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L-1B Intracompany Transfer Visas for Employees with Specialized Knowledge

A BASIC OVERVIEW OF THE VISA IS PROVIDED HERE. IF YOU HAVE FURTHER INQUIRIES AS TO THE APPLICATION PROCESS OR WHETHER OR NOT THIS IS THE CORRECT ROUTE FOR YOUR NEEDS, PLEASE DON'T HESITATE TO CONTACT US.

L-1B Overview

While the L-1 visa for intracompany transfers is discussed more generally here, there are important considerations for the L-1B for employees with specialized knowledge.

Employee requirements and Specialized knowledge

In the L-1B subcategory, the beneficiary must be seeking to enter the United States to provide services in a specialized knowledge by his or her understanding of the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management or other interests and its application in international markets that is generally not found among the population. It may also apply to an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures that is not common in the relevant industry.

Furthermore he knowledge must relate exclusively to the petitioner's business - general knowledge, even if highly developed, is not enough to be considered specialized. An example would be knowledge essential to a special research program or specifically tailored knowledge related to a company's particular products or processes. Similarly, the specialized knowledge should be proprietary in that it would be economically inconvenient to groom a replacement, and should be specialized through means and to a degree that can only be achieved through experience with that employer. 

Individuals who may be considered persons of specialized knowledge include, but are not limited to architects, lawyers, engineers, physicians, surgeons and teachers.

It is also necessary that the prospective beneficiary be identified by the company as part of its "key" personnel. He or she should enjoy some level of status above that of the normal workers, and if everyone in the individual's workforce is considered to have specialized knowledge, the applicant in question's specialized knowledge may be negated to USCIS. This is not to say that the knowledge or status must be extraordinary, it is simply to mean that it should be above that of average personnel.  

It is worth noting that an L-1B may enjoy more of an increased likelihood of being granted if the company is not expecting too many employees, making it easier to demonstrate that the beneficiary has a specialized knowledge of the company’s products or services not found in others. It should also be noted that, under the L-1B visa, a petitioner does not need to show a need for a manager at the conclusion of the first year.

In summary, the petition should include evidence of the following:

  • The beneficiary's specialized knowledge is distinguished by qualifications typically not found in the beneficiary's industry.
  • The specialized knowledge is advanced and thus set apart from the more basic or elementaru knowledge possessed by others in the workplace.

Employee's Stationed at Worksites of Employers that are Not the Petitioner

According to the L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2004, which targets L-1B employees stationed primarily at the worksite of an of an employer other than the petitioner or its affiliate, subsidiary or parent, there are two additional requirements that must be satisfied in order to establish eligibility:

  • The employee will not be principally controlled or supervised by the unaffiliated employer.
  • The duties performed by the employee are not considered to be labor for hire by the unaffiliated employer.

Time Allotment 

The initial L-1B petition will be approved for three years (one year for new office petitions) and can be renewed once for two years, allowing a total of five years residence under the visa.


 

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