Getting an L1 Visa: How to Qualify?

Obtaining an L1 Visa gives holders a better chance of residing in the US for good. That’s why many workers might grab the opportunity when their company expands in America.

Sad to say, not all are lucky to get one due to many obstacles. Besides, the burden lies on the sponsor company, from filing to either approval or denial.

So, it’s the right timing to dwell on the discussions below to understand further how to pass the L1 Visa screening successfully.

Requirements of an L1 Visa

According to this L1 Visa Guide, an L1 type is a non-immigrant working visa that allows multinational companies to send their local workers to expand their businesses in the US. However, there are requirements to meet for their workers to qualify.

Sponsoring US Company

First, a US company is the petitioner to sponsor such workers, provided that it has a qualifying legal relationship with the foreign company where the workers have originated.

In other words, the two companies are either the parent company or subsidiary, main branch or extension, or two subsidiaries or branches of the same umbrella company.

Such a qualifying relationship has been existing before the petitioning of the foreign workers. Therefore, it should last up to the completion of the endeavor or before the Visa expires.

Managerial or Executive Positions

Subsequently, the foreign workers are either managers or executives. These company leaders have full-time status, working 35 hours per week at a minimum.

Furthermore, they have been in their positions for a whole year straight, within the last three years before the petition. Thus, the entire one year is without interruption, meaning the manager or executive has not gone to the US in that year for any purpose.

Upon approval, the immigration would issue an L1A visa to these workers. Their period of stay is a maximum of seven years, non-renewable.

Employees with Specialized Knowledge 

In addition, foreign workers possessing specialized knowledge may have the chance to obtain an L1B visa. Having this Visa, they may enjoy an unextended five-year stay in the US.

In this criteria, the sponsoring company must prove that the workers’ advanced knowledge and special skills are significantly valuable. In addition, it means that the development, progress, and stability of the business lies in their specialty.

Fortunately, the law does not require proof of education to establish possessing advanced knowledge and special skills. Unlike an H1B visa, a bachelor’s degree related to employment is the minimum educational standard.

But like the L1A, the beneficiaries of L1B Visas should be full-time employees. They currently work in the company for an entire year without any travel to the US within the last three years before the petition.

What’s in it for L1 Visa Holders?

Upon approval, holders may enjoy other benefits other than their work and stay. For example, their spouse and unmarried below 21-aged children may avail of L1 dependent visas.

This visa grants work authorization privileges on the spouse and receiving education from any US academic institution for the children.

Also, their employers are free to pay them higher than the usual rate compensable to the position. They may go beyond the salary stipulation when the worker has been in a foreign company.

Not only that, L1 Visa holders and their families have the presumption of dual intent. They may stay in the US according to the years imposed on their visas or extend it by applying to become US citizens.

Drawbacks of an L1 Visa

Despite the enticing benefits, this Visa has its limitations as well. For example, L1 Visa holders do not have any privileges to work in companies other than their sponsor company or the petitioner.

Also, this Visa is non-renewable, and no extensions are available. Therefore, if holders have not worked their way to be green card holders, they must depart the US.


It appears that L1 Visa represents the intention of the US Federal Law of keeping the economy progressive while enforcing the security of America.

In particular, L1 Visa allows the expansion of multinational companies in the US. By doing so, it contributes to tax collections and job availability for natives.

For security, it limits the business and economic transactions of the workers within the bounds of their sponsoring company. Fortunately, all the burdens of the application lie on such a company and not to the worker.


Shankar is a tech blogger who occasionally enjoys penning historical fiction. With over a thousand articles written on tech, business, finance, marketing, mobile, social media, cloud storage, software, and general topics, he has been creating material for the past eight years.

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