Mastering the L-1 Visa Process: Your Comprehensive Resource

Applying for an L-1 visa involves several steps, and it’s important to follow the process carefully. The L-1 visa is designed for intra-company transferees who work for a multinational company and are being transferred to a U.S. office. There are two types of L-1 visas: L-1A for managers and executives, and L-1B for employees with specialized knowledge. Here is a general guide on how to apply for an L-1 visa:

Determine Eligibility:

Ensure that you are eligible for the L-1 visa. You must be employed by a multinational company, and your position must be managerial, executive (L-1A), or involve specialized knowledge (L-1B).

Employer Petition (Form I-129):

Your U.S. employer must file a petition on your behalf using Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. Include the appropriate L-1 supplement (either L-1A or L-1B) and supporting documentation.

Supporting Documentation:

Include the required supporting documents such as a detailed job description, evidence of the qualifying relationship between the U.S. and foreign entities, proof of your employment abroad, and evidence of your qualifications and work experience.

File with USCIS:

Submit the completed Form I-129 along with the supporting documents to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Check the USCIS website for the most current filing fees and mailing instructions.

USCIS Processing:

USCIS will review the petition and may request additional information. Once approved, you will receive a Notice of Action (Form I-797).

Consular Processing or Change of Status:

If you are outside the U.S., you must apply for an L-1 visa at a U.S. consulate. If you are already in the U.S. in a different nonimmigrant status, you may be able to apply for a change of status using Form I-539.

Attend Visa Interview (if applicable):

If applying for a visa at a U.S. consulate, attend the visa interview. Be prepared to provide documentation supporting the information in your petition.

Travel to the U.S.:

Once the visa is approved, you can travel to the U.S. in L-1 status. If you received a change of status within the U.S., your L-1 status will be activated without the need to travel.

How to obtain an L-2 visa?

The L-2 visa is designed for the dependent family members (spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old) of L-1 visa holders. If you are the dependent family member of an L-1 visa holder and wish to join them in the United States.

Here’s a general guide on how to obtain an L-2 visa:

  • L-1 Visa Holder’s Petition:

The primary L-1 visa holder (your spouse or parent) must first have an approved L-1 visa petition (Form I-129) from their employer.

  • Receive Form I-797 Approval Notice:

Once the L-1 visa petition is approved, the L-1 visa holder will receive Form I-797, Notice of Action. This document is necessary for the dependent family members’ visa application.

  • Complete Form DS-160:

Each family member applying for an L-2 visa must complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160). The form is available on the U.S. Department of State’s Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website.

  • Pay the Visa Application Fee:

Pay the non-refundable visa application fee. The fee amount can be found on the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate where you will apply for the visa.

  • Schedule a Visa Interview:

Schedule a visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where you reside. It’s advisable to schedule the interview well in advance, as wait times may vary.

  • Gather Required Documents:

Prepare the required documentation, including:

      • Form DS-160 confirmation page.
      • Form I-797 approval notice for the L-1 visa holder.
      • Passport valid for at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the U.S.
      • Passport-sized photos.
      • Marriage certificate (for spouses) or birth certificate (for children).
      • Evidence of the relationship with the L-1 visa holder.
  • Attend the Visa Interview:

Attend the scheduled visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate. Be prepared to answer questions about your relationship with the L-1 visa holder and provide necessary documentation.

  • Visa Approval and Travel to the U.S.:

If the visa is approved, you will receive a visa stamp in your passport. You can then travel to the United States and will be admitted as an L-2 dependent.

It’s essential to check the specific requirements and procedures of the U.S. embassy or consulate where you plan to apply, as processes may vary slightly. Additionally, visa policies can change, so it’s recommended to refer to the official website of the U.S. Department of State or consult with the respective embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information.