Intracompany Transferees

Including L-1A, L-1B, and EB-1-3

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Managers, executive, and those with key knowledge of company operations, technologies, or other strategic advantages may qualify immigration status based on transfer to the U.S. from a company with a formal relationship to the U.S. employer.

One of the key elements for an L-1 is establishing a link to international businesses: one in the U.S. and one outside. For Fortune 500s or other countries with large international offices, this can be simple (although this can also become complicated for mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs, or non-traditional company structuring such as through consultancy contracts). Streff Legal has created innovative solutions for helping smaller companies or consultancy efforts identify international collaboration or structuring that could lead to L-1 opportunities for a wide variety of employees. L-1 employees must have worked for one year abroad with a related employer in order to be eligible. The employment relationship need to be established during that one-year period, however; which can lead to robust L-1 options for new ventures, corporate acquisitions, and developing international business interests.

L-1 does not necessarily require the wage and employment conditions controls for H-1B, and so can sometimes be a more flexible option, for instance, for managers with frequent travel and changing geographic conditions. L-1 status is a temporary status, which is limited to 7 years for L-1A and 5 years for L-1B. Spouses for both L-1 categories can apply for employment authorization the entire duration of the L-1 stay.

L-1A Executive or Managers

L-1A status for managers and executives requires that a foreign national employee be in a position of significant responsibility, oversight, and control in the U.S., as well as during the one-year qualifying period of employment at the non-U.S. company. Generally, this requires that the foreign national has control of a specific company function, as well as substantial influence over other managerial or professional employees. 

The employer must show that there are employees whose work is directed by the foreign national, among other specific requirements. (1) The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires that an employer provide substantial detail showing the nature of the foreign national's work, including both the proposed work in the U.S. and the past work outside. 

L-1B Specialized Knowledge Workers

Employers may sponsor an employee for L-1B status if the employer can show that the employee has Specialized Knowledge of the employers operations, technology, business innovations, or other strategic advantages that are essential to an employer's business. The foreign national employee may have obtained that knowledge elsewhere, but often the specialized nature of the knowledge is proven by the fact that the employee has been working closely with the U.S. company through it's related company abroad. 

When evaluating an L-1B possibility, Streff Legal is always careful to also evaluate the position and foreign national worker for L-1A possibilities. After all, the scientist who has that highly specialized knowledge of a company's technology may very likely also be the manager of a lab who is overseeing a number of professional employees.

EB-1-3 Permanent Residence for Multinational Managers and Executives

L-1A provides a very direct route to Permanent Residence: the EB-1-3 category for Permanent Residence is for Multinational Managers or Executives, and its requirements are very close to the L-1A temporary category. EB-1-3 can be a little more challenging to obtain, but a successful L-1A petition is solid ground for getting to an approval for EB-1-3 Permanent Residence. L-1B has a less direct route to Permanent Residence, but shares some of the same advantages of H-1B, such as lessened travel restrictions. 


(1) Specifically, to prove a position managerial or executive, an employer must demonstrate a position meets the requirements under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA') § 101(a)(44)(A),(B).