L-1 Visa FAQs
- What is an L-1 blanket petition?
This petition allows employers to transfer multiple individuals to L-1 status without filing individual cases for each one. The blanket petition is designed for companies that frequently move employees from their foreign branches to their US branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates.
To qualify for filing a blanket petition, the US company must have at least 1,000 employees. The petitioner must have 3 or more domestic and foreign branches (or subsidiaries or affiliates). In the last year the US company must have sought at least 10 L-1 visas and the US company (and combined organizations that come under its corporate umbrella) must make at least $25 million per year.
Blanket petitions are initially good for 3 years and extensions can be filed thereafter.
- Is there a mandatory number of onsite subordinates required for an L-1A extension? Do offshore resources qualify as subordinates for this purpose?
There is no minimum number of onsite subordinates for an L-1A extension. USCIS will be evaluating the nature of the positions being supervised and the in-depth job duties of the L-1A manager. So, the level of professional being supervised is more important than the number of subordinates. L-1A managers are expected to be working in more of a supervisory capacity than continuously intervening in the tasks of those under him/her. With that said, while it's possible for offshore resources to be classified as subordinates—the type of supervisory relationship that USCIS is looking for will be more difficult to establish.
- Will a misdemeanor conviction for DUI be an obstacle to obtaining an L-1 visa?
Any DUI conviction within the last 5 years will result in referral to a physician during a visa interview. The doctor will examine you to determine if you have any substance abuse problems—this will probably result in a delayed visa approval.
- There is an L-1B blanket visa application filed on my behalf, but I've been on an approved leave of absence from my employer for X months. How important are paystubs for the visa interview?
L-1 status requires employment in a qualifying position for a continuous year out of the past three years. So, a 3-month gap in employment doesn't disqualify you but be prepared for the consulate to ask you to explain the gap.
- Can I apply for an EB1(c) green card if I worked in L-1B status for 2 years and then switched to L1A?
This depends on the nature of your L-1B and L-1A employment—an EB1(c) green card requires you to have held a managerial or executive position with the sponsor company outside of the US for at least one year.
- I worked on L-1B status for X years and then left the US. [Less than one year] later, I was sponsored for an H-1B cap case, but it was more than a year before I re-entered the US on H-1B status. Do the X years of my L-1B time still count against the 6-year max for H-1B?
For a reset of the H-1B clock, you need to have been outside of the US for at least a year at the time that the H-1B case is filed. Otherwise, the x years of L-1 time count towards the 6-year cap of H-1B time.
- Will an approved I-140 allow me to extend my L-1B status beyond 5 years?
No, a pending green card case will not permit you to extend your L-1 status. You may want to consider changing to H-1B status (and at the very least gaining an extra year).
- If an L-1B visa has been rejected by the consulate, how long do I need to wait before applying for an F-2 visa?
An L-1B denial would not ordinarily disqualify you from applying for an F-2 visa. There is no waiting period—the filing requirements are very different for each category.
- After [less than 6] years of L-1A status can I switch to H-1B?
While it's possible, you should keep in mind that L-1 time counts towards the 6-year H-1B max. And you would need to be counted against the H-1B cap (petition must go through the lottery) or qualify as cap-exempt. You may be able to extend your H-1B time if you have an approved I-140 .
- How long can I remain with my L-1 employer if I have an approved change of status to H-1B [with a new employer]?
Your H-1B petition has a start date and that is when you should begin work with the new employer. You may be able to remain with your L-1 employer in the period following H-1B approval and the start date, but after that, you must move to the H-1B employer.
- I'm in L-1 status with an approved I-140, can I change to H-1B without entering the lottery?
No, unless the H-1B employer is cap-exempt or you have previously been counted against the H-1B cap, there are no other exceptions. The I-140 does not give you any privilege of circumventing the lottery.
- I'm in L-1 status, can I work for another business while maintain my L-1 employment?
No. L-1 status authorizes work for the L-1 employer only, any other employment is prohibited, even if you're not compensated.
- Should I remain in the US if I have 5 months left in my L-1 status and my employer is going to sponsor me for an EB1 green card?
That depends on how good of a case you have for the EB1 category. **time sensitive question, answer depends on whether premium processing is available for the category of I-140** If no premium processing, then I-485 needs to be filed concurrently with the I-140. It is recommended that you have your EB1 case be evaluated by an attorney.
- I'm in L-1B status and have an approved I-140 (EB2). Can I extend my status under AC21?
The extension provisions in the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act only apply to H-1B status holders. Nothing comparable exists for the L-1A or B categories which are capped at 7 and 5 years respectively.
- I have an approved L-1 blanket petition, my work requires me to be outside of the US for more than a year—is my visa affected because I am not working full-time in the US?
No, your visa is not impacted as long as the work you are doing is what is specified in your L-1B petition--it does not matter if you're outside the US.
- I'm an L-1 visa holder, can my dependents work in the US if they're in L-2 status?
Yes, your spouse and any children under the age of 21 may seek employment authorization and work in the US in L-2 status as long as you continue to properly maintain your L-1 status.