While the L1-A visa or L-1B visa are considered non-immigrant employment-based visas, there is a myriad of immigration considerations raised by the granting of an L-1 series visa. The worker granted L1 worker status may be concerned about the things that he or she can and cannot do while in the United States. As part of these concerns, the visa-holder may wonder if his or her spouse and children are permitted to accompany the worker to the United States. And if so, the worker may also wonder if his or her spouse will be permitted to work while living in the country.

What is an L-1 Visa and How Does One Qualify?

The L-1 visa series is reserved for nonimmigrant employment purposes. That is, the visa class is intended to facilitate and accomplish the intracompany transfer of an executive or manager (L-1A) or the intracompany transfer of an employee with specialized knowledge (L-1B). Through this visa, a U.S. based employer may transfer an executive, manager, or one holding special skills to a United States based office.  For either the L-1A or L-1B visa a number of requirements apply including:

  • The employer must have a qualifying relationship with a foreign corporation, subsidiary, or other qualifying organization.
  • The employer must have or is expected to have ongoing business operations as an employer in the United States and at least one other nation.
  • The employee must have worker for a qualifying organization in a foreign nation for at least one year within the past three years.

Aside from these generalized qualifications, the employee must also be seeking employment as an executive or managerial role for the L-1A visa or provide services in a specialized knowledge capacity for the L-1B visa. For purposes of the L-1 visa, executive capacity means the employee makes decisions with little oversight. Managerial capacity means the employee is able to supervise and control the work of other professionals or the individual’s ability to manage essential functions of the organization.  An individual with specialized knowledge can include specialized knowledge regarding a particular product, service, piece of equipment, application of a technique, and management skills along with many other potential applications of specialized knowledge. If the purpose of the L-1 visa is for a foreign employer to establish a new office in the United States additional requirements apply. First the employer must have secured an ample physical location for the office or facility. Additionally, if through an L-1A visa, the employee must meet previous managerial experience requirements and the office must support an executive or managerial potion within one year of the visa’s approval. If the new office is to be established through an L-1B visa then the employer must have the financial ability to commence business in the United States and to compensate its employee.

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What Rights or Benefits do the Family Members of an L-1 Worker Have?

A worker who has been conferred L-1A or L-1B status to transfer to the United States-based division, subsidiary, or business is likely to wonder how his or her status will affect family members. As a general rule, the transferring employee may be accompanied by his or her spouse and unmarried children who have not yet reached 21 years of age. Alternatively, these family members may come later and follow the transferring employee. However, these family members may not simply arrive in the United States. Family members who wish to accompany or follow the L-1 visa-holder must apply for an L-2 nonimmigrant visas. Family members that are already present within the borders of the United States can change their status or apply to remain in L-2 classification via Form I-539. The spouse of the holder of an L-1 visa may typically work. However, the spouse must first apply for work authorization. Application for Employment Authorization can be filed via Form I-765. If the work authorization is granted, the spouse does not typically face any restrictions on his or her place of employment. The family members of the L-1 visa holder are generally permitted to stay in the country for as long as the employee is permitted to remain in the country. orlando immigration attorney

Rely on our Orlando Immigration Lawyers

The experienced employment-based Orlando immigration attorneys of Colombo & Hurd can help businesses understand the full scope of their immigration options. We can handle every step of the technical application process and any inquiries that may be performed by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or other federal agencies. To schedule a confidential legal consultation call an L-1 visa lawyer of Colombo and Hurd at (800) 659-7142 or contact us online.