The L visa is available to executives, managers, and employees with specialized knowledge who work in a multinational company. It allows the company to transfer the employee from a position abroad to a position with a U.S. affiliate, branch, parent, or subsidiary. This visa can also be used to set up an office within the United States.
The L visa allows a U.S. employer to transfer an employee from one of its foreign offices to an office located within the United States. It also allows a foreign company to send an employee to the United States to establish an office.
The employee must be coming to the United States in an executive or managerial capacity or have specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests. Generally, the employee should have been working for the employer for one year within the three years immediately preceding entry to the United States.
To apply, the employer must file a petition on the employee’s behalf to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
L visa holders are allowed a maximum initial stay of three years. Those who are on an L visa to establish a U.S. office are allowed a maximum initial stay of one year. L nonimmigrants may request extension in increments of two years, with a maximum of five or seven years, depending on the L classification.
L nonimmigrants may be accompanied by their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21. Spouses may apply for work authorization and there is no restriction where the spouse may work.
L non-immigrants may be eligible for a permanent immigrant visa, also known as a green card, based on their position as a manager or an executive.