The L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa which allows companies to relocate foreign qualified employees (such as executives, managers and other special employees) to the company’s US subsidiary, affiliate or parent company.

In order to be eligible for L-1 status the petitioning company must demonstrate, inter alia, that the employee in question:

  • Was continuously employed in a full-time role for one year, of the preceding three, by a parent, branch, affiliate or subsidiary of the US petitioning company;
  • Was employed abroad as an executive, manager or in a position requiring specialized knowledge;
  • Will be employed in the US as an executive, manager or in a position requiring specialized knowledge (although it is important to note that the roles in the US and abroad need not be the same; for example an individual may have worked in a position requiring specialized knowledge in the foreign office but will be transferred to the US as a manager).

If you are an employer contemplating an application for L-1 status and associated L-1 visa for an executive, managerial or special employee, we would recommend that you contact us for a complimentary assessment of eligibility.

How Difficult Is It To Obtain An L-1 Visa?

Provided the petitioning company is prima facie eligible for L-1 status and the employee in question meets the requisite criteria, one would anticipate good prospects of success, provided the application is properly prepared, meticulously drafted, well-judged and well executed.

However, it is noteworthy that there has been a reported increase in L-1 visa denial rates in recent years. According to statistics published by the National Foundation for American Policy, L-1 petition denials and requests for further evidence have steadily increased since 2007. It is reported that L-1 petitioners and prospective employees of Indian descent have been particularly affected by the increase in L-1 petition and visa denial rates.

Why Might An L-1 Visa Petition/Application Be Denied?

There are a number of reasons why L-1 petitions and visas may be denied. For example, the petitioning company may fail to establish eligibility for L-1 status or the employee may fail to establish that they qualify for an L-1 visa as an executive, manager or employer with specialized knowledge. In the case of employees, it may be, for example, that the employee in question is inadmissible to the US on criminal grounds or on the basis of another ground of inadmissibility. In some cases, there may be an evidential deficit in the application, which is not appropriately addressed upon receipt of a request for further evidence.

“I Am An Employer. I Wish To Sponsor An Application For An L-1 Visa For My Executive, Managerial Or Special Employee At An Affiliated Office Abroad. What Should I Do?”

We would recommend that you seek legal advice from one of our licensed US immigration attorneys at the earliest opportunity, so we can explore the potential options on the table (in some circumstances, there may be quicker and cheaper options available which enable employers to meet their objectives more efficiently and cost-effectively), advise on the merits of making an application for an L-1 visa, identify any possible weaknesses in your application and how they may be overcome.

Davies Legal Immigration

At Davies Legal Immigration, we provide advice and representation in relation to all business visas categories, including L-1, E-1 and E-2. We offer innovative immigration solutions, a fully flexible service and access to a variety of complimentary services offered by MBA-qualified Business Consultants and a Certified Public Accountant at a competitive fixed fee. Moreover, at Davies Legal Immigration, you can be sure your case will only ever be handled by an experienced U.S immigration attorney. Call now for advice on how we can assist you with your business visa application and for a free no obligation price quotation.


Published: 1st July 2018