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The ABCs of the L-1A Visa: An Easy to Understand Guide

For companies looking to expand their operations into the United States, the L-1A visa is a viable option to transfer key executives or managers to their U.S. company.

This nonimmigrant visa category enables qualified individuals to live and work temporarily in the United States. In this blog, we will delve into the fundamentals of the L-1A visa, including its purpose, eligibility requirements, and the duration of stay it grants.

What is the L-1A Visa?

The L-1A visa is a nonimmigrant visa category designed to facilitate the intracompany transfer of executives or managers from a foreign branch, subsidiary, or affiliate to a qualifying U.S. entity. It enables companies to leverage their personnel resources and expertise to establish or expand their presence in the United States.

Who can apply for an L-1A Visa?

To be eligible for an L-1A visa, applicants must meet specific criteria, which includes:

  • Qualifying Relationship: The applicant must have been employed in an executive or managerial capacity by a qualifying foreign entity for at least one continuous year within the past three years. The foreign entity must have a qualifying relationship with the U.S. entity, such as being a parent company, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate.

  • Executive or Managerial Role: The applicant must be entering the United States to continue their employment in an executive or managerial position. An executive is primarily responsible for directing the organization's operations and establishing goals and policies. A manager oversees the organization or a key department, supervising the work of other professionals or managing an essential function.

  • U.S. Company Requirements: The U.S. entity must be a branch, subsidiary, affiliate, or parent company of the foreign entity. The applicant's position must be intended to primarily manage or direct the organization.

What is the L-1A Visa Used For?

The L-1A visa is primarily used to facilitate the transfer of executives and managers within multinational organizations.This also includes U.S. start-ups and small businesses.

The L-1A visa allows visa holders to work in the United States in a managerial or executive capacity for the qualifying U.S. entity.

Duration of Stay on the L-1A Visa:

The initial period of stay granted on an L-1A visa is for 12 months and up to three years.

Extensions of stay can be granted in increments of up to two years, for a maximum total stay of seven years for L-1A visa holders. It's important to note that L-1A visa holders may be eligible to pursue permanent residency (a green card).

The L-1A visa provides an advantageous pathway for multinational companies to transfer executives and managers to the United States, promoting business growth and expansion. Familiarizing yourself with the basics of the L-1A visa, including its purpose, eligibility requirements, and duration of stay, is essential for individuals considering this visa category.

To ensure a smooth and successful visa application process, it is strongly encouraged to consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can provide personalized guidance tailored to your specific circumstances. By leveraging the opportunities offered by the L-1A visa, multinational organizations can establish a strong presence in the United States while benefiting from the expertise and leadership of their key personnel.

If you are looking to apply for an L-1A visa, give us a call. We can help you in everything from identifying a qualified immigration attorney to creating a solid immigration business plan that raises your chances of an L-1A visa approval.


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Visa Business Plans is led by Marco Scanu, a certified coach from the University of Miami with a globally-based practice coaching Fortune 1000 company executives, entrepreneurs, as well as professionals in four different continents. Mr. Scanu advises clients on turnaround strategies and crisis management.

Mr. Scanu received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Cum Laude) from the University of Florida and an MBA in Management from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Mr. Scanu was also a Visiting Scholar at Michigan State University under the prestigious H. Humphrey Fellowship (Fulbright program) with a focus on Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, and high-growth enterprises.

At present, Mr. Scanu is the managing partner and CEO at Visa Business Plans, a Miami-based boutique consulting firm providing attorneys and investors with business planning services in the areas of U.S. and Canadian immigration, SBA loans, and others.