visa for multinational

“Intermittent” L-1 visas: A Useful Tool for Multinationals

In certain circumstances, the L-1 visa status can be extended indefinitely. Normally, L-1 intra-company transferees may work in the U.S. on long-term assignments for a limited cumulative maximum period seven years for L-1A executives and managers or five years for L-1B specialized knowledge workers.

What is not well known is that L-1 visa holders who visit the U.S. intermittently or for brief periods to:

  • Direct company operations; or
  • Carry out some essential short-term duty; or
  • Work only part-time or commute from abroad

may effectively extend their L-1 status indefinitely, provided that their US employment continues to be consistent with the requirements for L managers, executives or specialized knowledge workers. Those who qualify are known as “intermittent L-1s”.

Whenever the intermittent L-1 visa holder anticipates any one of the following changes, an amended L-1 petition should be filed once the intermittent L-1 visa holder exceeds the normal five-year or seven-year aggregate period of validity:

  • The intermittent L-1 holder is going to spend more than six months in the United States in any year;
  • An alien commuter’s employment in the United States becomes full time; or
  • The commuter or intermittent L-1 visa holder abandons his or her foreign residence.

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