L1 Visa Basics: The Difference Between the L1-A and L1-B Visa
The L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa category in the United States that allows multinational companies to transfer certain employees from their foreign offices to their U.S. offices. The L-1 visa has two subcategories: L-1A and L-1B. The primary difference between L-1A and L-1B visas lies in the type of employees they are designed for and the qualifications required
The L-1A visa is for intracompany transferees who are managers or executives. Here are some key points about the L-1A visa:
1. Qualifications: To be eligible for an L-1A visa, the employee must have been working for the foreign company for at least one continuous year within the three years preceding the application and must be coming to the U.S. to manage or direct the U.S. office or a major function or subdivision of it.
2. Job Role: L-1A visa holders typically occupy managerial or executive positions. They are responsible for managing employees, making important decisions, and overseeing operations.
3. Duration: Initially, L-1A visa holders are granted a stay of up to three years. Extensions can be granted in two-year increments, up to a maximum stay of seven years.
The L-1B visa is for intracompany transferees with specialized knowledge. Here are the key points about the L-1B visa:
1. Qualifications: To be eligible for an L-1B visa, the employee must have specialized knowledge of the company's products, services, processes, or procedures, and have been working for the foreign company for at least one continuous year within the three years preceding the application.
2. Job Role: L-1B visa holders have a specialized role that requires in-depth knowledge of the company's products or processes. They are not managers or executives but are considered key employees due to their specialized knowledge.
3. Duration: Like the L-1A visa, the L-1B visa is initially granted for up to three years, with the possibility of extensions in two-year increments, up to a maximum stay of five years.
Both L-1A and L-1B visa holders may be eligible to apply for permanent residency (green card) through employment-based categories if they meet the requirements and their employer sponsors them.