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L-1 visas are nonimmigrant visas that allow employers to bring managers/executives or employees with “specialized knowledge”, to the United States for the purpose of assisting at a branch already established in the United States or establishing a branch in the United States. [1]  This type of visa is separated into two different visas based on the experience of the employee. L-1A visas are for managers and executives, and L-1B visas are for employees with specialized knowledge. In order to obtain either via, the employer and employee must meet certain requirements.[2]

The employee must have a required qualifying relationship with the company. This means that the employee must meet the definition of manager/executive or “specialized knowledge” in order to obtain one to the L-1 visas. In the case of the L-1A visa, an executive “generally refers to the employee’s ability to make decisions of wide latitude without much oversight,” while a manager “generally refers to the ability of the employee to supervise and control the work of professional employees and to manage the organization, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the organization.  It may also refer to the employee’s ability to manage an essential function of the organization at a high level, without direct supervision of others…”[3]  In the case of the L-1B visa, someone with specialized knowledge “means either special knowledge possessed by an individual of the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures.”[4] An employer seeking an L-1 visa for an employee has to have already been doing business with the United States. In this case, “doing business means the regular, systematic, and continuous provision of goods and/or services by a qualifying organization and does not include the mere presence of an agent or office of the qualifying organization in the United States and abroad.”[5]

Meeting these requirements, and more can be overwhelming. Your ability to meet the visa requirements is fact dependent. Although there is no limit to the number of L-1 visas that can be issued, obtaining these visas has become more and more difficult under the Trump administration. An attorney with knowledge of the system and the requirements will help you navigate the increasing scrutiny L-1 visa applications are being placed under.[6] For more information about L-1 visas, please contact us at

[1] L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (10/31/2018).
[2] L-1A Visa: Everything You Need to Know, upcounsel (2019).

[3] See Note 1.

[4] L-1B Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (10/31/2018).
[5] See Notes 1 and 4.
[6] Daniel Waldron and Sanwar Ali, US L1 visa petitions increase over past two years; new difficulties due to Trump changes, (11/24/2017).