- The foreign employee must have worked abroad for his/her overseas employer for at least one continuous year. This employment must have occurred within the three-year window immediately preceding the foreign employee’s admission to the United States.
- The U.S. employer must be a parent, branch, affiliate or subsidiary of the overseas employer.
- The employee must be entering the United States in order to serve in a managerial or executive capacity, or in a position requiring specialized knowledge.
- Nationality of the employee does not affect eligibility.
- Those holding executive or managerial positions (L1A category) may work in the United States for a maximum period of 7 years. (Initial validity period of 3 years + two 2-year extensions)
- Those holding specialized knowledge positions (L1B category) may work in the United States for a maximum period of 5 years. (Initial validity period of 3 years + one 2-year extension)
- When the foreign employee is coming to the United States to open a new office, initial validity period is limited to 1 year with extensions available in two-year increments.
Unless the U.S. employer has an L1 blanket petition approved by the USCIS, the employer must first file an L1 petition with the USCIS on behalf of the foreign employee. Upon approval, the employee may apply for an L1 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to travel to the United States under L1 visa category.