L‑1 Intracompany Transferee
The L‑1 category allows multinational corporations to temporarily transfer certain employees to their U.S. facilities. The threshold requirement is that the employee has worked for the company for at least one year (in the last three) prior to transferring to the United States. An L‑1 petitioner must document that a qualifying relationship exists between the U.S. company and its foreign parent, subsidiary, affiliate or branch. The general rule is that one company must have effective control of the other, although the CIS will consider joint ventures or situations where there is less than majority ownership but effective control of the other, such as by veto power. There are two types of L‑1s: the L‑1A for managers and executives, and the L‑1B for those who have “specialized knowledge” of the company’s product or an advanced level of knowledge of processes and procedures of the company. The CIS definition of managerial capacity includes management of an organization or management of a function of the company. This category does not include front line supervisors unless the employees they supervise are other professionals. Usually an L‑1 petition may be initially approved for three years, and extended in two-year increments. An L‑1A manager/executive may normally stay a maximum of seven years in the U.S.; an L‑1B “specialized knowledge” professional may stay a maximum of five years. The usual procedure is to file an individual L‑1 petition with the CIS. For larger companies with many transferees each year, there is an option to file for a blanket L‑1 petition approval. Upon approval of a blanket petition, individual petitions no longer need be filed with the CIS, thus cutting processing times. CIS processing times for individual L‑1 petitions can be several months. An additional $1000 fee can be paid to the CIS for “premium processing” so that the CIS will adjudicate an L‑1 (or H‑1B) petition within 15 days (or at least issue a request for more evidence needed to promptly adjudicate such a petition).