Guberman & Appleby | Immigration Lawyers

What Is L-1 Status

What Is an L-1 status?

L-1 status is a nonimmigrant visa category allowing foreign nationals to enter the United States as a result of multinational companies transferring employees from their foreign operations to their U.S.-based offices. This visa category is intended for the temporary intracompany transfer of full-time employees in managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge positions.

To qualify for L-1 status, you must be able to prove employment with a qualifying organization. The employee must be transferred to the U.S. office to work in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity. The applicant must have been employed by the company for at least one continuous year at some point over the last three years.

The L-1 Visa Categories

There are two L-1 Visa Categories:

  1. L-1A Visa: This category is for managers or executives in foreign offices who are being transferred to a similar managerial or executive position in the U.S. company.
  2. L-1B Visa: This category is for employees with specialized knowledge who are being transferred to the U.S. company.

L-1 Visa Duration

An L-1A or an L-1B  is initially granted for up to three years. While extensions are possible, the maximum period is five years for L-1B and seven years for L-1A.

Dependent of L-1s

L-1 visa holders’ spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 are eligible for the associated L-2 dependent visas. They can accompany the L-1 visa holder to the U.S. and may also be eligible for work authorization depending on the circumstances. 

L-1 visa holders can also pursue permanent residence (a Green Card) while maintaining their L-1 status, which is called dual intent.

Work with a Leading US Immigration Lawyer and Obtain L-1 Status

Applying for L-1 status can be a complex process. The US immigration lawyers at Guberman // Appleby Immigration Lawyers are ready to guide you through the process every step of the way. If you would like more information about the L-1 category, contact us today.


The L-1 visa is for qualified employees of multinational companies who are being transferred to the United States to work in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity for their employer’s U.S. office or subsidiary. The L-2 visa is a derivative of the L-1 visa, as it is for dependent family members, such as the applicant’s spouse and unmarried children. As the L-2 visa is derivative, it is dependent on the principal L-1 visa holder’s status. If the primary L-1 visa holder’s status changes, the dependent L-2 visa holder’s status would be directly impacted. 

To qualify for an L-2 visa, the applicant must prove that their relationship with the L-1 visa holder is legitimate. The duration of an L-2 visa is typically exactly the same as the L-1 visa on which it is derivative. Upon arrival in the US, L-2 visa holders who are spouses,  can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which enables them to work in the US.