“Intermittent” L-1 visas: A Little-known but Useful Option for Multinationals

L-1 status can be extended indefinitely under certain circumstances

Normally, L-1 intra-company transferees may work in the U.S. on long-term assignments for a limited cumulative maximum period of either seven years (L-1A executives and managers) or five years (L-1B specialized knowledge workers).

What may not be 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”.

If the intermittent visa holder anticipates any one of the following changes, it is advisable to consult immigration counsel beforehand to file an amended petition 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.
Article categories: Intra-company Transfers

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