L Blanket Visa

(L-1 visa for an existing L Blanket registration)

The L Blanket visa is a regular U.S. work visa. Specifically, it is a temporary work permit that allows the holder to secure temporary employment. It can only be used to facilitate a corporate transfer of an employee from a foreign location to a U.S. site. In addition to a traditional postings, this visa category is also appropriate for business travelers who frequently enter the country or installers.

All the group’s employees can apply for a visa according to a simplified L application process to travel to company group locations that are covered by the L Blanket registration, which can be applied for through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Entry requirements for an existing L Blanket registration

  • The L-1 visa is tied to a business, i.e., the official applicant is the U.S. company seeking to hire the future employee. Under this visa the foreigner must work exclusively for the U.S. company that submitted the application. The only exception is so-called off-site employment, which allows employees to be deployed to customer sites under certain conditions.
  • When used for a planned staff assignment, it must be an internal company transfer. The foreign company (where the employee is currently employed) and the U.S. site (were the employee will be sent to) must be connected through a qualifying relationship. Sufficient proof of such a connection under the L Blanket method would be the fact that both business units are listed under the L Blanket.
  • The employee applying to receive an L-1 visa must have been employed at his or her current site within the group (outside the U.S.) for at least 12 months (continuously) during the last three years. Freelancers or consultants, for example, do not qualify for this category.
  • Only those employees who have worked for one year as a “manager, executive or “specialized knowledge professional” qualify for applying for an L-1 visa. In addition, the applicant’s proposed future U.S. position must also be classified as a “manager/executive (L-1A) or “specialized knowledge professional (L-1B).
  • Employees who receive an L-1 visa may continue to be paid by the foreign company or the U.S. site. A U.S. employment contract or a U.S. assignment agreement is not mandatory, but possible. The foreign assignment can also be performed under a foreign employment contract.

Visa Validity

The initial application for an L-1A visa for managers/executives may be granted for a maximum period of three years and extended for 2-year increments for a total maximum of seven years.

The initial application for L-1B visas for specialists may be granted for a maximum period of three years and renewed once for two years for a total maximum of five years.

Application Process

The L-1 applications are usually time consuming and expensive application processes, since they are divided into two steps: the initial application to the competent service center of the USCIS supported by extensive documentation and the issuing of the actual visa through the U.S. consulate.

For multinational corporations, however, the U.S. law allows for a simplified procedure. Thus, certain groups of companies that meet one of the following requirements qualify for an L Blanket registration:

  • U.S. site(s) that generate annual revenues of 25 million U.S. dollars or
  • that employ at least 1,000 employees in the United States or
  • that have submitted at least 10 approved, regular L-1 petitions during last year.

An entire company group can apply for an L Blanket registration with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). After the application is approved by the USCIS, all sites around the world that are listed under the L Blanket can take advantage of the simplified procedure.

In practice, this means that the L-1 processes can be implemented more quickly and more cost-effectively because the first application phase in the U.S. has been completely eliminated. L-Blanket visa applications can therefore be submitted directly to the U.S. consulates. Applicants must appear in person for an interview at an authorized U.S. consulate (usually in the employee’s home country).

Family Members

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age receive a derivative L-2 visa lasting the same period as the principal applicant’s L-1 visa. Once children reach the American age of majority (21), they must change their non-immigrant visa status or leave the country.

A spouse can apply for his or her own work permit (Employment Authorization Document EAD) that is not tied to a specific U.S. company.

Spouses and children with an L-2 visa are allowed to attend private and public educational institutions.

Find the most important information on the L Blanket visa category and registration compiled in one document (PDF) free of charge.

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