The L nonimmigrant visa category is one of the most useful tools available to international companies who need to bring qualified foreign employees to the United States.
If a few basic requirements are met, the company can gain access to the many advantages of the L visa category.
1. Compared to E visa.
An E visa can also be used by international companies to bring their foreign employees to the United States, but an E visa is available only when the following three conditions are met:
a. A treaty must exist between the United States and the foreign country under whose treaty the E status is sought;
b. Majority ownership or control of the investing or trading company must be held by nationals of the foreign country under whose treaty the E status is sought;
c. Each employee or principal of the company who is seeking the E status pursuant to the treaty must hold citizenship of the country under whose treaty the status is sought.
At the present time, there are many countries that do not have such treaties with the United States. For those countries, an E visa is simply not available and an L visa might be a good alternative.
2. Compared to B visa.
Generally speaking, a B-1 visa can be used for some business activities, such as the opening of bank accounts, acts of incorporation, signing of contracts, and the like. A B-1 visa is particularly helpful during the inception stages of setting up a U.S. business.
However, a B-1 visa holder cannot work in the U.S. Unless another visa with employment authorization is obtained, employment is a violation of status, meaning when the business activity has advanced to such a degree that it constitutes local employment, the B-1 holder will be unable to fulfill such duties or risks violating status.
3. Compared to H Visa
An H visa is very similar to an L visa in many aspects, such as the limitation on the accumulated authorized period of stay and petition procedure. The major difference is that the employment privilege granted to an L visa holder, in theory, cannot be substituted by a U.S. worker. Therefore, an L visa holder is not required to be paid the prevailing wage for the position he or she assumes.
4. EB-1(c) category considerations
A specific employment-based immigrant preference category (EB-1(c)) was created for managers and executives who meet the L-1 standards and are interested in becoming lawful permanent residents (LPRs). These aliens are considered "priority workers" in the first preference, which is allotted 40,000 annual immigrant visas. Although L-1 status is not a prerequisite for immigrant benefits in this category, the immigrant petitioner’s prior L-1 status provides a stronger case for the EB-1(c) immigrant petition .
L visa holders do not have to maintain a foreign residence during their U.S. stay, and they may seek permanent residence and still maintain L status. Filing a petition for permanent residence status will not negatively impact L status.
Family members of the L-1 alien, classified in the L-2 category, may be granted authorization to work in the United States after filing for and being granted an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
For more information on L visa, please click on the following
Benefits of L visa
Requirements for L visa
Requirement Details I: Qualifying entities
Requirement Details II: Qualifying Position
Procedure for obtaining an initial L visa
Obtain and maintain an L visa
From L Status to Green Card
Documents and Information Needed
L-1 Status in I-485 Pending Period
Attorney and Filing Fees for L Visa
Memo: Be Aware of Abandonment of COS and AOS Applications
L-1 visa FAQ