L-1 visas are available for intracompany transferees, i.e., certain types of employees who are transferred from a foreign company to a related company in the U.S.
The L-1 visa category is intended to facilitate international business by permitting the transfer of non-U.S. managers and specialized personnel into the U.S. by companies with operations in the U.S. and abroad. There are two types: L-1A and L-1B.
"L-1A" visas are available for executives and managers. They permit a maximum initial period of stay of up to three years, and a total period of stay of up to seven years.
"L-1B" visas are available for "specialized knowledge personnel." They permit a maximum initial period of stay of up to three years, and a total period of stay of up to five years.
L-2 visas are available for the Spouse or Child of Intracompany Transferees (L-1A or L-1B). Note that under current law L-2 Spouses CAN obtain authorization to WORK in the U.S.
The main requirements for L-1 visas are as follows:
1) The employee must have worked abroad in either (a) a managerial or executive position, or (b) in a position performing services entailing "specialized knowledge"; and must be coming to work in the U.S. in one of these capacities.
2) The company for which the employee worked abroad must be either the same company for which the employee will be working for in the U.S., or a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of that company.
3) The employee must have worked abroad for that particular company for one continuous year within the three year period immediately preceding the filing of the petition for the L-1 visa.
4) The employee must be qualified, in terms of education and experience, for the position.
5) The employee must intend to leave the U.S. at the end of the authorized period of stay.
6) The company in the U.S. and the related company abroad must continue doing business in the U.S. and in one foreign country during the entire period of the transfer.