The L-1B Intracompany Specialized Knowledge
The L-1 B nonimmigrant classification allows foreign companies seeking global growth and expansion in the U.S to transfer professional employees with specialized knowledge temporarily to work at their existing U.S. office or to set up a new office. It is the employer who files the petition on the behalf of the prospective employee and has the burden to show that all of the requirements are satisfied.
Qualifying as an Employer
The U.S. employer must show that:
- It has a qualifying relationship with a foreign company which is either the parent company, the affiliate, the branch, or the subsidiary, and
- Both the U.S. and the foreign companies are doing business (engaged in regular, systematic, and continuous provision of services or goods) in the U.S. and at least in another country directly or through the qualifying organization during the entire period of the employee’s temporary assignment in the U.S.
Qualifying as an Employee
The U.S. employer must show that the prospective employee:
- Has been working for a qualifying organization abroad for one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding the year of the employee’s transfer to the U.S., and
- Will be transferred to the U.S. in an executive or managerial capacity.
Special requirements for Specialized Knowledge
The prospective professional employee must have:
- Special knowledge of the employer’s product, techniques, research, service, management, or
- Special knowledge of the product’s application in the international markets, or
- Advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures.
New office’s additional requirements
If the foreign employer is seeking to transfer the executive or the manager to set up a new office, the employer must show that:
- The new office will have the ability to support the executive or managerial position within one year of the approval of the petition
- The employee has been employed as an executive or a manager for one continuous year in the three years preceding the filing of the petition.
The employee is not required to hold the same type of position at the foreign company and at the U.S. office.
The L-1B prospective employee will work at a different site than the employer’s site
If the employee will work primarily at a site other than the employer’s site, the employer must show that:
- The employee will remain under the control and supervision of the employer, and
- The work the employee will provide does not qualify as labor for hire by the unaffiliated employer.
Validity of the L-1A nonimmigrant visa
The L-1A nonimmigrant visa is generally issued for one year for a new office in the U.S. (less than a year) which can be extended for another two years and not to exceed seven years. Any time the executive or the manager spends outside the U.S. can be recovered towards the seven-year limit.
For more information, please see https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-nonimmigrant-workers
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