U.S. Immigration: Temporary and Permanent Status

L-1 Intra-company Transferee Status

The L visa allows foreign companies temporarily to transfer employees with specialized knowledge (L-1B), or senior management such as executives and managers (L-1A) to their parent, branch, subsidiary or affiliate offices in the United States. In order to qualify for this status, the applicant must show that he/she is entering the United States to work for that company’s parent, branch, subsidiary or affiliate and that he/she will be employed in a specialized knowledge, executive, or managerial capacity.

The company wanting to transfer the employee must demonstrate that the development and organization of the company is at a point where there is a need at the U.S. entity for an individual with the applicant’s company-specific background and experience. The applicant must have been employed full-time for at least one year within the previous three years in a position requiring specialized knowledge or in an executive or managerial capacity for the company.

“Specialized Knowledge”

Means the individual possesses an intricate and developed understanding of the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interest and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures. These positions must be capable of working freely and independently in providing the company’s proprietary services, methodologies, technologies, and/or products.


Means the individual primarily manages a subdivision, function, or component of the organization. A manager supervises and controls the work of other supervisory, professional or managerial employees, or manages an essential function within the organization. Managers have the authority to hire and fire or recommend personnel actions, if other employees are directly supervised.  If the individual doesn’t directly manage personnel, the individual must function at a senior level within the organizational hierarchy or manage and direct a critical operational function for the company.


An executive directs the management of the organization or a major component or function of the organization, and establishes the goals and policies of the organization, component or function. Executives exercise wide latitude in discretionary decision-making and receive only general supervision or direction from higher-level executives, the board of directors, or stockholders of the organization.

A qualified individual is permitted a total seven years of L-1A managerial/executive status, while an individual qualified for L-1B specialized knowledge status is permitted a total of five years of work authorization.  In both, three years of status can be requested initially, with two-year extensions available.  Canadian nationals are permitted to apply for L-1 classification directly at a U.S. port of entry or pre-flight inspection.

For further details about the L-1 process, please contact us for a consultation.