The L-1B visa is for persons employed for at least one of the previous three years at a non-U.S. firm, corporation, or other legal entity, who will come to the U.S. to work at its related entity in the United States as an employee who has specialized knowledge.
An L-1B visa application must meet the three requirements:
- The petitioning United States company must be affiliated with the company abroad, as a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate. This relationship is demonstrated either by one entity having control over the other, or by both entities being controlled by the same person or entity;
- The L-1B visa applicant must be employed at the company abroad for at least one of the previous three years before the L-1B visa application is filed with the CIS. Time spent in the United States on temporary assignment or as a trainee of the foreign firm does not count toward the one year of employment with the company abroad; and
- The employee must be coming to work at the United States company to utilize specialized knowledge.
An employee with “specialized knowledge” has either of the following:
- A special knowledge of the company product and its application in international markets or has an advanced level of knowledge of processes and procedures of the company; or
- an advanced level of professional or technical expertise, and
- proprietary knowledge of the organization’s services, products, technology, strategies, or
- any other corporate function that is essential to the United States company’s successful operation.
The U.S. and foreign companies must be related. The companies may qualify for L-1B visa if either company controls the other. Control can be either direct or indirect ownership.
“Ownership” can be any of the following:
- One company owns more than fifty percent of the other affiliated entity; or
- Both U.S. and non-U.S. entities are controlled by the same person or entity.
Validity of an L-1B Visa
If the applicant is coming to the United States to work at a new U.S. office, an L-1B visa is good for one year initially. If the applicant is coming to the United States to work at an established company, in existence for more than one year, an L-1B visa holder will be admitted for three years initially An L-1B visa may be extended for a total of five years.