The L-1B visa allows for the intracompany transfer of a specialized knowledge employee of a foreign entity to a U.S. parent, affiliate, and subsidiary company. The employee must perform services in a specialized knowledge position to the U.S. business, so as to ensure the company’s continued functioning of its international operation.
L-1B Visa Requirements
L-1B – Specialized Knowledge
The sponsoring company must meet the following criteria:
Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate) and
Currently be, or will be, doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States as an L-1.
The foreign national employee must meet the following criteria:
Generally have been working for a qualifying organization abroad for one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding his or her admission to the United States; and
Be seeking to enter the United States to provide service in a specialized knowledge capacity to a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.
Specialized Knowledge means either:
special knowledge possessed by an individual of the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or
an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures
Foreign employers may send specialized knowledge employees to the United States to be employed in a qualifying new office.
In addition to the above requirements, the employer must show:
The employer has secured sufficient physical premises to house the new office; and
The employee has been employed as an executive or manager for one continuous year in the three years preceding the filing of the petition; and
Period of Stay
Qualified employees entering the United States to establish a new office will be allowed a maximum initial stay of one year.
All other qualified employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of three years.
For all L-1B employees, requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to an additional two years.
The maximum period of stay allowed on L-1B is five years.
Dependent Spouses and Children of L-1B nonimmigrants may qualify for L-2 status.
Spouses of L-1B nonimmigrants are work authorized through the filing of the Application for Employment Authorization. If granted, no restrictions apply as to where the L-2 spouse may work.
Filing a blanket petition is available to certain organizations who wish to establish the required intracompany relationship in advance of filing individual L-1 petitions.
Eligibility for blanket L certification may be established if:
The petitioner and each of the qualifying organizations are engaged in commercial trade or services;
The petitioner has an office in the United States which has been doing business for one year or more;
The petitioner has three or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates; and
The petitioner along with the other qualifying organizations meet one of the following criteria:
Have obtained at least 10 L-1 approvals during the previous 12-month period;
Have U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates with combined annual sales of at least $25 million; or
Have a U.S. work force of at least 1,000 employees.