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Frequently Asked Questions

What type of relationship has to exist between the U.S. office and the foreign entity abroad to qualify for the L-1 visa category?

The new U.S. office must have a corporate relationship with the foreign entity abroad where you have been employed as a manager, executive, or worker with specialized knowledge. This means that the new U.S. office must be a parent, affiliate, subsidiary or branch of the foreign entity, and that both the U.S. office and the foreign entity must continue to share common ownership and control.

What is the definition of “specialized knowledge”?

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

What responsibilities must an Executive/Manager have to qualify?

Generally, an Executive must have the ability to make decisions of wide latitude without much oversight. A Manager must have the ability to supervise and control the work of professional employees and to manage the organization, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the organization. It may also refer to the ability to manage an essential function of the organization at a high level, without direct supervision of others.

Are there additional rules that apply if I’m a Manager or Executive who is coming to the United States open a new office?

A special definition of Manager applies when you are coming to set up a new U.S. office or purchase a new business. In a new office situation, you must demonstrate that your employer has secured sufficient physical office space, that you were employed as an Execute of Manager for one continuous years before you file the petition, and that the new office will be able to sustain a Manager or Executive transferee within one year of approval of the petition.

Do I still qualify for an L-1 visa if I don’t have a Bachelor’s Degree?

There is no minimum education requirement for L-1A visa applications. You can still qualify without a Bachelor’s degree as long as you met all the general requirements for the L-1A visa. Thus, as long as you have worked for a corporation as Executive or a Manager, or you have specialized knowledge, you may be eligible to qualify for an L-1 visa.

May I change my work location when I’m in L-1 status?

If you are taking a position with similar duties with the same employer at one of the companies’ branches or an affiliated company, then you will be able to change to a new work location. You will still have to file an amendment petition and notify USCIS of the change. If you intend to work for a different employer, you will have to apply for a different visa category.

Are my spouse and children allowed to come with me to the United States?

Yes, you may be accompanied or followed by your spouse and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. Your spouse may apply for work authorization, and your children may attend school in the United States.

Will I be able to become a permanent resident as a result of my L-1 Status?

If you have come to the United States as an Executive or Manager under L-1A, you may be eligible to become a permanent resident through the first preference employment-based (EB-1) visa category if your employer is willing sponsor you. Your employer must file USCIS Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.

If you have come to the United States as an L-1B employee with specialized knowledge, you may qualify to become a permanent resident though the second employment-based (EB-2) visa category if you have an advanced degree or have exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business. This category requires an alien labor (PERM) certification. You may also qualify through the third employment-based (EB-3) preference category if you are a professional with a bachelor’s degree or if you are a skilled work with a minimum of two years training and experience. This category also requires an alien labor (PERM) certification.