The primary reason L-1B visas were created was to allow workers from foreign companies to transfer to subsidiary or affiliate companies in the United States. However, they cannot be used simply to transfer employees from one company to another; an employer-employee relationship must be established between the employee and the petitioning employer. This means, among other things, that the business in the United States must have a formal affiliation with the foreign company. Both business entities must be owned by the same person or group, or one company must own at least half of the other. Considering this, if the employee applying for an L-1B visa will not be working at a company directly affiliated with the foreign company, they will not qualify.
The arrangement must also provide a service related to specialized knowledge of the petitioning employer. Specialized knowledge is loosely defined in the law, but it is defined as knowledge of a company’s product and its application in foreign markets, or an advanced level of knowledge regarding the processes and procedures of the company. The employee must have highly advanced technical expertise or understand the products, services, organizational makeup, marketing strategies, and other unique knowledge regarding the operation of the company. Finally, the knowledge must be narrowly held by key personnel within the company, require unusual knowledge beyond that of a skilled worker, and it must be knowledge that isn’t attainable during a short period of time. It’s also a requirement that the employee be employed at the foreign division of a company and performs duties requiring the specialized knowledge for at least three years before applying for the L-1B visa. If you require assistance in obtaining an L-1B visa based on specialized knowledge, contact us today for a free assessment of your immigration options.