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All L1A Visa Executive or Manager employees, which includes business owners, or L1B Visa specialized knowledge employees must have been employed outside of the USA for one year in the last three years by a company that has common ownership with the (new or existing) US company they plan to work for under the L1 scheme.
Stringent documentation is required to be provided to show ownership and control of the overseas business and the US business, and to show that the businesses are operational. Although for new US offices the documentation requirements are lower for the US based company. The documentation needs to be provided in duplicate for the USCIS, unless it is a very large company with blanket filing.
An L1A status is valid for up to seven years; L1B status is valid for five years.
Family members, including spouses and dependent children, of L1 visa holders can come to the US on an L2 dependent visa. L2 spouses must be legally married to the L1 visa holder, and L2 children must be unmarried and under the age of 21. L2 visa duration is for the same period of time as the spouse’s L1 visa.