As the global economy becomes more international in scope, more and more companies have offices in multiple countries. This creates a problem when employees from offices in different countries need permission to travel more freely in order to conduct business. The United States has created the L-1 visa category in order to make this process easier. The L-1 visa allows employees of international companies that have offices in foreign countries and the United States to travel to the United States for a temporary period of time for the purpose of work. An L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, but allows the holder to work in the United States for a temporary period of time. In most cases, L-1 visas allow the holder to remain and work in the United States for their company for up to three years.
To qualify for an L-1 visa, an applicant must work for a company that has offices both abroad and in the United States. In addition, the applicant must have worked at the company abroad for at least one year before applying for an L-1 visa. The US company for which the applicant works must be a sister company, child company, or parent company to the company abroad and the applicant must work for that company when working in the US under an L-1 visa.
Dependants of L-1 visa holder can secure an L2 visa, which allows spouses and dependents of visa holders to work in the United States for as long as the L-1 visa holder is allowed to remain in the United States. One of the advantages of the L-1 visa is that using the concept of dual intent, L-1 visa holders may even eventually pursue a green card in the United States work and live permanently in the US.
In 2010, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) only refused about 18% of L-1 visa applications. To improve your chances, you need to make sure that you apply for a L-1 visa only if your company meets the qualifications for an international company, as defined by the USCIS. You also need to make sure that you get the latest version of the L-1 visa application and complete it fully and completely, with no errors. To apply for the visa, you must file Form I-129 along with all the required documents for the visa.
In some cases, employers who meet the qualifications of an international company can apply for a blanket L-1 visa. This ensures that intercompany transferees and international employees can work at the US office with minimal paperwork. When employers are granted a blanket L-1 visa, individual employees only need to submit a copy of the blanket L-1 visa documentation as well as their own paperwork in order to qualify for a visa.