L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa

US Visa in Thailand

The L-1 Intracompany Transfer visa allows multinational companies to send their key personnel to their US operations temporarily or permanently. Managers, executives, and workers with specialized knowledge can obtain the L-1 classification and work in the United States for a period between five and seven years.

The US Company they’re working for must be a branch office, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of the foreign company. Unlike other US Visas, the L-1 Visa is not eligible for self petition as the US Company must file the petition on the employees behalf. Hence, the US company is the petitioner, and the L-1 visa recipient is the beneficiary. For individuals looking to enter the US and start their own business, the E-2 visa is the best option.

What are the requirements for L-1 Intracompany Transfer classification?

Employees eligible for the L-1 Visa must have worked at least one year out of the last three years for the multinational firm, affiliate, or subsidiary and who seeks to render services for the same employer, subsidiary, or affiliate as a manager, executive, or employee with specialized knowledge.

The US office must have a corporate relationship with the foreign company abroad and there must be concrete evidence of the relationship. The US entity must have physical office space in the United States and the office space must be an appropriate sized space to do business.

L-1A VS L-1B Visa Subtypes

Managers and executives working for the US Company will be granted the L-1A visa, whereas employees with specialized knowledge will be given the L-1B visa instead. The main difference between these two visa subtypes is their length of stay. L-1A visas are initially valid up to 3 years and can be extended up to 7 years total. L-1B visas are also valid up to 3 years, but can only be extended to 5 years.

"New Office Petitions"

The term "new office" can sound unfamiliar and confusing for some, but it essentially means a business that has been operating through a parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary for less than one year. New office companies can also apply for an L-1 Visa but with special and more restrictive conditions than the normal companies.

For these businesses, companies should include a business plan to get the best chances of approval. Some factors that the USCIS considers for a new office application include:

  1. The amount of a company’s investment.
  2. Intended personnel structure.
  3. Physical premises (office) that the company will be operating the business out of.
  4. The sustainability of the foreign company.

Can my wife and children come with me?

Yes, the L-1 status holder can bring their spouse and minor children to join them under the L-2 visa. The L-2 spouse is allowed to apply for employment authorization and can work anywhere in the United States. L-2 minor children can attend US public schools but cannot apply for employment authorization.

Can I apply for Permanent Resident Status while in L-1 status?

Yes, L-1 Managers and executives are given priority status for permanent residence. Managers and executives can bypass the stringent Permanent Labor Certification process and the US employer can file an employment immigration petition directly with the USCIS.

L-1 Specialized Knowledge employees must submit a permanent labor certification application with the Department of Labor with evidence that there are no US residents or citizens who are able to fulfill the employment requirements. Upon receiving an approved certification from the Department of Labor, the US employer can submit an application for immigration for the employer.

The process for applying for an intracompany transfer visa is complicated and time- consuming. Prior to starting the process, it is important to speak to an experienced professional.

L-1 Visa Requirements

  1. The Petitioning US entity must have a qualifying relationship with the foreign entity abroad.
  2. There must be a physical office for the US office.
  3. The new office must be active and operating within one year after the L-1’s admission to the United States if requesting an extension of stay.
  4. After 1 year, the new office must support a managerial or executive position if you are requesting an extension of stay in the L-1A status.

L-1 Visa Dependents

Apart from being allowed to live and work in the United States with an extended period of stay, there are a plethora of other benefits the L-1 Visa provides which many people may not be aware of.

Dual Intent Visa

Many non-immigrant visas such as the B-1 and B-2 visas require you to have non-immigrant intent, meaning that you must intend to return to your home country as soon as your business tenure is over. The L-1 visa, however, is a dual-intent visa. This grants you the privilege of being allowed to temporarily remain in the United States while simultaneously having the intent to possibly immigrate to the US and become a lawful permanent resident in the future.

No Set Wage Requirements

As a visa with flexible options, the L-1 visa does not require that the US company pay you a certain wage. Some visa categories require that you get paid a wage commensurate with your position and job title. The L-1 does not have this requirement. Nonetheless, your US employer must still comply with the state and federal minimum wage laws.

Premium Processing & No Annual Limit

The L1 visa is eligible for premium processing, a service provided by the USCIS where they expedite the processing of your L-1 petition for an additional fee of $2,500. If this option is selected, the USCIS will issue a response to your petition within 15 days. Additionally, there is no annual limit to the number of L-1 Visas issued. This is contrary to other visas, such as the H-1B visa, which has an annual quota.

Meet Our US Visa Team

US Immigration Thailand

What Siam Legal can do for you?

We offer professional and reliable assistance with L-1 Visa applications for individuals from countries that have an investment treaty with the United States. Our service package includes the following:

  • Guidance on L-1 Investment Requirements
  • Advice on the Formation of the US Subsidiary
  • Assistance with Obtaining IRS Tax ID Number
  • Advice with Organizing Supporting Documents
  • Guidance with the L-1 Support Letters
  • Assistance with completing the L-1 Forms
  • Monitoring of the L-1 Case Processing
  • Attorney Representation with the Consular Office
  • Access to a Licensed US Immigration Attorney
  • L-1 Interview Preparation
  • Advice on Maintaining L-1 Business Requirements Post-Visa
Local Office Numbers:
Bangkok: 02-254-8900
Phuket: 084-021-9800
Chiang Mai: 053-818-306
Pattaya: 084-021-9800
International Numbers:
US: 1 (877) 252-8831
Thailand: +66 2254-8900