The L-1 Visa is a nonimmigrant classification that permits foreign companies to send an eligible employee to work in a US-based firm or to open a new office in the country.
This category is divided into two subcategories, which are the L-1A visa (intracompany transferees in managerial or executive positions) and the L-1B visa (intracompany transferees with specialized knowledge).
In this article, you will discover why you should consider applying for an L-1 visa in the United States.
L-1 Visa Benefits – The Essentials
Period of Stay
The period of stay for foreign individuals living in the United States under L-1 status varies according to each subcategory.
The L-1A visa grants foreign managers or executives an initial three years of stay with a maximum extension of seven years. On the other hand, the L-1B visa can be extended for a maximum of five years.
Additionally, unlike other similar visas, the L-1 category does not have a strict annual cap. Hence, there are no limits to how many L-1 visas are approved each year by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The L-1 visa is considered to be a “dual intent” visa. There are nonimmigrant visas wherein holders cannot pursue a green card, as it would violate the holders’ status and possibly incur further legal issues with USCIS.
However, under L-1 status, foreign nationals can pursue lawful permanent resident status without suffering any setbacks.
No Job Offer Involved
One of the greatest hardships faced by thousands of employment-based visa applicants is finding a US employer to sponsor them. If one is considered eligible for an L-1 visa, he/she is already employed with a US company.
Unlike other popular visa categories such as the H-1B (Specialty Occupations Visa) or the TN (NAFTA Professionals Visa), this visa requires neither employer sponsorship nor labor certification.
Typically, visa categories based on professional skills and specialized knowledge have a set of requirements that are difficult for most applicants to fulfill. For instance, the O-1 category is exclusive for individuals with proven extraordinary ability or achievements.
In this sense, the L-1 category applies to managers, executives, and specialized workers in multinational companies. While it does not offer a direct pathway to lawful permanent residence (green card), it is an excellent option considering its relatively low requirements.
No Advanced Education Requirements
Some of the most popular employment-based visas require advanced education, so applicants without a degree may not qualify. An L-1 visa is a good option for professionals who did not have the opportunity to go to college or are still in the course of obtaining a college degree.
Advantages for Spouses and Dependents
L-1 visa holders are free to bring their spouses and children to the United States. Also, if the applicant’s spouse or children qualify to file Employment Authorization Documents, they will be allowed to work in the United States – which is a great way to increase household income and ensure a better life quality.
L-1 Visa Benefits – Why Should I Seek Professional Guidance?
Despite the relatively low requirements, the L-1 Visa has become increasingly difficult to qualify for in recent years. The exponential growth in demand and failure to comply with the requirements are among the most common reasons behind the fact.
In this sense, there is no better approach than working with an expert immigration attorney to ensure a successful outcome.