The L-1 visa is for employees of multinational corporations who wish to come to the U.S. to work for a U.S. parent, branch, or subsidiary corporation. In order to obtain an L-1 visa, you must either be coming to the U.S. in a managerial or executive capacity, or have specialized knowledge about the company. There is also the requirement that you must have worked abroad for the employer corporation continuously for one year out of the past three years, prior to coming to the U.S.
There are specific definitions in the law as to what constitutes a “managerial or executive capacity,” as well as “specialized knowledge.” Generally speaking, managers or executives are people who creates the goals and policies of the company, have discretion to make decisions, receive minimal supervision or direction from higher-ups, and have oversight over the organization and employees. Specialized knowledge involves advanced knowledge of the company’s products, markets, processes, and procedures.
L-1 status is granted in one, two, and three year increments, depending upon the employment when admitted. Additionally, L-1s may seek lawful permanent residence while in the U.S. in L-1 status. The H-1B is another temporary visa that allows this.Unlike the H-1B, however, there is no annual cap on L-1 visas.