L-1 Visas are available to persons who:

  • have worked abroad for one continuous year within the preceding three years
  • in an executive, managerial or specialized knowledge capacity
  • for a qualifying related business entity
  • and who are being transferred temporarily to the US
  • to work in an executive, managerial or specialized knowledge capacity
  • for a qualifying related business entity.

The continuous year does not include periods spent in the US which are subtracted e.g.

an employee works for a company for 14 months but has spent periods totaling three months in the US. He/She will have to spend another month outside the US before qualifying.

The visa is issued for up to three years initially with a possible two year extension for all Ls and a two year extension beyond that for managers and executives.


  • someone who directs the management of the organization
  • establishes the goals and policies of the organization
  • exercises wide latitude in discretionary decision-making and
  • receives only general supervision or direction from higher level executives


  • manages the organization or a department, subdivision or function of the organization
  • supervises the work of other professional employees
  • has the authority to hire and fire
  • exercises discretion over the day to day operation of the activity or function for which he is responsible

Specialized Knowledge is:

special knowledge possessed by an individual or the petitioning organization,s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management or other interest and its application in international markets or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization's processes and procedures.

Organizations must be qualifying i.e. the company in the US and the one outside must

have one of the following relationships

  • branch
  • affiliate
  • parent
  • subsidiary.

New Office

Special rules apply to the transfer of L-1 personnel to open a new office in the US. Evidence of the provision of office space and some type of business plan must be provided and the visa is only given for an initial period of a year

Blanket Petition

This enables the transfer of personnel to the United States without the prior approval of the INS of an individual petition

The requirements are:

  • the petitioner and each of the qualifying entities are engaged in commercial trade or services
  • the petitioner has an office in the United States and has been doing business for one year or more
  • the petitioner has three or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries or affiliates
  • the petitioner or other qualifying organization have obtained approval of petitions for at least ten L managers, executives or specialized knowledge professional during the previous twelve months or have United States subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of at least $25 million; or have a United States workforce of at least 1000 employees