If your company has at least two offices, one in the U.S. and one abroad, your company might be able to petition for an employee with specialized knowledge to be transferred to the U.S. office in the L1-B status.
Benefits of the L1-B
There are several advantages to an L-1B visa. It can be valid up to five years, with a 3-year initial approval and the possibility of a two-year extension. L-2 spouses can get work permits (employment authorization documents). It is a dual intent visa, meaning that it is possible to sponsor the employee for a green card even though this is a nonimmigrant status.
Qualifications for an L1-B
To qualify for an L1-A visa, there must be a qualifying corporate relationship between the foreign company and the U.S. company. The employee must have worked for one continuous year in the last three years for the foreign company in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity. And the job position in the US must be in a specialized knowledge position.
What is “Specialized Knowledge” for an L1-B?
To receive an L1-B visa, the employee must have “specialized knowledge.” This knowledge is either “special” or “advanced.”
“Special” knowledge is:
[K]nowledge of the petitioning employer’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its applications in international markets that is demonstrably distinct or uncommon in comparison to that generally found in the particular industry or within the petitioning employer.
Or, they can have “advanced” knowledge, which is:
[K]nowledge or expertise in the organization’s specific processes and procedures that is not commonly found in the relevant industry and is greatly developed or further along in progress, complexity and understanding than that generally found within the petitioning employer.
Evidence to Establish L1-B Eligibility
You will need an abundance of evidence to prove all the requirements because the burden is on the petitioning company to demonstrate the manager or executive’s eligibility for L-1B status. This evidence can include letters from officials at the domestic and foreign companies, evidence to show that the U.S. company is established (or being started) such as articles of incorporation and marketing materials, information about the relationship between the two companies such as annual reports and tax returns, evidence of the employment abroad including a job description and wage and earning statements, a detailed job description regarding the proposed assignment, evidence of the employer-employee relationship for off-site positions, an organizational chart, the employee’s passport and US immigration documents, and resume. To prove “specialized knowledge,” evidence could include proof of training and education, evidence of how much the employee would affect the US company’s operations, contracts, correspondence, reports, training records, curricula, training manuals, patents, trademarks, licenses, payroll documents and federal or state wage documents. This is only a brief summary of possible evidence but since every situation is unique you should speak to an attorney to tailor the evidentiary package to your company’s specific situation.
L1-B Filing Fees
The USCIS filing fees include an I-129 base fee of $325, a $500 fraud prevention and detection fee, and a $2,250 fee if the U.S. company has more than 50 employees, at least 50% of whom are on H1-B or L-1 status.
Questions to Consider Regarding the L1-B…
Important issues to consider are whether the relationship between the two companies changed within the last three years; whether the employment abroad was not full-time or continuous; whether the manager or executive will be sent to the worksite of another company; whether this employee has at least a bachelor’s degree; and whether they will be opening a new office in the United States.