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L-1 visa allows companies operating both in the U.S. and abroad to transfer certain employee from its foreign operations to the U.S. operations. Unlike H-1B, L-1 has no prevailing wage requirement.

For L-1, an alien employee must have worked for his or her foreign company continuously for one year within three years period prior to his or her L-1 filing. L-1 has two subcategories:  managerial or executive capacity (L-1A) or specialized knowledge (L-1B).

“Managerial capacity” means an assignment within an organization in which the employee primarily: (1) Manages the organization, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the organization; (2) Supervises and controls the work of other supervisory, professional, or managerial employees, or manages an essential function within the organization, or a department or subdivision of the organization; (3) Has the authority to hire and fire or recommend those as well as other personnel actions (such as promotion and leave authorization) if another employee or other employees are directly supervised. If no other employee is directly supervised, functions at a senior level within the organizational hierarchy or with respect to the function managed; and (4) Exercises discretion over the day-to-day operations of the activity or function for which the employee has authority. A first-line supervisor is not considered to be acting in a managerial capacity merely by virtue of his or her supervisory duties unless the employees supervised are professional.

“Executive capacity” means an assignment within an organization in which the employee primarily: (1) Directs the management of the organization or a major component or function of the organization; (2) Establishes the goals and policies of the organization, component, or function; (3) Exercises wide latitude in discretionary decision-making; and (4) Receives only general supervision or direction from higher level executives, the board of directors, or stockholders of the organization.

“Specialized knowledge” means 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.

For opening a new office, an alien must show that he or she has taken steps to establish an operation in the U.S., such as leasing office space, printing letterhead, installing telephone lines, and opening bank accounts.  

L-1 is generally approved for an initial period of three years. If it is for setting up a new office, it is granted  for only one year.



Yang & Associates, LLP has offices in Silicon Valley area, California and Downtown Chicago, Illinois. It specializes in immigration law and provides comprehensive immigration legal services to individuals, businesses, and universities. It is dedicated to providing the highest quality services with a competitive fee schedule. Its attorneys have handled hundreds of EB-1A, EB-1B, NIW, PERM, H-1B, L-1, O-1, EB-5, I-485, I-130, J-1 waiver and other types of immigration cases. If you have any questions or need a free case evaluation, please contact our attorneys at:

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