What Type of Employees can be Sponsored for L-1 Visas?

There are two types of employees who can be sponsored for L-1 visas:


The legal definition of management and executive roles for these purposes is quite strict, and a detailed description of the duties attached to the position will be required. In particular, the executive or manager should have supervisory responsibility for professional staff and/or for a key function, department or subdivision of the employer. Such personnel are issued an L-1A visa, initially for a three-year period that can be extended to a maximum of seven years.

Specialized Knowledge Staff

This category covers those with knowledge of the company's products/services, research, systems, proprietary techniques, management, or procedures. Workers in this category are issued an L-1B visa, initially for three years, which can be extended to a maximum of five years.

On completing the maximum allowable period in L-1 status, the employee must be employed outside the United States for a minimum of one year before a new application is made for L or H status.

What are the Advantages of an L-1 Visa?

The visa holder:

  • Is permitted to travel in and out of the U.S. or remain here continuously until the L-1 status expires.
  • Can apply for visas of accompanying relatives.
  • Can apply for a Green Card through employment and skip a major step of that process (no Labor Certification requirements).

What are the Limitations of an L-1 Visa?

The visa holder can only work for the U.S. employer who acted as the L-1 visa sponsor.

What is the Difference between an L-1A Visa and an L-1B Visa?

  • The L-1A visa is for managers and executives. The L-1A visa holder can apply for a Green Card without going through the process of Labor Certification.
  • The L-1B visa is for key employees (accountants, computer programmers, etc). with specialized knowledge of the company's products or procedures