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L-1 Visas For Employees and Contractors Working Through Staffing Companies and PEO’s

Meltzer Hellrung recently recorded an L-1 visa approval for a client where the sponsored employee had never been an employee of a related foreign company. Rather the sponsored employee had worked as a dedicated contractor through a consulting company.


L-1 visas are available for intra-company transfers where a company has related entities in the US and abroad. To qualify, an individual must have worked for at least one year at the company abroad in a managerial or specialized knowledge capacity. The employee must also be coming to the US to work in a managerial or specialized knowledge capacity (this can be different than the capacity demonstrated abroad).


While one approval does not indicate an agency policy, this application demonstrates that the L-1 visa has a fair amount of flexibility for companies with an international presence. The L-1 is not limited to only those individuals who are formal employees of a related foreign entity. The L-1 may be used to sponsor other individuals, including:


  • Individuals working as contractors outside the US, whether on the payroll of the US entity or a related foreign entity
  • Individuals employed through an employer of record (EOR) abroad, such as Oyster, Deal, or Velocity Global
  • Individuals employed by separate companies but seconded to a related foreign entity
  • Individuals working for separate companies, but are staffed to only service the sponsoring company


With H-1B visas always in high demand through the H-1B cap lottery, L-1 visas are attractive to employers who may seek to relocate foreign talent to the US. Unlike H-1B visas, there is no numerical limit on L-1 visas, so they are available year round. There are also no prevailing wage requirements for L-1 visas.


For more information about L-1 visas and determining who may qualify, please reach out to your designated Meltzer Hellrung attorney.