The L1 category applies to aliens who work for a company with a parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate in the United States.  These workers come to the U.S. as "intracompany transferees" who are coming temporarily to perform services either in a managerial or executive capacity (L1A) or which entail specialized knowledge (L1B) for a parent, branch, subsidiary or affiliate of the same employer that employed the professional abroad.

The employee must have been employed abroad for the corporation, firm, or other legal entity (or its affiliate or subsidiary) on a full time basis for at least one continuous year out of the last three year period to qualify.  There is currently no annual cap on L1 visas.  Compensation level is not prescribed, but U.S. income must be sufficient to prevent the transferee from becoming a public charge.

A U.S. employer or foreign employer (with a legal business in the U.S.) may submit the I-129 petition with supporting documentation to the USCIS.  Supporting documentation includes:

  • Evidence of the qualifying relationship between the U.S. and the foreign employer which address ownership and control, such as an annual report, copies of articles of incorporation, financial statements, or stock certificates;
  • A letter from the transferee's foreign qualifying employer detailing his or her dates of employment, job duties, qualifications and salary and demonstrating that the transferee worked for the employer abroad for at least one continuous year within the three year period before the filing of the petition in an executive or managerial capacity or in a position involving specialized knowledge; and
  • A detailed description of the proposed job duties and qualifications and evidence the proposed employment is in an executive or managerial capacity or in a position involving specialized knowledge.

Blanket L Petition

Employers who regularly file L petitions may wish to consider filing for a blanket L petition to obtain continuing approval for itself (and some or all of its parents, branches, subsidiaries and affiliates in the U.S.).  This simplifies the process of approving and admitting additional individual L1A and L1B workers.

The blanket L petition must be filed by a U.S. employer who will be the single representative between USCIS and the qualifying organizations, and must be filed with copies of evidence that:

  • The petitioner and its branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates are engaged in commercial trade or services;
  • The petitioner has an office in the U.S. that has been doing business for one year or more;
  • The petitioner has 3 or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates;
  • The petitioner and its qualifying organizations have obtained approved petitions for at least 10 L1 professionals during the previous year or have
  • U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of at least 25 million dollars, or have a U.S. work force of at least 1,000 employees.

After approval of a blanket petition, the petitioner may file for individual employees to enter as L1 professionals under the blanket petition.  If the transferee is outside the U.S., a completed Form I-129S and a copy of the Form I-797(USCIS approval notice) must be submitted. If the transferee is already in the U.S., the petitioner may file an I-129 to request a change of status, based on this blanket petition. An I-129 petition for a change of status must be filed with:

  • A copy of the approval notice for the blanket petition;
  • A letter from the alien's foreign employer detailing the alien's dates of employment, job duties, qualifications and salary for the 3 previous years; and
  • If the alien is a specialized knowledge professional, a copy of a U.S. degree, a foreign degree equivalent to a U.S. degree, or evidence establishing the combination of the beneficiary's education and experience is the equivalent of a U.S. degree.