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.