L1A & L1 B Visas


Visa Overview

​The L1A and L1B intercompany transferee visa is a nonimmigrant visa for employees of foreign corporations, firms, or other legal entities where the parent, affiliate, subsidiary, or branch of the entity is conducting business in the United States. The company must be conducting business in at least one other country. The Intercompany individual can be paid either by the US company or US company affiliate abroad if the employer controls the terms of payment. This individual must have been employed by a parent branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of the petitioning US company for a continuous period of one year or in the three years leading up to the transfer position.


Employee in Executive Capacity vs. Employee with Specialized Knowledge 

  • Executive Capacity (L1A)
    • The individual primarily directs management of the organization, establishes goals and policies, has a wide latitude in decision making, and is supervised by higher level executives.
  • Employee with Specialized Knowledge (L1B)
    • The individual possesses specialized knowledge of a product or application in international markets, or advanced knowledge of the company’s procedures, research, equipment, techniques, or processes.

****Important Note: L1A and L1B are both nonimmigrant visas. However, it is much easier to transition to an EB-1C Visa to obtain a green card as an L1A holder rather than as an L1B. Moreover, unlike an E-B5, there are no investment requirements. For more information, schedule a consultation with our office to guide you through the distinctions and process.

If opening a new office in the United States: New Offices Requirements:

  • The Company has secured the location for a new office
  • The intercompany individual was employed as an executive or one continuous year or three years before filing the petition; and
  • The intended US office will support an executive or managerial position within a year of the approval of the petition

Duration of Stay for L1A and L1B Intercompany Transferee 

The L1 Visa lasts for three years unless the employee is coming to open a new office in the United States, in which case the duration is one year. This may be extended up to two years. For executives and managers, they may stay for a total of seven years. Employees with specialized knowledge may stay for up to five years. To reapply, the employee must spend a minimum of one year outside the United States after spending the maximum time allowed.

The L1 worker may bring a spouse and unmarried children under 21 by applying for an L2 Visa. The spouse and children may study. Spouses are allowed to work if they file a Form I-765, however, children may not work.


Visa Overview

This is an immigrant visa that grants the manager or executive of a company a green card. The visa requires a US based employer (petitioner) and is the most straightforward path to a Green Card in a preference category not usually held back with backlogs. As an alternate, some executives use the L1A nonimmigrant visa to enter the United States and then file for the EB-1C. Unlike EB-5, no personal investment is required nor is there a conditional residency limitation. This visa does not qualify for premium processing. A key difference between the L1A and L1B intercompany transferee is that the L1B transferee will not be able to obtain an EB-1C.


  • Individual must be employed by a parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of the US Company for one year in the previous three years prior to entering the US;
  • Employment must have been in a managerial or executive role;
  • The foreign entity must be doing business and have qualifying relationship with US petitioner when the immigration petition is filed;
  • US employer must be doing business at least one year and have the ability to pay the immigrant’s salary.


  • Petitioner (US employer) must file a Form (I-140) with the USCIS.
  • If the beneficiary is in the United States, they may file a Form I-485 concurrently. If the beneficiary is abroad, they must wait until the I-140 is approved then pursue consular processing in their relevant US embassy or consulate abroad.

Distinctions from L1A Visa

  • The L1A visa qualifies for premium processing, enabling the individual to have a visa appointment in as little as 14 days, whereas the EB-1C visa does not.
  • Under an L1A, the foreign individual may come to the US to set up a new office, whereas the EB-1C visa employer must be doing business in the US for one year.

For assistance with filing an application or transitioning from an L1 to an EB-1C, call us today at (713) 909 0752, schedule a consultation at Calendly – nsimmigrationlawfirm or email at admin@nslawpllc.com  to set up a consultation.

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