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4 Things To Know About L Visas Under US Immigration Laws


One of the most common reasons a Canadian citizen goes to the US for any length of time is for employment, which is why the US Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) has established a classification for temporary, nonimmigrant workers. There are two categories in this group for intracompany transfers by a US employer from a foreign office into a US location:

  1. L-1A Visa for employees who work in management or executive positions; and,
  2. L-1B Visa for those who possess specialized knowledge.

With both types of L visas, there are strict rules for both the employee and the employer. Errors can lead to serious problems, so it is critical to retain a Mississauga US immigration lawyer to ensure a smooth process. In addition, a few facts about L visas may help you understand the basic legal framework. 

  1. Eligibility: USCIS regulations require a person to have worked for at least 1 of the last 3 years for the organization seeking the intracompany transfer. Plus, there are specific criteria based upon the two classifications mentioned above:
  • An executive is someone who has authority to make expansive decisions on behalf of the company without oversight.
  • A person in management is empowered to supervise, control, and direct employees.
  • Specialized knowledge refers to either a detailed, specific understanding of the organization’s product or services, OR an advanced level of expertise in the company’s processes. 
  1. Requirements for New Offices: With respect to both L-1A and L-1B visas, a company may be looking to open a new office where the temporary, nonimmigrant employee will work. Under the circumstances, the employer must prove that:
  • It has already secured the space for the new office; and,
  • It has sufficient financial resources to compensate the employee and start doing business from the new office. 
  1. Length of Stay: Those that qualify for a -1A and L-1B visa are allowed a maximum stay of 3 years, but workers can apply for an extension for an additional 2 years. In total, a L visa holder is limited to 7 years. Note that a temporary, nonimmigrant employee who enters the US to open a new office has just one year as the maximum initial stay. 
  1. Family Members and L Visas: An employee who transfers to the US office can bring a spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21. These individuals may qualify for L-2 visas, and they can stay in the US for as long as the L-1 visa holder. Spouses may be authorized to work in the US by obtaining proper documentation.

A Mississauga US Immigration Lawyer Will Guide You Through the Process

These facts about L visas under US immigration laws are helpful, but you can see why experienced representation is crucial. To learn how our team assists both employers and employees with temporary, nonimmigration visas, please contact Zagazeta Garcia Lawyers LLP. You can call 905-232-0398 or visit our website to set up a free consultation. Our office serves clients in Mississauga, Brampton and the Peel Region, and we look forward to hearing from you.



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