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How to Apply US L-1 VISA


I also have done this long time ago, just have time to write today :) Yes busy busy time at the office.


So let's start with US L-1 VISA definition. According to :

The United States L1 visa is a non-immigrant visa which allows companies operating both in the US and abroad to transfer certain classes of employee from  its foreign operations to the USA operations for up to seven years. The employee must have worked for a subsidiary, parent, affiliate or branch office of your US company outside of the US for at least one year out of the last three years.

Companies operating in the US can apply to the relevant USCIS service center for an L1 visa to transfer someone to the US from their overseas operations. Employees in this category will, initially, be granted an L-1 visa for up to three years.

There are two types of employees who may be sponsored for USA L1 visas:

  • Managers/Executives
  • Specialized Knowledge Staff

The dependent of L-1 holder (wife, children) will get L-2 Visa and eligible to work/study in the U. S.

Since some companies needs their transferred employees to stay longer than L-1 validity period, these companies have to sponsor for Green Card application.

In my case, Ericsson Inc. usually needs its transferred employees to stay longer than L-1 validity period, Green Card application process started immediately. I have received the required forms already from the HR and Immigration team, but I will write this Green Card application process later on when my application process finished.

Emloyer Forms

The company will fill the I-129 to be proposed to the USCIS ( U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) and will send the ORIGINAL approval from USCIS, the I-797  to the applicant. So we have to wait for FEDEX package for at least 1 week since these documents have to be original.

The I-129 contains Petitions from the employer showing that applicant has added values to national labor pool that can not be fulfilled by hiring U. S. Citizen.

The I-797 contains approval notice from USCIS for the applicant's I-129 and should be submitted to the U. S. Consul in original country for VISA stamp in applicant's Passport.

Applicant's Forms

The DS-160 form has to be completed online. Check all the forms here:

And very important thing is that the photograph should meet the requirement exactly. Just go to Jl. Sabang In Central Jakarta, lots of photo studio there comply with US Embassy standard.

The DS-160 should be filled for you and your dependent, one each. So I create 3 DS-160 forms: for me, my wife and my daughter. For DS-160, it should be filled to the full extent of completeness, for example is school history: fill in from your Playgroup/Kindergarten school up until University.

The Payment

L Visa costs USD 150 per person. It can be paid at Standard Chartered bank Margaguna (Near Pondok Indah, Radio Dalam). You should pay it on IDR (Fix currency, 1 USD = IDR 9000). After you pay this Visa fee, you will get application code which should be filled again online to book your interview appointment.

However at least 5 hours time after the payment until you can successfully enter the code into the online appointment booking website.

In the US Embassy, L Visa also cost USD 500 (IDR 4,500,000) to be paid in cash.

The Interview

You have to come early. I thought that I have come early enough 1 hour before the interview schedule, but when I come to the embassy, there's lot of people in line already :D. Just enjoy it. In the embassy you are not allowed to bring your smartphone. So yes, it was boring.

After the queue finished, in the front gate, there will be Indonesian staff of Embassy who will check your DS-160, I-129 and I-797 documents. All should be according to standard. If not, you will be asked to correct it first and come again tomorrow. Don't ever let this happen to you :)

After documents stated as complete, you will get your interview card. The interview card states which group you are belong to. And the interview is done while you standing, the interviewer will be behind glass speaking with you using speaker. Odd yes, but that's the fact.

There is no obligation for children to come to the interview, parents are able to represent their children, but make sure you bring your marriage certificate and child birth certificate (make sure it has English version or translate it first!!). So it was only me and my wife coming to the interview ,and the American Consul Interviewer was very nice and friendly. Compared to Indonesian lady staff at the front gate, she really "bark" at you in front of other people.

Our interview went smooth, he was asking about my competence, what will I help to get done in the US. I said I am helping them to do 3G/4G network design and he was satisfied with it. He asks whether I have been to US/Europe before. I said I went to Germany and Sweden back then. My wife asked whether she has been to US/Europe also before, and that's it.

We get our white paper (which means our Visa application is success) which contains where we should take our Visa at Fedex office Jakarta. I have read somewhere that if you get yellow paper, you need to review your application and red paper is for being rejected.

Hope this writing useful ;)