The L-1 is a temporary non-immigrant visa that enables the provisional transfer of foreign employees in the top-level occupation category to the United States to carry on their engagement with the same business or the subsidiary, division, parent company, or affiliate of the business.
If you have an L-1 visa, you may get an L-2 visa for your spouse and unmarried children who are no more than 21 years old. Also called the intra-company transferee, the L1 visa was first started to facilitate large, multinational corporations to transfer their workers to their operations in the US. Today, it is also helping small and medium businesses and startups working in foreign countries to enter the US and start their business there.
The good news is that there is no limitation placed on the L-1 visa in terms of your country or nationality. As long as you satisfy all the requirements for the visa, you can apply from any country.
You would be deemed a potential immigrant when you apply for the L-1 visa. In order to get the visa, so you must prove that you have no plan of immigrating to the United States. You would not be required to uphold continuous residence in a foreign country to maintain your L status. You can divide your work in the US and your home country if you have an L-1 visa; however, your company must employ you full-time.
Majority L-1 visa holders ultimately apply for green card if they meet the eligibility requirements. However, applying for a green card would not affect your L-1 admission to the US. In case you are considering the L-1 visa to attend a meeting, seminar, conference, training, or any other short-term event in the US, you should consider applying for the business visa instead.
It would take a maximum of 90 days for the US Embassy or Consulate to process your H, L, O, P, or Q visa application. The application fee for all of these visa types is $90. Be sure to pay the fee and submit the following application items for the H, L, O, P, or Q visa:
- DS-160 Form. If you don’t know about the DS-160, you may visit the USCIS website for more information
- A valid passport. Your passport must be acceptable for traveling to the US with a validity of 6 months more than the time you want to live in the US
- A recent photo (51x51mm) in the required format
- There may be an extra visa issuance fee for people of specific nationalities if the visa is issued
- L-1 applicants on a blanket petition are required to pay a fraud prevention and detection fee
- The receipt number on the I-129 petition
Besides the above items, the H, L, O, P, or Q visa applicants are required to bring along their interview appointment confirmation page in order to prove an appointment has been made for the interview. If you have any documents you think would support your case, be sure to bring them along and show them to the consular officer.
Remember, all H, L, O, P and Q visa applicants are required to have a petition approved by the USCIS. Make sure to approve the Form I-129 prior to applying for a work visa. As the petition gets approved, your employer or agent will get a notification in this regard. However, keep in mind that an approved petition does not mean you have been guaranteed a visa. You may be denied a visa if you don’t meet the specific eligibility requirements.
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