The Complete Guide to L1 Visa Interview Questions

Updated on April 10, 2024

At a Glance

  • The L1 visa, or intracompany transferee visa, allows temporary transfer of foreign employees within the same organization.
  • It requires sponsorship from the parent organization or its subsidiary.
  • Visa duration ranges from 3 months to 5 years, extendable up to 7 years, and holders can pursue permanent resident status.
  • Part-time work is allowed, and visa holders face a comprehensive interview covering various categories.

Are you working for an American company in a foreign office? Do you aspire to migrate to the United States in a managerial/executive capacity? An L1 visa can be the tailor-made entry card for you to the United States. Go through this article to find out everything you need to know about the L1 visa and a look at the questions asked during the L1 visa interview.

What Is an L1 Visa?

The US L1 visa, also known as the intracompany transferee visa, is a non-immigrant visa valid for a relatively short duration. It is aimed to facilitate the temporary transfer of foreign employees in a managerial or executive role within the same organization. The candidate must be a permanent employee of the parent organization or its subsidiary to gain entry to the U.S. under the L1 visa provision. The duration of the visa ranges from 3 months to 5 years and can be extended up to 7 years on subsequent requests.

Gaining entry into the U.S. through an L1 visa requires the employee and employer to fulfill several prerequisites. First of all, the company must have an international presence with offices in both the United States and abroad. Foreign workers must possess at least one continuous year of experience in the organization to experience the benefit of the L1 visa.

Dual Intent for the L1 Visa

The L1 visa is often referred to as a dual intent visa. Most of the U.S. visa types require the applicants to ensure their intention of not immigrating to the United States permanently. The L1 visa is an exception in this regard. Under U.S. immigration law, L1 visa holders are not required to maintain a foreign residence.

The spouse and minor dependents of L1 visa holders automatically qualify for the L2 visa. Spouses are allowed to work in the U.S. without any restrictions after gaining their EAD (Employee Authorization Document). Eventually, most of the L1 visa holders end up establishing resident status in the United States. That’s why many consider an L1 visa as a stepping stone to obtaining a Green Card under the doctrine of Dual Intent.

Part-Time Work on an L1 Visa

While full-time employment with a U.S. company is mandatory to obtain an L1 visa, once approved, it is not necessary for the employee to maintain full-time working status with the U.S. employer. The employee is allowed to spend a significant portion of their time with the U.S. company while accepting part-time work from other foreign organizations at the same time. In other words, you can have regular employment outside the United States and yet maintain the L1 visa status to work in the U.S. on a short-term basis.

L1 Visa Interview

To gain entry to the United States on an L1 Visa, you must crack the visa interview first. It’s not an easy task if you are not well prepared. To have a better chance of success, you must devote time to research the most common questions asked during the interview process.

Typically, L1 visa interview questions can broadly be categorized into 4 groups – general, related to the current job, related to work in the U.S., L1B, and L1A. Here’s a summary of each category along with the frequently asked questions.

General

This section is aimed at ascertaining your personal information, background, and your knowledge about the U.S. Passport and travel-related questions dominate this segment. Some of the commonly asked questions are:

  • Have you ever been employed in the United States?
  • Do you have any previous experience working in foreign countries?
  • What visa are you applying for?
  • Have you visited the U.S. before on either business or personal trips?

Current Job

This segment of the L1 visa interview deals with your present responsibilities. Details about your current employer, past employers, experience, role, customers, and nature of the job. Typical questions include:

  • Where are you currently working?
  • What is your total professional experience?
  • What roles and responsibilities do you have in your current job?
  • What were you doing prior to joining your present employer?

Work in the U.S.

Your proposed employment with the U.S. employer is discussed in detail in this section. It involves your work location, employer details, proposed salary, potential clients, and other relevant information. A few examples are:

  • Where will you work in the United States?
  • What will be your job responsibilities?
  • Will you be on a U.S. payroll or a foreign payroll?
  • Why can’t the work be done from your home country?

There are two types of L1 visas. L1A is for managers and executives, while L1B is for professionals with specialized knowledge. If you are applying for an L1A visa, you will be asked a set of questions that typically deals with managerial positions. The questions are aimed at ascertaining your managerial skills and the authority you will have in the proposed role. Listed below are some of the frequently asked questions:

  • Will you have budgetary authority?
  • Will you be responsible for hiring and/or firing employees?
  • How many employees will directly report to you?
  • Will you have a say in your company’s policy making?

The L1B visa is extended to professionals with specialized skills. You must possess in-depth domain knowledge for your L1B visa to get approved. The visa interview is usually conducted by an individual with excellent domain knowledge in your field of specialization. In this section, you will be asked about your specialized knowledge and professional skills including your hands-on knowledge and experience level.

  • What is your specialization?
  • Which professional skills do you think are most appropriate for this job?
  • You are applying for a job that requires specialized knowledge. Why do you think it is special?
  • How long have you been working in your specialized field?

Tips for the L1 Interview

Looking for some expert advice and tips to prepare yourself better for the L1 visa interview? Don’t worry, you’re in the right place.

What matters most is your behavior and body language during the interview process. Also, the manner in which you answer the questions can either make or break the deal.

How to Behave During Your L1 Interview

The first tip is to arrive for the interview on time. Punctuality makes a positive impression.

Be confident in your approach and don’t panic. Always maintain eye contact with the interviewer and be an active listener. Be calm and composed. Listen to the questions carefully and take your own sweet time to answer them. Speak in an audible voice, but avoid going high pitch.

Don’t forget to greet the interviewer to break the ice and wish them well at the end of the interview. Dress in an appropriate and comfortable manner. Last but not least, maintain a subtle smile throughout the interview process.

How to Best Answer Questions During Your L1 Interview?

The interviewer may not be well versed in your field of specialization. That’s why it is important to avoid jargon and use terms that even a layman can understand. Throwing too many technical terms won’t impress the interviewer, explaining it in a plain and simple way is the way to crack visa interviews.

Another important thing to keep in mind is to be precise. Answer to the point without digressing too much. It helps to be truthful. If you don’t know something, admit it rather than trying to sugar-coat diplomatically. Showing presence of mind in answering questions creatively can enhance your chances of getting selected. Finally, be prepared to justify your answer and provide further explanation, if asked for.

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Conclusion

An L1 visa can be the stepping stone for your dream of a U.S. job. However, not everyone is fortunate enough to clear the strict screening procedure. It’s important to prepare well for the interview and put your best foot forward. Being confident, truthful, and articulate can help you to a great extent in clearing the interview process.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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