As an L-1 visa holder, you have time-limited permission to stay in the US. If you want to stay in the US beyond your visa validity period, you have to apply to extend your stay before your current visa expires.
You can apply for extensions of your visa of up to two years at a time, until you have been in the US for seven years if you are an L-1A employee, or five years if you are an L-1B employee.
With your employment dependent on your visa status, and your dependents likely to also now settled in the US on an L-2 visa, there is a lot at stake to get your renewal application right.
NNU Immigration are specialists across all classes of US visa, including L-1 visa renewals.
With exceptional knowledge and insight into US visa application processes, we advise employers and workers on US immigration options and the process to apply to extend L-1 visa status.
We provide specialist guidance on the extension application process, and compiling the extension petition and the required supporting documentation.
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For advice on any aspect of a US visa application, contact our US immigration attorneys.
For advice on any aspect of the L-1 visa renewal application process, contact our US immigration attorneys.
The extension process for the L-1A and L-1B visas is the same, but the timings differ. The L-1A visa can generally be extended in increments of 2 years, for up to 7 years in total. For L-1B worker, this limit is up to 5 years.
Yes, the employer will need to complete a Form I-129 ‘Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker’, before the date your Form I-94 expires.
Yes. You’ll need to ensure you complete the correct Form I-129 that corresponds to whether you are submitting and individual L visa or applying under a Blanket L approval.
You’re allowed to apply to extend up to 6 months in advance of your visa expiry date.
Each extension grants an additional 2 years in the US. This means to stay in the US on a valid L visa, you will need to apply to renew every 2 years.
You may in time look at a more permanent status, as the Green Card may be an option if you are eligible and meet the requirements.
Extending your visa requires specific documentation to be compiled and submitted to a USCIS to prove you continue to be eligible under the visa citeria. These include, among others:
We can advise on the documents to be compiled and submitted based on your specific circumstances.
If you have dependents with you in the US on L-2 visas, it’s likely their visas will expire at the same date as your primary L-1 visa.
As such, they too will be required to apply to extend their status in advance of visa expiry date.
They will be required to complete Form I-539 (for spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21) which must be submitted along with the L1 applicant’s Form I-129.
In certain cases, you can file for Change of Status from L-1B to L-1A visa status.
Your petition must be approved at least 6 months before you reach the 5-year point in in L-1 status.
An L-1 visa holder may be able to change status to H-1B status, however, this is extremely challenging in light of the limitation on the number of H-1B petitions approved each year. It is also important to note that any time spent in L-1 status counts against the time you would be authorized to work in H-1B status. Therefore, an L-1 visa holder would never be eligible for H-1B status for a full six-year duration as any time spent working in L-1 status would curtail the maximum duration in H-1B status.
You may be permitted extensions of L-1 status beyond the 7 or 5 year limits if you work in the US on a seasonal or intermittent basis, or if the employee spends less than 6 months in the US per year.
‘Recapturing’ time spent outside the US requires clear records and documentation in the form of airline records, wage records and company verification.
If you have an L-1 visa as either a manager or an executive, you may become eligible to apply for a Green Card through employment.
Where you qualify for L-1 status as a manager or executive, you are classed as a ‘priority worker’, and as such exempt from the standard Labor Certification requirements in which a company is must first test the labor market in an attempt to hire a US worker.
If you choose not to renew your visa, you will be required to leave the US in advance of your visa expiry date. You would then be required to wait 12 months before you could qualify again to apply for an L-1 visa.