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L-1 Visa InterCompany Transfer

Posted by attorney Khaja Din

Legal Guide


The L-1 intracompany transferee classification allows companies to transfer certain employees temporally from a foreign entity to a US entity, provided that there is a qualifying relationship between the two entities. In order for a foreign national to qualify for the L-1 intracompany transferee classification, he or she must have been employed abroad by the foreign entity for at least one year out of the three years immediately preceding entry to the United States in an executive, managerial or “specialized knowledge" capacity. Furthermore, he or she must be coming to the United States to work in an executive, managerial or “specialized knowledge" capacity.

A qualifying relationship for L-1 purposes must exist between the US entity and the entity abroad in order for the classification to be granted. Specifically, we must prove to the Immigration Service that the US entity is a parent, subsidiary, branch or affiliate of the entity abroad.

A qualifying Parent-Subsidiary relationship is one in which the parent company owns at least half the subsidiary and controls its operational is part of a 50-50 joint venture and has equal control and veto power over the subsidiary; or own less than half the subsidiary but in fact controls the subsidiary. A Branch is an operating division or office of the same organization, housed in a different location. An affiliate is one of two subsidiaries both of which are owned and controlled by the same parent or individual.

Foreign national may hold L-1A executive or managerial status in the United States for a maximum of seven (7) years. L-1B “specialized knowledge" status may be held for a maximum of five (5) years. These limitations do not apply to aliens who do not reside continually in the US and whose employment in the US is seasonal, intermittent, or consists of an aggregate of six months or less per year. Spouses and dependent (children under the age of 21) may accompany L-1 principal aliens to the United States, and are granted L-1 classification for this purpose. Dependent spouses holding L-2 status are now eligible to work in the United States after applying for an receiving an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which takes approximately 3 months to be issued.


  1. Resume of foreign national, including specific details regarding the current position at the company.


  1. Date established and current number of employees;

  2. Gross and Net annual income figures for the most recent year available. Please include an annual report, financial statement or corporate tax returns;

  3. Company brochure or literature;

  4. Documentation (and English translations if necessary) evidencing ownership of the foreign office, to include the following:

  • Annual Report

  • Relevant sections of Partnership Agreement

  • Letters from Certified Public Accountants

  • Charts detailing corporate structure

  1. List of customers in the U.S., if applicable.


  1. State and date of formation;

  2. Federal Income Tax Identification Number;

  3. Gross and net annual income figures (projected figures if for first year of operation);

  4. A statement describing the staffing of the U.S. operation; and

  5. Job title for transferee’s expected position in the United States.


Please note that there are two steps in the visa process. First, we must gather the information above, prepare, and then file the petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The petition normally takes approximately 2 months for review and approval, however, for an expedite fee of $1,000, the Immigration Service will process the petition within 15 calendar days. One the USCIS Approval Notice is received; the employee must schedule an appointment at the U.S. consulate to obtain a visa stamp.

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