L-1B Visa (Intra-Company Transferee Visa for Specialized Knowledge Workers)

The L-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows a U.S. company to transfer an employee with specialized knowledge to the United States.

At Total Law, we are dedicated to helping employers, and employees get the L-1B visa they need. We understand the L-1B process from start to finish. We can help you prepare all of the necessary documents for an application. Reach out to one of our friendly immigration advisers on +1 844 290 6312 or find us online today.

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    L-1B Visa Overview

    The L-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows a U.S. company to transfer an employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.

    The L-1B visa holder must possess special knowledge or skills acquired through long experience in their field of expertise and typically have worked for the same company outside of the United States for at least one of the last three years.

    L-1B visa holders are allowed to live and work in the United States for up to five years, with extensions potentially available in some circumstances of up to two years. L-1B visa holders are also eligible to apply for permanent residency in the United States.

    The holder is also allowed to bring their immediate family with them, including a spouse and children under the age of 21. L-1B visa holders are also eligible for certain benefits such as travel, medical care, and work authorization.

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    What is Specialized Knowledge?

    Specialized knowledge refers to knowledge that is unique or uncommon to the organization’s business operations and has been acquired through significant experience or training.

    It must be knowledge that is not generally known or readily available in the U.S. workforce and should include a specific application of the knowledge to the organization’s product/service, process, or procedure which provides a competitive advantage to the organization’s operations and international markets.

    For example, the employee should possess specialized knowledge capacity in the following areas:

    • Technical or industry knowledge which is valuable to the organization’s operations.
    • Knowledge of foreign operating procedures, processes, or customers that are not readily available in the U.S.
    • Highly advanced technical troubleshooting skills applicable to complex products and services specific to the L-1B beneficiary’s company.

    L-1B Visa Eligibility Criteria

    To qualify for L-1B visa status, the employee must:

    • Be employed by a foreign company with an existing affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch in the United States.
    • Have worked abroad with that same employer for at least one of the last three years prior to the visa application.
    • Possess special knowledge or skills acquired through long experience in their field of expertise that is not generally known or available in the U.S.
    • Be coming to work for a branch, parent, affiliate, or subsidiary in the U.S. for up to five years.
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    What Are the Requirements for an L-1B Visa?

    The L-1B visa requires both the petitioning employer and foreign employee to meet certain requirements.

    Employees:

    • Must have worked for a qualifying organization abroad for at least one of the last three years prior to the application.
    • Must possess specialized knowledge or skills acquired through long experience in their field of expertise.
    • Must be employed by a U.S. branch, subsidiary, affiliate, or parent of the same employer they worked abroad with.

    Employers:

    • Must have an existing U.S. branch, subsidiary, affiliate, parent company that has been doing business for at least one year prior to the L-1B application.
    • Must be able to demonstrate a need for specialized knowledge in the United States and that the L-1B employee is needed to fill this need.
    • Must have secured sufficient physical premises to house the L-1B employee and their family, if applicable.

    What is the Application Process for an L-1B Visa?

    The petitioning employer must submit the L-1B visa application on behalf of the L-1B employee using Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker).

    The form must then be sent to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) along with the L-1B visa application fee, fees for L-1B dependent visas, and any other required supporting documentation.

    To fill in Form I-129, the L-1B employee must provide their passport and other documents detailing their specialized knowledge or skills.

    Once the form has been approved, the L-1B employer will fill Form I-197 (Notice of Action) and Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

    The first stage of the L-1B application begins with Form DS-160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application), which the L-1B employee must fill out.

    The L-1B applicant must then schedule and attend a visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.

    After the L-1B visa has been approved and issued, the L-1B employee can travel to the United States to begin working with the L-1B employer at their U.S. office.

    Get in touch with our expert immigration lawyers to receive assistance with your L-1B Visa application. Contact Us

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      What Documents are Needed with Form I-129?

      To submit the L-1B petition, the L-1B employer must provide all of the following documents as part of their application package:

      • Any evidence that shows the employee’s education, work experience, and specialized knowledge.
      • Documents that demonstrate the L-1B employer has a qualifying relationship with an affiliate, subsidiary, parent, or branch of their U.S. employer.
      • Company contracts and agreements between the L-1B employee and their foreign employer.
      • Proof that the L-1B applicant will have sufficient physical premises to accommodate them and their L-1B dependent family members, if applicable.

      What Documents are Needed for the L-1B Application?

      In addition to the L-1B application documents mentioned above, L-1B applicants must also provide all of the following documents for their L-1B visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate:

      • DS-160 Form.
      • Copy of L-1B employer’s business license or other evidence demonstrating its legitimacy.
      • Proof of L-1B employee’s specialized knowledge or skills.
      • Proof that the L-1B employee has worked abroad for at least one year during the last three years.
      • Proof of L-1B applicant’s ties to their home country.
      • A copy of their updated resume/CV.
      • A copy of the I-129 petition submitted by their employer to the USCIS.
      • The I-797 approval notice from USCIS.

      What is the Processing Time for an L-1B Visa?

      The L-1B visa processing time typically takes three to four months. However, it can take much longer depending on the number of applications submitted and the complexity of each L-1B application which can take six to twelve months.

      But if the employer wants the process to go faster, they will need to apply for premium processing by filing Form I-907 (Request for Premium Processing Service).

      This comes at an additional fee and will enable the L-1B application to be processed within fifteen days.

      How Much Does it Cost to Apply for an L-1B Visa?

      The L-1B filing fee is $460, plus a biometrics services fee of $85. In addition, there is an L-1 visa extension fee of $390.

      L-1B employers may also be required to pay an attorney’s fee to complete the L-1B visa application properly and ensure that their L-1B employee can enter the U.S. legally and on schedule.

      If the employer opted for premium processing, they would also have to pay an additional fee of $2,500. A DS-160 processing fee of $190 is also required.

      If you have any questions about your L-1B Visa application, our team is happy to assist. Contact Us

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        How Long is the L-1B Visa Valid?

        The L-1B visa is initially valid for up to three years and can be extended up to five years. Each L-1B applicant must demonstrate that their L-1B employer has a valid job for them in the United States and that they are qualified to fill it.

        L-1B visas can also be renewed indefinitely if L-1B employers can demonstrate a continuing need for their L-1B employee’s specialized knowledge or skills.

        For those coming to set up a new office in the U.S., L-1B visas can have an extension of 1 year. After the visa expires, the holders are expected to return to their home country.

        Family Visas for L-1B Visa Holders

        The L-1B visa allows the L-1B employee to bring their immediate family (spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age) with them to the United States.

        The L-1B employee’s spouse and children will be eligible for L-2 visas, which are valid for the same period as the L-1B visa.

        L-2 visa holders are eligible to apply for work authorization under certain circumstances and can remain in the United States during their L-2 status.

        How to Apply Under a Blanket Petition

        For L-1B applicants who will be transferred from an existing foreign office to a new U.S. office, their L-1B employer may be eligible to apply for an L-1 blanket petition by filing Form I-129 with the USCIS.

        With an L-1 blanket petition, L-1B employers can bring several L-1B employees from abroad at one time and need not submit separate L-1B applications for each L-1B employee.

        L-1 blanket petition applications require more documentation than the standard L-1B application and may take longer to process. To qualify for L-1 blanket petition status, L-1B employers:

        • Must have an established U.S. office and at least three L-1B employees already working in the United States for the past 12 months.
        • Must have obtained L-1B visas for at least ten L-1B employees during the past 12 months through L-1 visa applications or L-1 blanket petitions.
        • Must have three or more sub-offices or affiliates located outside of the United States.
        • Must have a satisfactory inspection and compliance record with the USCIS.

        L1B Visa Benefits

        The L-1B visa provides significant benefits to employers and specialized knowledge workers alike.

        With an L-1B visa, employers can quickly and easily transfer L-1B employees with specialized knowledge to the United States.

        L-1B foreign employees can benefit from being able to live and work in the U.S. for up to five years while still maintaining their ties to their home country.

        L-2 visa holders may also be eligible to apply for work authorization, allowing them to work in the United States.

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          Transitioning from an L-1B Visa to a Green Card

          The L-1B visa is the first step in the process of transitioning to a green card. L-1B employees can self-petition for an employment-based green card through one of several categories, such as the EB-2 or EB-3 classification.

          L-1B employers may also be able to sponsor their L-1B employees for a green card, depending on the L-1B employee’s qualifications and their employer’s needs.

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          How Can Total Law Help?

          Total Law’s L-1B visa team is composed of experienced attorneys, paralegals, and other professionals who know the L-1B process inside and out.

          We understand the complexities of L-1B visas and can help you navigate the application process with ease.

          Our team is dedicated to helping L-1B applicants and L-1B employers navigate the L-1B visa process, from initial application filing to green card applications.

          We offer comprehensive L-1B legal services that are tailored to each client’s individual needs, including:

          • Advising on L-1B eligibility requirements.
          • Preparing L-1B visa applications and L-1B petitions.
          • Representing L-1B visa holders in interviews with U.S. consular officers.
          • Assisting L-1B employers with L-1 blanket petition filing.
          • Applying for L-2 visas, work authorization, and green cards.

          Contact us today to learn more about L-1B visas and L-1B legal services. We look forward to helping you take the first step toward living, working, and thriving in the United States.

          Ready to get started? Contact us on +1 844 290 6312 or find us online.

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                    Frequently Asked Questions

                    The L1A visa is for executives and managers, while the L1B visa is for specialized knowledge employees. L1A visas are usually valid for up to seven years, while L1B visas are usually valid for up to five years.

                    The L1B visa is usually valid for up to five years. The L1B visa holder may apply for extensions of their L1B status in two-year increments.

                    The L1B visa is the first step in the process of transitioning to a green card. L-1B employees can self-petition for an employment-based green card through one of several categories, such as the EB-2 or EB-3 classification.