There are many kinds of visas issued in the United States. Each visa type has specific limitations on the length of time someone may remain in the country and the kind of activities they can pursue. For example, people issued a tourist or student visa are not allowed to work in the United States.

An L-1 visa is a type of non-immigrant work visa. Because there are many kinds of employers and types of work, visas based on employment are very specific. Here’s what you need to know about the L-1 visa and how to qualify.

What are the Terms of an L-1 Visa?

L-1 visas are issued to people who need to temporarily work in the United States on their company’s behalf. A foreign company may have American business operations that require supervision by someone from the home office. An L-1 visa allows a foreign national to live and work in the U.S. for this purpose.

An employer must file for an L-1 visa to have an employee authorized to work in the United States. Initially, L-1 visas are valid for three years. They can be extended by two years once or twice, depending on the type of L-1 visa. This allows for up to seven years of residency in the United States for work purposes.

Who Qualifies for an L-1 Visa?

People who qualify for L-1 visas are executives, managers, or people with specialized skills working at foreign companies with operations in the United States. There are two types of L-1 visas, one for managers and executives and another for people with specialized skills.

In addition to working for a company with established operations in the United States, visa applicants are required to have continuously worked in a managerial or executive capacity within the company for at least a year in the last three years. People with specialized skills also need to have at least 12 months of continuous employment in the last three years.

How Long Does it Take to Get an L-1 Visa?

A basic L-1 visa can take up to 12 months to process, depending on a number of factors. However, employers can speed the process up significantly by paying a fee to expedite the application.

Some employers also apply for a “blanket” L visa that allows them to apply for multiple L-1 visas at once. A blanket visa reduces processing time and administrative work for larger companies.

How Do I Apply for an L-1 Visa?

Both the employer and employee must file documents with the United States government to apply for an L-1 visa. Once the applications have been accepted, an interview, fees, and documentation are required.

Getting a work visa approved can be frustrating and time-consuming. If you need help with an L-1 work visa, give our Hackensack, NJ law firm a call at (201) 883-9800 and speak with our experienced immigration lawyer. We can help guide you and set you up for success in applying for a visa.