What is an L-1B Visa?

What is an L-1B Visa?

The L-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa for intracompany transferees with specialized knowledge. The employee’s specialized knowledge must be expertise about the organization’s interests for the transfer of a foreign office to an affiliated office in the United States. With an L-1B visa, you are able to establish a U.S. office from the originally affiliated office if one does not already exist. Your employer petitions for you, the employee, providing evidence of their credentials and your professionalism in the field of business needed to establish the U.S. branch of the company.

Who Qualifies for an L-1B Visa?

Both the employer and employee must have evidence of their respective qualifications and eligibility for the employee to qualify as an L1B specialized knowledge for U.S. individual.

Employer Qualifications

  • The employer must have a qualifying relationship with the foreign organization.
  • Parent company, branch, affiliates, or subsidiaries are all included as qualifying organizations
  • They must be a U.S. employer who is planning on or presently doing business in another country directly or through a qualifying organization while the L-1 beneficiary is working with an L1B visa in the U.S. The employer’s work is not required to be involved in international trade.
  • To qualify as doing business, the employer must perform regular, systematic, and continuous provision of the business’s service. Doing business does not include simply being present as an agent or office either in the U.S. or abroad.

Employee Qualifications

  • The employee must have been working for a qualifying organization while abroad for at least one continuous year in the three years prior to obtaining the L-1B visa
  • Must be seeking to enter the United States to work for a branch of the same employer or qualifying organization(s) to provide specialized knowledge

What Does Specialized Knowledge Mean?

The L-1B visa is for an intracompany transferee with specialized knowledge. You must have specialized knowledge of your petitioning organization’s:

  • Product and services
  • Research
  • Equipment
  • Management
  • Technicalities
  • Any other interest

Along with these knowledge bases, you must have specialized knowledge in:

  • Your company’s implementation in international markets; or
  • Expertise in your company’s process and procedures

Employees with specialized knowledge may include engineers, teachers, lawyers, an executive or manager.

Additional L1-B Requirements

Employer Qualifications for New U.S. Offices

If your petitioner is abroad, wishes to establish a new office in the United States, and would like to send an employee with specialized knowledge to do so, your employer must prove that they have:

  • Secured a physical space that is suitable for to accommodate the new office
  • The funds available to pay the employee and start conducting business in the U.S.

L-1 Visa Reform Act

If your petition for an L-1B visa was filed on or after June 6, 2005, and your work will be stationed somewhere other than the petitioner’s, then the petitioning employer needs to show:

  • You, the employee, will not be controlled or supervised by an unaffiliated employer
  • Your work will not be considered labor for hire by an unaffiliated employer

How To Apply

The L-1B individual visa process must be completed by the employer along with the following:

  1. Your employee must submit Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and L Classification Supplement. They must send the completed form the direct filing address associated with your company’s location.
    • The L-1B visa cost is $460 for Form I-129. If your employer wishes to proceed with premium processing, they must file a Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing, which costs $2,500. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) guarantees processing withing 15 calendar days
    • L1B individual visa processing time varies depending on filing location. Check to see your individual case’s processing time through USCIS

Additional fees for L-1 visas include:

  • $4,500 for petitioners who employ 50 U.S. employees, at least half of whom have H-1B, L-1A, or L-1B nonimmigrant status
  • $500 for employers seeking a) initial L-1 statuses or b) approval for an L-1 holding employee to change employers including new concurrent employment

Ensure all applicable L-1B visa eligibility criteria is sent with the form, which includes:

  • Descriptions of job duties and qualifications
  • Evidence of employee’s specialized knowledge
  • Beneficiary’s qualifying employment records in a specialized, applicable position
  • New office qualifications (if applicable)
  1. Once the USCIS receives the petition, you will get a receipt along with your acceptance or declination
  2. Once accepted, complete Form DS-160 online
  3. Schedule an appointment for your visa interview
  4. Go to your interview and bring all required documents
  5. Once your application is approved, you will be issued you L-1B visa and returned passport

As an L-1B visa holder, you will now be able to legally live, work, and travel in the United States. You will also be able to establish your company’s U.S. branch, and be able to apply for permanent residency.

L-1B Validity Period of Stay

L-1B visa holders are eligible to stay for:

  • One-year maximum initial stay if the employee’s task is to establish a new office
  • Three-year maximum initial stay for all other qualified employees

L-1B visa extension of stay can increase in two-year increments until you reach the limit of five years.

L-1B to L-1A

You are allowed to petition for a status change from L-1B to L-1A green card status. This would increase your maximum stay to seven years. If you would like to do this, your L-1A petition needs to be approved before you have completed 4.5 years with your currently L-1B Visa. Because your L-1B visa is contingent on your employer being your petitioner, you may not change employers under your L-1B visa. If you are looking to change employers after receiving your L-1B visa, you may be eligible by changing from your currently visa to an H-1 visa.

Family Members of L-1B Visa Recipients

If you would like to be joined by your family (spouse and children under 21-years-old and are unmarried), they may petition for L-2 status. If their L-2 nonimmigrant visa is approved, it is common they will have the same period of stay as you the L-1 holder.

L-1B Blanket Visa Petitions

Companies may like to transfer a significant number of employees at once between the U.S. and Canada. To establish a blanket L certification, the company:

  • Must be engaged in commercial trade or services
  • Have a U.S. office doing business for 1 year or more
  • Have three or more offices in the U.S. and abroad
  • Must have either obtained 10 or more L-1 visas in the past year, show annual sales of $25 million, or have at least 1,000 employees in the United States

Contact an Attorney Today

The experienced attorneys at Scott D. Pollock & Associates PC are here to help you every step of the way in your US L-1B visa process, any L visa, or any other U.S. green card. We understand how demanding the process is of obtaining your intracompany transferee green card and care about your experience coming to the United States.

Contact a member of our team today (312) 444-1940.

For questions and/or to arrange a consultation with one of our attorneys contact us now

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