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L-1 intracompany transferees who are Intermittent Border Crossers

The L-1 nonimmigrant visa category is for intracompany transferees. It allows certain individuals who have one year of qualifying employment abroad in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge position to transfer to a parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate business entity in the U.S. This visa category is meant to facilitate the movement of key personnel to ensure the smooth running and development of the company’s U.S. operations.

Sub-Categories of the L-1

There are two subcategories of the L-1 category: L-1A and L-1B. Foreign nationals who are coming to the U.S. to fulfill a managerial or executive position are eligible for L-1A status, and those who are coming to fulfill a specialized knowledge position are eligible for L-1B status. 

In general, managers and executives may renew their L-1A status for up to seven years, and individuals holding a specialized knowledge position may renew their L-1B status for up to five years. There is an exception to this general rule for individuals who are intermittent border crossers. 

What is an intermittent border crosser? 

A person is considered an intermittent border crosser if they spend less than 183 days in the U.S. per year. Meaning, they spend less than six months out of the year in the U.S. 

Is there a benefit to being an intermittent border crosser? 

One major benefit of being an intermittent border crosser is they are not subject to the seven or five-year cap associated with L-1A and L-1B status. For example, if a Canadian citizen who primarily resides in Canada is granted L-1A status, and only travels to the U.S. periodically throughout the year during their L-1 validity period, they may be eligible to renew their L-1A status beyond the seven-year cap. 

Moreover, Canadian citizens who are intermittent border crossers may apply for an L-1 renewal in person, directly at a land port of entry or qualifying airport with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as opposed to applying via mail with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). There are several benefits associated with applying in person with CBP, including an in-person interview and the ability to be approved directly on the spot. Those who relocate to the U.S. (i.e., spend more than 183 days in the U.S. a year) must apply for their L-1 extension via mail with USCIS. Applying for L-1 status with USCIS can be more expensive, time consuming, and it can involve additional supporting evidence. 

If you are interested in learning more about the L-1 visa category, feel free to reach out to our office to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys: 716-634-1010.