Tips to Applying for an L Visa
In today’s modern marketplace, businesses are expanding across the globe, often with branches or offices in many different countries. Employers looking to transfer foreign employees within the company from an office abroad to the United States might wish to take advantage of the L-1A or L-1B visas. Below are some things you should know as you navigate the L Visa process.
- Employees applying for an L-1 visa must have worked for a related company abroad for at least one consecutive year within the previous three years and must be transferring to the U.S. to work at a related company like a parent office, branch office, affiliate or subsidiary.
- The L-1 visa is divided into two categories – L-1A and L-1B. L-1A visas are for managers and executives of the company and L-1B visas are for workers with specialized knowledge of the company’s products, services, research, equipment or other interests. Spouses and dependent children can accompany an L-1 visa applicant to the United States and must apply to obtain an L-2 visa.
- The L visa status is limited. L-1A visas have a maximum stay allowance of seven years and L-1B visas max out at five years. However, L visa holders may apply for a change of status to another nonimmigrant visa or a legal permanent residence visa.
- Employers must petition for the employee by submitting Form I-129 to the USCIS for approval. Upon approval, the applicant may apply for the L-1 visa at a consular post or change status, if in the U.S.
- If consular processing, applicants should review their consulate post for information regarding required forms and other necessary documentation, current consular fees and interview appointment wait times. In addition to standard application fees, first time L Visa applicants will be required to pay a fraud prevention and detection fee, currently $500.
- During their visa interview at the consulate, L visa applicants should be prepared to answer detailed questions regarding their U.S. employer and position. Consulate offices are growing more and more diligent in their efforts to prevent fraudulent applications and visa issuance.
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