The L -1 visa category is one of the most useful tools available to international companies needing to bring foreign employees to the United States.
To qualify for an intra-company transferee (L-1) visa, the transferee must meet the following requirements -
1. Is seeking to enter the U.S.for a temporary period
2. To perform services of a managerial or executive position, or involving specialized knowledge. A manager can hire and fire employees whom he supervises and controls; an executive is a person who has authority to sign company checks and make policy decisions; a person who has proprietary knowledge has the type of knowledge which is unique to or used in a particular business - customer lists, trade secrets or a secret recipe, which are essential to the operation of the business.
3. Have worked overseas in the same capacity with the same company, affiliate or subsidiary of the company for a minimum period of one year in the preceding three years immediately prior to filing the visa application.
4. The employee must be qualified for the position by virtue of his or her prior education and experience.
The employee may be admitted to the U.S in L-1 status for the period of time required by the employer, up to a maximum initial period of stay of three years.
The total period of stay may reach seven years for managers and executives, and five years for specialized knowledge personnel.
To begin the process, the U.S employer must file a petition with the USCIS with supporting documents in order to obtain permission to transfer a foreign national for a temporary period.
Once the petition is approved, the approved petition is sent to a U.S. consulate where the employee can obtain an L-1 visa to enter the United States.