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I have had multiple roles within the same company, will this impact my L-1 petition?

By January 4, 2024L-1 Visa
L-1 petition maker

The L-1 visa allows U.S. companies that have a qualifying relationship with a company abroad to transfer an employee to the U.S. to work in a managerial, executive or specialized knowledge role. Both companies must be actively doing business, although it is also possible to send an employee to the U.S. to open a new office. Another requirement is that the employee must have worked for the company abroad for at least one continuous year within the past three years in an executive, managerial or specialized knowledge role.

How will having multiple roles within the required one year of employment abroad impact my petition?

If an employee has been promoted or held multiple roles during the required one-year period of employment abroad, the L-1 petition must show how each of those roles qualifies under the regulatory definition of manager, executive or specialized knowledge worker. Let us look at an example below and outline some of the strategic considerations:


Alex started working for an Irish company as a finance specialist in January 2021. In June of 2021, the company promoted him to manage the finance department.  The company wants to transfer Alex to its U.S. subsidiary in January 2022 to manage the U.S. finance department. Under these facts, Alex could qualify for an L-1A under the managerial category, as he has been working for the company abroad for a year in two qualifying roles.

Strategic considerations:

Although Alex can qualify for an L-1 based on the facts above, the company will need to prove that the finance specialist role qualifies under the government definition of specialized knowledge worker and finance manager role qualifies under the government definition of manager. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) takes a relatively strict view of what qualifies as an executive, manager or specialist and they often issue Requests for Evidence and/or denials based solely on the issue of whether a particular position meets the criteria as a manager, executive or specialist. This means that having multiple roles increases the risk profile of the L-1 petition.

Another consideration is whether Alex is ultimately interested in obtaining a green card. If Alex does want a green card in the future, there would be a benefit to him remaining at the Irish company in a managerial role for at least one year before he transfers to the U.S. This would allow him to eventually qualify for a green card under the EB1C multinational manager or executive category. If he transfers to the U.S. without having worked for the Irish company for a full year in a managerial role, then he would not qualify for the EB1C green card category and would instead need to be sponsored for a green card through the PERM process, which is a longer process than the EB1C and often has longer delays for green card availability.

Speaking with an attorney about the employee’s work experience and long-term immigration goals helps to ensure that the company and employee are creating a viable long-term plan that accounts for the goals of the company and the employee.

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This website and blog constitutes attorney advertising. Do not consider anything in this website or blog legal advice and nothing in this website constitutes an attorney-client relationship being formed. Set up a one-hour consultation with us before acting on anything you read here. Past results are no guarantee of future results and prior results do not imply or predict future results. Each case is different and must be judged on its own merits.

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