L-1B Visas for Specialized Knowledge
The L-1B Visa nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. The L1B visa classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send a specialized knowledge employee to the United States to help establish one under the L-1 visa.
General Qualifications of the Employer and Employee under the L-1B Visa provisions
To qualify for L1 visa classification in this category, the L-1B visa petitioning employer must have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate, collectively referred to as qualifying organizations); and currently be, or will be, doing business as an employer under the L1 visa 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 L1B visa holder.
Among other requirements for the L-1B visa the employee must 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 under the L visa; and be seeking to enter the United States to render services in a specialized knowledge capacity to a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations under L-1B visa.
Specialized knowledge under the L-1B visa means 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 expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures. Such knowledge under the L-1 visa is beyond the ordinary and not commonplace within the industry or the petitioning organization. In other words, the employee must be more than simply skilled or familiar with the petitioning L-1B visa employer’s interests.
For foreign employers who are seeking to send an employee with specialized knowledge under the L-1 visa to the United States in order to be employed in a qualifying new office, it must also be shown that sufficient physical premises to house the new office have been secured; and the L-1B visa petitioning employer has the financial ability to remunerate the employee and begin doing business in the United States once the L1B visa is approved.
Period of Stay
Qualified employees entering the United States under the L-1B visa to establish a new office will be allowed a maximum initial stay of one year. This is generally the standard for our immigration lawyers for L-1B visa. All other qualified employees under the L-1B visa will be allowed a maximum initial stay of three years. For all L1B visa employees, requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to an additional two years, until the employee has reached the maximum limit of five years under the L1 visa.
Family of L-1 Visa Workers
The transferring employee under the L-1B visa may be accompanied or followed by his or her spouse and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. Such family members of the L-1B visa holder may seek admission in L-2 nonimmigrant classification and, if approved, generally will be granted the same period of stay as the L1 visa employee.
Blanket Petitions for the L-1B visa
Certain organizations may establish the required intracompany relationship in advance of filing individual L1 visa petitions by filing a L-1B blanket petition. Among other requirements, in order to establish eligibility for blanket L visa certification, the employer and each of the qualifying organizations must be engaged in commercial trade or services; must have an office in the United States which has been doing business for one year or more and must have three or more domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, and affiliates.
Mr. Galstyan, an experienced immigration attorney specializing in L-1B visas, has successfully handled countless L-1B visa cases. Our firm has the ability and experience to help you in getting your L1B visa. We prepare and file your L-1 visa petition along with the required documentation as well as supporting evidence to ensure that your L1 visa is approved by the USCIS. Please contact our office for your free, no obligation consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer.