L-1 Intracompany Transfer
Companies operating both in the U.S. and abroad can transfer certain classes of employees – executives, managers or employees with specialized knowledge – from foreign operations to their U.S. operations for up to seven years (for executives/managers) or five years (employees with specialized knowledge). The employee must have worked for a subsidiary, parent, affiliate or branch office of the U.S. company outside of the United States for at least one year out of the last three years.
The basic requirements include:
- Qualifying relationship – Foreign company must be related to a U.S. company in a qualifying relationship. A qualifying relationship consists of a parent/subsidiary, affiliate, 50/50 joint venture or branch office. The common element in all types of affiliations is controlled by the parent company of both the employee’s present foreign employer and future U.S. employer.
- Continuing foreign operations – Foreign company must continue to conduct business outside the U.S. for the entire time the employee is in L-1 status.
- Foreign employment capacity – Employee must have held an executive, managerial or specialized knowledge position with a foreign company for one year within three years preceding the application date.
- U.S. employment functions – Employee must perform executive, managerial or specialized knowledge function at a U.S. location.
- Temporary transfer to the U.S. – Transfer to be temporary, although permanent immigrant intent does not preclude obtaining L-1 visa status.
- U.S. physical premises – U.S. employer must have U.S. physical premises. The physical premises requirements can be met by presenting a purchase contract or lease agreement for the U.S.