L-1 Visa Renewal

If you’ve been living and working in the US in an executive, managerial or specialized knowledge role and wish to continue your stay, you will need to apply to renew your L-1 status.

As an L-1 visa holder, you are allowed to apply for extensions 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.

To apply to renew your status, you will need to complete relevant forms and supply the supporting documentation, all before the date of your status expiry.

It’s important to note that a visa stamp in a passport may be granted for longer than the period authorized on the petition approval. You have to renew prior to petition expiration, which should also be consistent with the I-94 expiration date. 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 here to help!

NNU Immigration are specialists across all classes of US visa, including the L-1 visa.

With exceptional knowledge and insight into the visa application processes, we advise non-US workers on available US visa and immigration options, providing full support submitting applications to the relevant US authorities.

US immigration policy is undergoing a period of considerable upheaval; we can advise on the prevailing impact of any changes in US visa rules that may impact the entry routes available to you.

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L-1 Visa Renewal FAQs

Is there a difference in extending L-1A and L-1B?

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.

Does my employer need to do anything for the extension application?

Yes, your employer will need to complete a Form I-129 ‘Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker’, before the date your Form I-94 expires.

Is there a difference between individual L visa and Blanket L visa extensions?

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. 

When can I renew my L visa?

You’re allowed to apply to extend up to 6 months in advance of your visa expiry date.

How long can you renew the L visa for?

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.

What documents will I need to provide?

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:

  • Form I-129 – as completed by your US employer
  • Prior L-1 visa
  • Form I-94
  • Form W-2 from current employer employer
  • A comprehensive letter of support signed by your employer (‘petitioner’) outlining the conditions of your employment and reasons for your continued stay in the US
  • Evidence of employment in the US (pay slips etc)
  • If relevant, documentation relating to significant time spent outside the US while under the L-1 visa

We can advise on the documents to be compiled and submitted based on your specific circumstances.

What about my dependents, does an extension impact their L-2 visas?

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.

L-1B to L-1A change of status

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.

What is an indefinite L-1 extension?

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.

Can L Visa lead to Green Card?

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.

What happens if I don’t renew the L-1 visa?

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.

Do you need help with an L-1 visa renewal?

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