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Can Anyone Go To US On L-1B Visa?

The L-1B visa is used for intra-company transfers of specialized knowledge staff to US from affiliate offices, subsidiaries and branches in other countries. But it is immensely challenging to file the petition for L-1B visa and it is best for the company to check whether the personnel come under the preview of the Specialized Knowledge criteria.

As per the federal regulations, the criteria for being considered Specialized Knowledge staff includes experience in service, equipment, management, advanced level of knowledge of procedures and processes. The company needs to consider:

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• Does the employee have knowledge that is competitive and can contribute to the US Company’s operations?

• Has the employee been in a capacity of managing significant projects and has led to better skill sets, enhanced productivity or better financial position?

• Has the employee gained significant knowledge within the company or when working in the company projects?

• Does the employee have specialized knowledge and skills sets related to the products that is not known within US?

This is the basic homework that the company needs to do before filing for the L-1B visa to ensure that the documentation is complete and there is no requirement of time consuming proofs and other requests that the USCIS asks for when the documentary evidence is incomplete. The tenure of the L-1 visa varies from 2 to 5 years depending upon the petitioner’s home country such as if you are from China, you can be granted a visa initially only for 2 years while if you are from Germany, you would be granted the visa for 5 years to start with. However, you are eligible for extensions after the initial 2-3 year visa.

The L-category visa is divided into two different categories depending on the requirements of the company. The L-1A visa is meant for managers and executives has a validity of 7 years while the specialized knowledge staff is given the L-1B visa for a period of 5 years. Additionally, companies that need to transfer mangers and knowledge staff often are granted blanket L-1 visa. But on an individual level, it has to be applied by the petitioner and USCIS has to complete the checks before approval is given.

It is important that the employee filing for the L-1 visa has been employed with the company for the past 3 years. They have to prove specialized knowledge or managerial skills and position before the visa is granted. The company that requires the employee on L-1 visa is required to file the Form I-129 or Petition for a nonimmigrant worker and have to pay the applicable visa fee.

Most of the people who are transferred to US on an L-1 visa can take their immediate family with them as dependents on L-2 visa. Additionally, you can ask an immigration lawyer for assistance with filing the application for your family. The lawyer service is of immense help as they ensure that the application and visa procedures are done as per requirement while they complete the proofs and documentation, in case you are engaged elsewhere.

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