Requirements for L-1 Visas

The L-1 visa was created in 1990 by Congress to encourage multinational companies to invest in the US. This visa is granted to employees of multinational corporations who will spend a temporary amount of time within the company’s US office. Information about this visa may be found through an internet search, such as “L1 visa Houston TX,” but this is a general overview of the qualifications necessary for approval.  


Employees must have worked with the sponsoring company for at least one continuous year at one or more of their foreign facilities. This service has to have been within the three years prior to the application. The employee must also be providing managerial or executive services to the company in its US offices.  This means that these individuals will manage other employees. They may oversee a department, division, function or the whole organization. They may also participate in specialized functions at high levels of the organization without employee management requirements.


Employers are responsible for petitioning the government for their employees L-1 visas. These companies must be parent companies, branches, affiliates or subsidiaries of foreign companies. These companies must also be currently doing business in the US and at least one additional country. The business relationship may be permanent or it may only last the duration of the employee’s stay within the US.

Although the company must provide goods or services on a continuous basis, international trade is not a requirement. Having someone manage an office without actual commerce is not enough to qualify for this visa. Most multinational companies with offices within the US that employ individuals qualify.


Workers’ spouses and minor children may be granted L-2 non-immigrant visas for the same period as the employee’s L-1 visa term. This visa allows the employees’ families to work within the US while they are in the country.

If you work for a multinational company and have specialized skills or are in executive or management positions, consider working with a US branch through the L-1 visa program.

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