Filing: The U.S. employer files the petition for a transfer of the foreign national, once approved, the petition is forwarded to a U.S. Consulate where the L-1 visa may be obtained. Those already in the U.S. must change their status to L-1, which is incorporated in the L-1 petition.
One year bar: An alien in L-1 status that has exhausted their full period of stay is barred from U.S. entry on an H or L visa until they have lived outside of the U.S. for one full year. Trips to the U.S. during that year extend the time of the one year bar. The USCIS may also combine periods of stay in the H-1 and L-1 statuses to find that a full period of stay has been exhausted and the one year bar applies.
Termination: Employees that are terminated must depart the U.S. immediately, no matter when their stay expires.
Owner Exception: An owner is not considered an employee of the company for the L-1 visa. This is especially true if there is no legal difference between the owner and the corporation, such as a partner.
NAFTA Exception: Under NAFTA, there is a strike provision for Canadian and Mexican nationals on L-1 visas. A L-1 petition may be denied or suspended if the DOL certifies work stoppage with the employer sponsoring the L-1 petition.