The L1A visa is a nonimmigrant visa for foreign executives or managers being transferred to their company’s US offices. The L1A individual visa is one of the L1 visa types for intracompany transferees and allows US employers to transfer foreign employees in executive or managerial positions to one of their affiliated offices in the US. The L-1 visa also allows employers to bring foreign employees to the US with the purpose of establishing a new US branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of their organization.

L1A Visa Benefits

L-1A intracompany transferees gain the following benefits by obtaining an L-1A visa.

  • Visa holder may work, live, and travel legally within the US
  • Dependents of visa holder may accompany him or her to the US
  • L-1A visa holder may be able to apply for permanent residency.
  • Allows a foreign company to establish a branch in the US

L1A Executive or Manager

To qualify for the L1A individual visa, the employee must meet certain L1A visa requirements that define the executive or managerial role, and the petitioning US employer must include a complete list of duties and responsibilities of the role when submitting the petition.

L-1A managers and executives are expected to be responsible in the organizing, planning, directing, and controlling of major functions in an organization and enforce these roles through other employees under their direction.

The petitioning company may apply for L1A visa for a foreign employee if able to prove that the employee is entering the US. to serve in executive or managerial capacity.

Executive Capacity

Executive responsibilities may include:

  • Directing daily management of the organization
  • Establishing policies, goals, and procedures of the organization
  • Decision-making
  • Receiving general direction or supervision from high-level executives, stockholders, and board of directors

Managerial Capacity

Managerial responsibilities may include:

  • Managing the department or organization, function, subdivision, or part of the company
  • Supervising and controlling work of those in professional, managerial, or supervisory roles
  • Holding the power to fire, hire, and recommend personnel
  • Exercising direction over daily operations

L1A Visa Requirements & Eligibility

Petitioning US employers and their foreign employees must meet certain L1A visa requirements to qualify for the L-1A visa.

Employees

Employees must meet the following L1A visa requirements.

  • Employee should have been working for the organization abroad for at least one continuous year within the 3 years before entering the US; and
  • Employee is entering the US to work in a managerial or executive capacity (as described above) for a branch of the same organization or employer.

Employers

In addition to the employee requirements, the qualifying employer must demonstrate the following L1A employer requirements.

  • Must have a relationship with a parent, subsidiary, branch or affiliate foreign company; and
  • Currently doing business, or will be doing business, as an employer in the US and in at least one other country for the period of the employee’s stay in the US as an L-1A visa holder.

If the US employer is transferring the foreign employee with the purpose of establishing new offices, they must meet the following requirements.

  • The employer must show that he or she has secured sufficient physical premises to establish the new office;
  • The employer must show that the employee was employed for one continuous year in a managerial or executive position within the 3 years before filing the petition; and
  • The employer must demonstrate that the U.S. office will support the manager or executive within one year of the petition’s approval.

Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker

Once it is established that the petitioning employer and the foreign employee qualify to apply for L1A visa, the employer is responsible for completing and filing Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, on the behalf of the employee. The employer may also file a Blanket L1 Visa.

L1A Visa Application Process

To apply for an L-1A visa, both the employer and employee are involved. Generally, the L1A application process follows the below steps.

  • Have employer complete and submit Form I-129 along with the filing fees.
  • Obtain Form I-129 receipt number printed on an approved Form I-129 petition.
  • Complete Form DS-160 online.
  • Make an appointment for your visa interview.
  • Attend visa interview, bringing along all requiredL1 Visa Documents.

If the applicant is issued a visa, their passport will be returned back via a courier service to the visa collection or passport location you had specified while taking the appointment.

See L1 Visa Application Process for more information on applying for L1A visa.

L1A Visa Validity

Employees issued an L-1A visa may stay in the US for a maximum 7 years. L-1A visa holders transferred to establish a new office are allowed a maximum initial stay of one year, and all others are allowed a maximum initial stay of 3 years.

L1A visa extensions may be granted in increments of up to 2 years at a time until the maximum 7-year limit has been reached.

L2 Visa

Dependents of L-1A visa holders may accompany them to the US by obtaining an L-2 visa. Spouses and children under 21 years old of L-1A visa holders are eligible to apply for L2 visas.

For more information, visit L2 Visa.