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Three Fun Facts About L-1 Work Permits

The L-1 (“intracompany transferee”) classification is utilized by employers to transfer executives, managers, and specialized knowledge employees to the United States from an affiliated office abroad. Below are three fun facts about the L-1 category that you may have never heard. 

An L-1 Work Permit Can Be Used to Open a New Office in the United States

An L-1 work permit can be utilized by foreign employers to open a new office in the United States. To qualify, there are specific requirements that must be satisfied based on the type of employee being sent.

If the foreign employer is sending an executive or manager to open a new office, it must be shown that: 

  1. Sufficient physical premises to house the new office have been secured;
  2. The employee has been employed for one continuous year in the three-year period preceding the filing of the petition in an executive or managerial capacity and that the proposed employment involves executive or managerial authority over the new operations; and
  3. The intended US operations will support an executive or managerial position within one year of approval.

If the foreign employer is sending a specialized knowledge employee to the US to open a new office, it must be shown that:

  1. Sufficient physical premises to house the new office have been secured;
  2. The business entity in the US is or will be a qualifying organization; and
  3. The employer has the financial ability to remunerate the employee and to commence doing business in the US.

It’s Possible to Renew an L-1 Work Permit Indefinitely

Typically, there is a cap on the amount of time an individual can hold L-1 status in the US. For managers and executives, the cap is seven years. For specialized knowledge employees, the cap is five years. Once an employee reaches the cap, he or she must return to work abroad for one full year before reapplying for an L-1 work permit. There is, however, an exception to this general rule. Employees that maintain a permanent residence abroad and only travel to the US intermittently, may be exempt from the L-1 cap. These employees must demonstrate that they spend less than 183 days in the US per year, but, if that is shown, their L-1 work permit can be renewed indefinitely, as long as they continue to intermittently travel.

Spouses Can Apply for Work Authorization and Children Can Attend School

Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be admitted to the US in L-2 status. Spouses can apply for employment authorization and dependent children may attend school. The ability to work and attend school is crucial for families that relocate to the US with an L-1 work permit.