The L1B visa is a non-immigrant visa issued by the U.S. Citizenship-Immigration Services (USCIS) to eligible employees from petitioning employers. The L1B visa is for intra-company transferees with specialized knowledge. The L1B visa allows a U.S. employer to move an employee from its foreign branch offices to a U.S. branch office. Further, a foreign company can send an employee to the U.S. to initiate the company’s operations using the L1B visa. In both cases, the petitioning employer must prove that the employee has specialized knowledge.
Employer Qualifications to Apply for L1B Visa
In general, the petitioning employer in the U.S. must have a valid relationship with the foreign organization or branch where the employee works. The working relationship may include a branch, affiliate or subsidiary of the U.S. petitioning company. A foreign company or petitioning employer might also plan to start its operations or business in the United States during the requested period of stay for the L1B employee. USCIS also defines the meaning of performing or establishing a business within the United States. The company must be engaged in providing services, or offering the production or sale of products from its offices within the U.S. A mere presence of the company as a business agent does not qualify the employer to file for an L1B visa.
Employee Qualifications to Apply for L1B Visa
The petitioning staff member must have worked for the petitioning organization for a period no less than one year during the previous three years prior to the entry date into the United States. The petitioning employee must possess specialized knowledge and must work in the petitioning employer’s offices or one its qualified entities in the United States. USCIS defines specialized knowledge as the knowledge or expertise possessed by the employee regarding the petitioning employer’s products, services, businesses, processes, equipment or techniques.
The L1 visa reform act of 2004 makes it clear that the petitioning employee must be supervised or controlled by the affiliated employer only, while working in the United States. In addition, the job functions performed by the petitioning employee shall not be considered as labor for hire.
Period of Stay
If the petitioning employee plans to work in the United States for establishing the foreign employer’s business, then the L1B visa is granted approval for a minimum period of one year. All other employees will be given an initial approval period of three years. The maximum initial timeframe for the L1B visa is five years, which is granted in increments of two years.
Family Visa for L-1B Employees
The petitioning employee’s unmarried children below 21 years of age and his or her spouse are eligible to enter U.S. using the dependent L2 visa. The L2 visa is also approved for the same duration as the L1B visa approved for the primary applicant. The L2 visa holders are eligible to apply for employment authorization document (EAD) while in the United States. The employment authorization document allows the petitioning applicant’s dependents to legally work in the United States. The L2 dependents cannot work if the L1B visa is no longer valid or has expired.
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If you are interested in pursuing an L-1B visa for yourself or an employee, contact us immediately. Our experienced staff knows just how to manage an L-1B visa case and has a proven track record of success. We offer free initial consultations by phone or at our office so that you can make an informed decision. To set up a free consultation to discuss your case – call our office or, send us a message online with a description of your case.