The L-1B visa is a subtype of the L-1 non-immigrant visa. It enables the transfer of highly skilled individuals with the requisite knowledge and expertise from overseas associated offices to offices in the United States. It also allows international firms to deploy an employee to the United States to open a new office.
An employer must do the following to obtain an L-1A visa:
- Have legal ties to a foreign corporation (head office, branch, or subsidiary);
- Currently doing business in the United States and at least one other country, either directly or through a recognized entity. The company must be in operation for the duration of the employee’s L-1 visa stay in the United States. International trade is not required, but businesses must be viable.
To do business means to actively and constantly look for goods and/or services, and to do so on a regular and systematic basis. Having an office or an agent is not regarded as adequate for conducting active business in the United States and abroad.
The employee must meet the following standards in order to get an L-1B visa:
- Worked at the relevant organization abroad for at least one year in the three years preceding your arrival in the US (evidence that work abroad has been associated with specialized knowledge may include: job instructions, organizational schemes indicating your position, patents, or other evidence that the company’s technology, products, or services are based on your work);
- The entry into the United States must be for the purpose of providing expert services to a branch of the same company or one of its subsidiaries.
Specialized knowledge means that the person has a special skill and understanding of products, services, research, equipment, and other issues connected to worldwide market application, or is able to grasp the operations and procedures of a certain firm.
Foreign employers who want to deploy a specialized employee to the United States to work in a new office must:
- The employer is required to offer physical space for the establishment of a new office.
- To have the financial resources to establish new offices and begin conducting business in the United States.
Applications made on behalf of L-1B employees who will work at the workplace of an employer other than the petitioning firm, or its affiliates, subsidiaries, or parent company, are given special consideration.
In order for an employee to be eligible for L-1B status in this case, the petitioning company must demonstrate the following:
- The employee will not be controlled or subordinated to a non-affiliated employer; the work must be distinct from work performed under contract for a non-affiliated company.
The L-1B visa is initially valid for three years, with the option of renewing for another two years. The L-1B visa has a maximum stay of 5 years. Qualified personnel who visit the United States to create a new office are permitted a one-year initial stay.
Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of L-1 visa holders may apply for an L-2 visa to live and work in the United States. The L-2 visa allows you to stay in the United States for the same amount of time as an L-1 visa holder. L-1 visa holders’ spouses may be eligible for EAD.