L-1A / L-1B Visas
The L category is reserved for intra-company transferees who are temporarily entering the U.S. to work in a managerial, executive or specialized knowledge capacity. Unlike the H-1B category, the L visa has the distinct advantage of not being subject to an annual cap on the number of allowable visas. In order to qualify for an L visa, the applicant must have worked for at least 12 consecutive months within the preceding three years for a company that is a parent, branch, affiliate or subsidiary of the U.S. company. The duration of stay differs for Canadian or Mexican executives and specialized knowledge workers, with executives being able to renew their visas for a maximum of seven years, while specialized knowledge workers are limited to a total of five years. Like the H-1B visa, the L visa is useful because the applicant does not have to prove non-immigrant intent as a condition of being approved for an L visa.
The Links on the right hand column offer a brief overview of U.S. Temporary Visas.