The L-1 visa is for intra company transferees. These are executives, managers, or employees of a foreign based company who are engaged in specialized employment. The requirement is that the alien must have worked for three years before submission of the petition overseas in an executive, managerial or specialized capacity. The purpose of the L-1 visa is to allow the alien to work in the U.S. in a similar capacity for the same entity that he has worked for abroad for a subsidiary or an affiliate of that entity. Evidence must be submitted of the qualifying foreign and U.S. entity and that the alien has worked in an executive, managerial or specialized capacity.
For companies that have been doing business in the U.S. already, the L-1 may be approved for three years initially. For companies that are starting operations, typically the L-1 is approved for one year only. Evidence must be submitted of regular business activity for further extension. For executives and managers, the L-1 may be granted up to seven years. For those with specialized knowledge, the L-1 is limited to six years.
Transferee executives or managers may obtain immigration as "multi national executives" once the U.S. entity has been engaged in regular and systematic business for a one year period. If a foreign entity purchases a U.S. company that is, in fact, engaged in systematic and regular business for one year, an immigration petition may be immediately filed.