The L-1 visa category is for intracompany transferees. To qualify, a foreign national must have been employed abroad for one of the preceding three years by a parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate of the petitioning U.S. employer. The position abroad must have been executive, managerial, or one requiring specialized knowledge. The U.S. position must be executive or managerial (for L-1A visas) or it must require specialized knowledge (for L-1B visas).
The L-1A category allows for an initial 3 year stay, which may be extended up to a total of 7 years. A major benefit of the L-1A category is that it can provide a natural transition to the green card via the EB-1 category for multinational executives and managers.
The L-1B category allows for an initial 3 year stay, which may be extended up to a total of 5 years.
Where the petitioning U.S. employer has been doing business for less than one year, or where an entity abroad seeks to establish a new U.S. presence, the New Office L-1 can be an excellent option.