As you may be aware, bringing a foreign worker to the US on an H-1B temporary work visa is difficult because there are a limited numbers available each year, and the visa is so over-subscribed that only about 1 out of 3 are picked up in the lottery.

If there is a company with an overseas subsidiary, another possible visa for a foreign worker is an L-1 (intra-company transferee) which is a non-immigrant petition filed by a company on behalf of an employee coming to the United States temporarily to work for the company in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity.  The employee must have worked for the company or its related entity overseas for at least one year, either in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity within the three years preceding application for admission.

Qualifying Relationship Between Overseas Company and U.S. Company:  the overseas company and U.S. company must show a qualifying relationship such as parent, subsidiary, affiliate, joint venture, proprietorship ,or branch office.

L-1 Requirements: The L-1 individual may work in either a Managerial/Executive or Specialized Knowledge capacity, and the individual must have worked for the foreign entity at least one year in the prior three years.  Note:  If the individual wishing to come to the United States on L-1 is an owner or major stockholder of the petitioning company, the USCIS requests evidence that the individual is coming to the United States temporarily, and will be transferred to an assignment abroad, after completion of the temporary assignment in the U.S.

L-1A:  Managerial Capacity:   First line supervisors are not considered managerial unless they are supervising professional-level employees.   Therefore, to be managerial, the person must either be managing other managers or managing professional-level employees who have at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. An L-1A managerial capacity employee may work for a maximum of 7 years in L-1A status.

L-1A Executive Capacity:  The person must direct the management of the company or one of its major functions; he or she must establish policies and goals; he or she must exercise wide latitude in discretionary decision making; and must only receive general supervision or direction from higher level executives.  An L-1A executive capacity employee may work for a maximum of 7 years in L-1A status.

L-1B: Specialized Knowledge:  For specialized knowledge capacity, the individual must have specialized knowledge in the company’s products, processes or procedures.  If individual is coming to the US in a specialized knowledge capacity, then the individual can only be located off-site, if the sponsoring company will continue to maintain control over the individual’s work.  Specialized knowledge of the company’s products or processes must be necessary for the job.  An L-1B specialized knowledge employee may work for a maximum of 5 years in L-1B status.  L-1B status is very difficult to get.

Blanket L-1’s:  A blanket L-1 allows a company to pre-qualify for L-1 status for its qualified employees.  With an approved blanket petition, there is no need for the company to file a separate petition for each L-1 employee.  Only certain companies can qualify for blanket petitions.  Namely, a company must meet normal L-1 requirements, plus have 3 or more branches, affiliates or subsidiaries and must have combined U.S. annual sales of at least $25 million, at least 1,000 employees (U.S.), or received approval of at least 10 L petitions in prior year.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed to be indefinitely up to date. This information is of a general nature and is not intended to apply to any specific or particular circumstance.