Green Cards (Common)
National Interest Waivers
Professors & Researchers
Executives & Managers
PERM Labor Certification
Investors (EB-5 visas)
Family (Spouse, etc.)
Work Visas (Common)
O-1 Extraordinary Ability
TN Canadians & Mexicans
J-1 Visa Holders
Nurses & Physical Therapists
FAQs on L-1 Filing Procedures
An L-1 petition is the process by which the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines whether the U.S. and foreign employers have a qualifying relationship, and whether an individual meets the requirements for either the L-1A or L-1B visa.
Generally, the employer must file a petition with
the USCIS Service Center and receive an approval. Once the petition is
approved, the individual can apply for an L-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate
or Embassy and enter the United States. The two exceptions to this rule
Canadian citizens may file a petition for L-1 visa status at a port of entry on the U.S.-Canada land border or at a United States pre-clearance/pre-flight station in Canada. This petition must include all of the same documents and filing fees required of petitions filed with the USCIS. If the border official approves the L-1 visa petition, the foreign national will receive a Form I-94 Arrival Departure Record, showing the end date of the visa petition period. The border inspector forwards the L-1 petition to the USCIS Nebraska Service Center (NSC). The NSC will issue a receipt notice showing that the fees have been received, and send a Form I-797 approval notice to the petitioner or to the attorney.
After preparing and signing all documents, it generally takes between two and four months for the USCIS to review the petition. Once the petition is approved, it may take several weeks to obtain an L-1 visa and enter the United States, which varies depending on the consulate or embassy. Canadian citizens may apply at the border, and receive their L-1 status immediately (see above). Companies who have approval on a Blanket L petition may transfer an employee within a matter of weeks, depending on the consulate or embassy.
Yes. The USCIS allows “Premium Processing” of L-1 petitions. The USCIS charges an additional $1,000 fee for this service. With premium processing, the USCIS guarantees that it will review the petition within 15 days, and either approve, deny or request additional evidence.
If a person is in the United States in a valid nonimmigrant status, an employer can file a petition to change status to an L-1 The employee must have met the requirements for the L-1 visa before entering the United States, and be in valid nonimmigrant status at the time of filing the request. If the change of status petition is granted, then the employee is in valid L-1 status and can work for the U.S. company. Except for those who are visa exempt, the foreign national must apply for an L-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy the next time he or she leaves the United States.
An L-1 petition must include evidence showing a qualifying relationship between the U.S. company and the foreign company. The L-1 petition should describe the position that the employee held abroad and will hold in the United States, showing that the position is managerial, executive or requires specialized knowledge. Organization charts may be particularly helpful to show where the individual fits within the corporate hierarchy in the foreign and U.S. company. The employer must provide an original, signed letter describing the U.S. and foreign companies, and the employee’s position in the United States and abroad.
Each consulate or embassy has different requirements. You should check the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate to determine what other documents may be required. At a minimum, the following documents are generally required: