L-1B visa: Specialized Knowledge Intracompany Transferee:

What is L-1B visa classification?

An L-1B visa allows U.S. companies with affiliated foreign offices to transfer employees in specialized knowledge positions to the U.S. for up to 5 years. The initial granting of an L-1B visa is valid for 3 years. Extensions are allowed in increments of 2 years with a maximum of 5 years allowed.

What are L-1B Visa requirements?

U.S. company and foreign company must have a qualifying relationship

Employee must have been employed with the foreign company for at least 1 continuous year in the 3 years preceding his or her admission in the U.S;

Employee’s  position at the foreign company qualifies as a specialized knowledge position;

S. position must employ the Employee to perform same specialized knowledge services.

Specialized Knowledge is beyond the ordinary and not commonplace within the industry or the petition organization. In other words, the employee must be more than simply skilled or familiar with the employer’s interests. This specialized knowledge can refer to the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets. Or, it could refer to an expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures

What are the specific requirements for the L-1B Employer?

The company must have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company, such as a parent company, branch office, subsidiary, or affiliate of the foreign company. These are collectively referred to as qualifying entities or qualifying organizations. The entities may include corporations, non-profits, religious or charitable organizations.

The company must also 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-1B. While the business must be viable, there is no requirement that it be engaged in international trade.

Doing business refers to the regular, systematic, and continuous provision of goods and/or services by a qualifying organization and does not include the mere presence of an agent or office of the qualifying organization in the United States and abroad.

What are the specific requirements for the L-1B Employee?

The employee must have worked abroad for the overseas company for a continuous period of one year within the three years immediately preceding his or her admission to the United States. Any time spent working in the United States will not count toward the one year of required employment.

The employee must have been employed abroad in a specialized knowledge position, otherwise known as a qualifying position.

The employee must be coming to the U.S. to provide service in a specialized knowledge capacity for a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.

What does being employed in a Specialized Knowledge position mean?

To serve in a specialized knowledge capacity, the alien’s knowledge must be

different from or surpass the ordinary or usual knowledge of an employee in the particular field and must have been gained through significant prior experience with the petitioning organization. A specialized knowledge employee must have an advanced level of expertise in his or her organization’s processes and procedures or special knowledge of the organization, which is not readily available in the United States labor market.

Some characteristics of an employee who has specialized knowledge are that he or she:

Possesses knowledge that is valuable to the employer’s competitiveness in the market place;

Is uniquely qualified to contribute to the U.S. employer’s knowledge of

foreign operating conditions;

Has been utilized as a key employee abroad and has been given significant assignments which have enhanced the employer’s productivity, competitiveness, image, or financial position; and

Possesses knowledge, which can be gained only through extensive prior experience with the employer

What are specific requirements for a new office?

One of the benefits of the L-1B visa program is that it allows companies the opportunity to re-locate employees to the United States to expand their business and open up new offices. For foreign companies who want to send an L-1B visa employee to the United States for the purpose of establishing a new office, the following criteria must also be met:

The company must have secured a sufficient physical premise to house the new office.

The employee has been employed as a specialized knowledge for one continuous year in the three years preceding the filing of the petition; and

The new U.S. office will support the said specialized knowledge position within one year of receiving petition approval.

 

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