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).
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.
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:
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).
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.
The most important information about this visa category can also be found here, briefly summarized and free to download in PDF format.