The L1 visa or “Intracompany Transferee” facilitates the transfer of certain classes of employees, in managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacities, to U.S. branches or subsidiaries.
Even though L1 visa was created for large multinational companies, it allows a start-upforeign company, which does not yet have a U.S. subsidiary, to expand its business and services in the United States. An executive, manager or specialized employee may be allowed to enter the United States to set up a new office, and be eligible for a maximum stay of one year.
The employee must have worked for subsidiary, affiliate, or parent company for at least a year out of the last three. Even if it is not mandatory to have a full-time job, the employee must dedicate a significant portion of time to the company while in the U.S. The worker can be employed outside the U.S. and still receive the visa for coming to the U.S. to work on a short-term basis.
The employer must submit the proper form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) and demonstrate that the employee is necessary for business operations.
Some large multi-national companies that are frequent L1 Visa users can establish in advance an intra-company relationship, through the “L-1Blanket Petition Program”.