L1 Visa work status in the United States is reserved for two categories of workers: (1) L1A Managerial or Executive (2) L1B Specialized Knowledge. Workers that fall into these categories may be eligible for transfer to a U.S. office of a foreign company on an L1 visa.
L-1A: If the petition is for L-1A status, the prospective employment in the United States must be of managerial or executive capacity. A major advantage to this classification is that an L-1A executive or manager will often be eligible for permanent residence (green card) in the Untied States.
- U.S. Immigration Law defines “managerial capacity” as an assignment within an organization in which the employee primarily: (1) manages the organization, or a department, subdivision, function, or component thereof; (2) supervises and controls the work of other professional or managerial employees, or manages an essential function within the organization, has authority to hire and functions at a senior level within the organization; (3) exercises discretion over day-to-day operations of the activity or function for which the employee has authority.
- U.S. Immigration Law defines “executive capacity” to mean an assignment within an organization in which the employee primarily directs the management of the organization or a major component or function thereof; establishes goals and policies; exercises wide latitude in discretionary decision-making and receives only general supervision from higher level personnel.
L-1B: If the petition is one for L-1B status, the prospective employment in the United States must involve the use of specialized knowledge.
- U.S. Immigration Law defines “specialized knowledge” as a special knowledge possessed by an individual of the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures.
- The terms “special” or “advanced” knowledge requires more than a short period of experience such as two or three years.
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