There are two types of L1 visa, L-1A and L-1B. The difference between these 2 types of L1 visas has to do with the work the beneficiary will perform in the United States. If the L1 visa beneficiary will work as a manager or executive for the US company, then they are classified as L1A. If the L1 visa beneficiary will work as a specialized knowledge worker for the US company, then they are classified as L1B.
One of the primary differences between the L1A visa and the L1B has to do with the length of stay permitted under each classification. The L1A visa permits a maximum stay of up to 7 years while the L1B visa permits a maximum stay of up to 5 years.
If the beneficiary starts out as a specialized knowledge worker and come to the US with L-1B visa and then promoted to managerial position, can he/she transfer to L-1A and get the benefit of full 7 years of maximum stay? The answer is yes. According to 8 C.F.R. §214.2(l)(15)(ii), “when an alien was initially admitted to the United States in a specialized knowledge capacity and is later promoted t o a managerial or executive position, he or she must have been employed in the managerial or executive position for at least six months to be eligible for the total period of stay of seven years. The change to managerial or executive capacity must have been approved by the Service in an amended, new, or extended petition at the time that the change occurred.” There for, if a L-1B worker is promoted and would like to get the full 7 years benefits as a L-1A, his/her employer must file L-1A petition for him/her at least 6 months prior to the expiration date of the L-1B stay, and then file extension of the L-1A stay upon expiration of the 5-year maximum stay of his/her original L-1B.