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What is the maximum amount of time I can spend in the U.S. on an L-1 visa? What is an L-1 recapture petition?

By June 29, 2020May 26th, 2021Immigration, L-1 Visa

An L-1A visa is a great visa for an employee or owner of a company abroad who wants to transfer to a U.S. office or open a new office in the United States.

If you are in the U.S. on an L-1A visa as a manager/executive , you can stay in the U.S. for up to 7 years.

If you are in the U.S. on an L-1B visa as a specialized knowledge employee, you can stay in the U.S. for up to 5 years.

The maximum initial period of stay in the U.S. on an L-1 visa is 3 years (and 1 year for new office L visa ). You can then extend your L-1 visa in 2 year increments.

What is a recapture petition? Can I recapture time I spent outside the U.S. while I had L-1 visa?

Only the time that you spend physically in the U.S. counts towards these maximum periods of stay. This means that the time you spend outside the U.S. while on an L-1A/L-1B status can be then recaptured. This is a great way to allow you to “extend” your L-1A/L-1B status in case you have been travelling while holding the relevant status in the U.S. For example, if you have been outside the U.S. for 3 months every year you held your L-1B status, you could recapture a total of 15 months, meaning you could live and work in the U.S. for an additional 15 months past the 5 year deadline if your recapture petition gets approved. Please see our blog post on how to file  recapture petition when you click here.

I reached the maximum period of stay but my company does not want to sponsor me for a green card. Can I apply for an L-1 visa again?

You can apply for an L-1A or L-1B visa again after you reside and are physically present outside the U.S. for at least 1 year. You can visit the U.S. for a brief visits as a business visitor or tourist, but these visits do not count towards the fulfillment of the 1 year requirement.

I reached the maximum period of stay and my company is willing to sponsor me for a green card.

Please see our blog post on whether L-1 visa leads to a green card when you click here.

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