Basic Requirements For Obtaining L-1 Status

Special Requirements for obtaining L-1 Visa:

images1.    The employee must have worked abroad for the overseas company for a continuous period of one year in the preceding three years:

The employee must have completed one continuous year of employment outside of the United States with the overseas company within the preceding three years before he or she can be transferred to the related U.S. Company. The USCIS will look at the three years preceding the date of the petition to see whether the alien has spent the requisite continuous period of one year of employment abroad.

  • Six-month rule for L-1 transferees under blanket petitions: Legislation enacted in December 2004 restores the one-year pre-employment requirement for L-1 visa applicants filing under the blanket petition program. A 2002 amendment had reduced the one-year employment requirement for L-1s coming in under blanket petitions to six months.
  • Part-time employment abroad: A year or more of part-time employment cannot be added up to meet the one-year abroad requirement, unless the employee has worked part-time for each of several foreign affiliates of the U.S. Company, and the total employment time equals full-time hours.
  • Intervening employment with unrelated foreign employer: The regulations do not require that the alien’s current foreign employer and the petitioner be related entities, but rather that the alien must have worked for a qualifying organization for one continuous year within three years preceding the application for admission to the United States.

2.    The overseas company must be related to the U.S. company in a specific manner:

The law states that the company abroad for which the employee has worked for a year abroad must be “the same employer or a subsidiary or affiliate” of the U.S. company. The meaning of these terms can become quite complex.

3.    The company must be a qualifying organization:

The Company must be a qualifying organization, i.e., one that is doing business in the United States and one other country during the whole period of the transfer. The “qualifying organization” concept arises from the government concern that the L-1 category will be used by owners of small businesses abroad who “transfer” themselves to the United States.

4.    The employee to be transferred must have been employed abroad in an “executive” or “managerial” position or a position involving “specialized knowledge”:

The meaning of the terms “executive,” “managerial,” and “specialized knowledge” can also be quite complex.

5.    The employee must be coming to the U.S. Company to work in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity:

The employee does not have to render services in the same capacity in the United States that he or she filled abroad. For example, a “specialized knowledge” employee abroad may be coming to the United States to fill a managerial position.

6.    The employee must he qualified for the position by virtue of his or her prior education and experience:

The USCIS requires that proof of the alien’s qualification for the job be submitted with the L-1 petition.

7.    The L-1 alien must intend to depart the United States upon completion of his or her authorized stay (including extensions), but may also pursue permanent residence at the same time:

For most companies, a simple affirmation that the transferee temporarily will depart the United States upon completion of his or her authorized stay is sufficient. When the transferee is also an owner/operator of the company, however, the papers must be accompanied by evidence that the employee will not remain indefinitely or permanently in this country.

8.    Special requirements applicable to Canadian and Mexican intracompany transferees under NAFTA:

NAFTA contains a strike provision which is only applicable to Canadian and Mexican intracompany transferees; under the strike provision, the USCIS may deny a petition for L-1 classification, suspend an approved petition, or deny entry to a citizen of Canada or Mexico if a strike or work stoppage has been certified by the Department of Labor in the place of intended employment.

If you are a potential immigrant or are already in the United States, an immigration lawyer Fairfax can help you find successful answers to many of the legal issues that foreign citizens face. Please contact Wani & Associates for a free consultation. We can be reached by telephone, fax, or by filling out the client intake form. Call Now at: (703) 556-6626 or Visit our Website:


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