for each individual by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); and
- Blanket L-1 visas which are available to employers who hire large numbers of Intracompany Transferees every year.
For a regular L-1 visa, the company must file a petition with the USCIS and each petition is evaluated on its own merits.
In the case of a blanket L-1 visa petition, it has already been determined by USCIS that the company qualifies for the issuance of Intracompany Transferee visa, so the individual visa applicant need only file a copy of the approved blanket petition, along with documents supporting their personal qualifications, with the U.S. consulate or embassy having jurisdiction over their place of residence proving the applicant’s qualification
L2 Visa: An L-2 visa is a visa document used to enter the United States by the dependent spouse and minor unmarried children of qualified L-1 visa holders. It is a non-immigrant visa, and is only valid for the duration of the spouse’s L1 visa.
The applicant may:
- Reside in the U.S. for the duration of the L-1 visa holder’s authorized duration of stay
- Work on a full-time basis in the U.S. with proper employment authorization from the USCIS
- Engage in full-time study in the U.S.
- Travel in and out of the U.S. on short trips and return
The following must be submitted:
- Completed visa application along with the applicable draft amount
- Original valid passport
- Two recent color photographs
- Original marriage certificate
- Four to five marriage photographs in the case of an L-2 spouse.
- Copy of the applicant’s parent’s or spouse’s L-1 approval
- Parent’s or spouse’s employment verification letter
- Demand draft for visa application fee
- Demand draft for visa issuance fee
- Nonimmigrant visa application processing fee: You will need to provide a receipt showing the visa application processing fee has been paid, when you come for your visa interview.
- Visa issuance fee: Additionally, if the visa is issued, there will be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee, if applicable. Please consult the Visa Reciprocity Tables to find out if you must pay a visa issuance reciprocity fee and what the fee amount is.
The law states that the USCIS shall issue Employment Authorization documents within 90 days. However, at some service centers, the wait exceeds 90 days.