L-1 Visa Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the L-1 visa?

The L-1 visa is designed to facilitate the transfer of key employees, including managers, executives, and employees with specialized knowledge, from a foreign office of a multinational company to a U.S. office of the same company.

What are the two main types of L-1 visas?

There are two primary types of L-1 visas:

L-1A: For managers and executives being transferred to manage a U.S. office, department, or team.

L-1B: For employees with specialized knowledge being transferred to work in a U.S. office.

How long can I stay in the U.S. on an L-1 visa?

L-1A visa holders can stay for up to seven years, while L-1B visa holders can stay for up to five years. The initial period is typically three years, with extensions available.

Can my spouse and children accompany me on an L-1 visa?

Yes, your spouse and unmarried children under 21 may accompany you on L-2 visas. Spouses who are granted L-2 derivative status automatically attain work authorization with their visa. This is referred to as having employment authorization ‘incident to’ their valid L-2 status.

Can I change employers while on an L-1 visa?

An L-1 visa is employer specific, where your visa is tied to your sponsoring employer. While you can change your job role within your employer’s organization, you would not be allowed to swap to a new employer under the same visa. However, for a completely new employer, you may need to switch to H-1B status instead. Consult with your immigration attorney for guidance.

Can I apply for permanent residency (a green card) while on an L-1 visa?

Yes, it is possible to apply for a green card while on an L-1 visa. Many L-1 visa holders pursue employment-based green cards through sponsorship by their U.S. employer.

Can I travel outside the U.S. while on an L-1 visa?

Yes, you can travel outside the U.S. and re-enter while on an L-1 visa, but you should have a valid L-1 visa stamp in your passport and a valid L-1 approval notice. Travel should not disrupt your employment or status.

Is there a cap on the number of L-1 visas issued each year?

Unlike some other visa categories, there is no annual numerical cap on the number of L-1 visas issued. However, the L-1 visa petition must meet specific requirements and be filed by a qualifying employer.

What qualifies as "specialized knowledge" for an L-1B visa?

Specialized knowledge is defined as knowledge that is advanced, proprietary, and not generally known in the industry. It can involve specialized products, processes, or company-specific information.

What is the L-1 "blanket petition"?

Some large multinational companies that frequently transfer employees to the U.S. may be eligible to file a “blanket petition,” which streamlines the L-1 visa application process for multiple employees.
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Appreciate the Davidson Law Group for helping me secure approval for my H1b visa. The paralegal working with me was very responsive in answering the questions I had (usually always responded to my messages the day of my inquiry) and the answers were always detailed and professional. Would recommend working with the law group!
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To the entire Davidson Law Group team, thank you so much for all the support during the past three years of my immigration journey in the US. They were especially supportive and responsive to all my queries about the different visas and were always prompt and kind. I especially appreciated it when Leyla got back to me beyond working hours on a Friday with, "Congratulations, your H1B has been picked." It definitely made my and my close ones' weekend a tad better. I would recommend them for sure just because I appreciated their humane approach to all of their cases. Kudos to all of you.
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Dana Davidson - Full Bio

Dana T. Davidson holds degrees from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and State University of New York at Stony Brook and has been practicing immigration law since 2003 in New York and nationwide. She represents corporations, individuals, and families in a broad range of immigration matters. Attorney Davidson has offices in New York City and Glen Cove.
 

Education

  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, New York, New York
  • Juris Doctor – 1988
  • Honors: Moot Court Board, Member, Judge
  • State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York
  • Bachelor of Arts – 1982
  • Major: Political Science
  • Concentration: Business


Pro-Bono Activities

  • Safe Passage Project, Volunteer Attorney, 2013-Present
  • Educating the Educators, Founder, 2012-Present
  • Momentum Project, Board Member, 1991-1994 Bar Admission
  • New York, Eastern District
  • New York, Southern District
  • Washington, D.C.

Speaking Engagements
 
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2018, Berlin, Germany, Speaker on “Public Charge” panel
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Fall Conference 2018, Johannesburg, South Africa, Speaker: “Practice Management in the New Age” panel
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2018, Madrid, Spain, Speaker: “El Traje de Luces: Self-Sponsored Petitions – EB-1A and NIW”  AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2017, Brussels, Belgium, Speaker: “Continuing Blanket L Challenges”
  • Safe Passage Project, March 2017, Speaker: “Representing Unaccompanied Minors: Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and the Effects of President Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration”
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Fall Conference 2016, Speaker: “It’s Not About Money: I-864”
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2016, Vienna, Austria, Speaker: “K-Visa: Differences Between K-1 and I-130 Processing”
  • New York Institute of Technology’s Center for Entrepreneurship, January 2016, Entrepreneur/Executive-in-Residence
  • AILA Fall Conference 2015, London, UK, Speaker: Impact of joint sponsors on family-based cases
  • Goldman-Sachs 10,000 Small Business Education Program, October 2014, “What is required to grow a business?”
  • Dowling College, May 2013, Keynote Speaker at the first annual Latino Summit at Dowling College
  • International Taxation Conference, 2010