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To qualify for the L-1 visa, the following requirements must be met:


The transferring foreign business must be a parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of the U.S. business. This is achieved through joint-ownership:


  • one business owns the other, the same individual has a controlling interest in both businesses, or the same individuals jointly own a controlling interest in both businesses;


  • The L-1 manager must supervise multiple levels of workers in the U.S. company or manage a specific function within the company.


  • An L-1 specialist must have specialized, proprietary knowledge or skills which he will be teaching to workers at the U.S. company.


  • The L-1 manager or specialist must have worked at least one complete, continuous year anytime during the previous three years for the foreign business that is transferring him to the U.S.A.


  • The L-1 manager must supervise several employees at multiple levels within the U.S. business in order to qualify for visa renewals.


Our Recommendation:


If the U.S. Company has been active less than one year, the applicant will receive the L-1 visa for only one year. Since an L-1 manager must supervise several people at different levels of responsibility at visa renewal time, we strongly recommends that the U.S. business be established and ready to operate (or be already operating with the help of U.S. personnel) at the time of the initial visa issuance.


Note: There is a specific green card category available for L-1 managers, called the EB-1 extraordinary ability green card. An L-1 manager who is highly qualified for the L-1 visa also has a good chance of qualifying for the Multinational Manager Green Card. The spouse of an L-1 manager or L-1 specialist can obtain a work authorization to work for any employer in any type of job.

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