Certain foreign employees can take one of the two L1 visas and achieve nonimmigrant but legal status for working within the US. We say certain because these professionals must have specialized knowledge that is vital to the success of an organization within the US. Essentially, they are being transferred semi-permanently from one of the affiliated foreign offices of the said company. However, they can also be from a foreign firm that’s helping establish another one in the US. In either case, the employee must have critical, specialized information for L1B Visa Eligibility.
The L-1B visa offers various benefits, including there being no limitation on how many of them may be issued in a year.
L-1B Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge
When we use the term specialized knowledge, we refer to information about a product, research, service, equipment, management, or techniques. Knowing how to apply this in international markets, possessing an advanced level of expertise about how a company works, or proprietary knowledge is a must. Therefore, if you are an employee deeply familiar with the secret recipe of a company’s product or adept at one of its proprietary processes, then you may apply for an L-1B visa.
L-1B Visa Requirements
The L-1B visa is unusual in the fact that its petitioner is the US employer and not the foreign employee. However, both parties must meet the following L1B Visa Requirements to qualify:
For the Employee
They must have been a part of an organization abroad that satisfies the conditions of the visa. Their employment must have lasted for at least a whole continuous year before they apply.
Their employers already function within the US, and the employee is simply transferring to that branch from abroad.
For the Employer
To qualify, an employer who petitions for the L-1B visa must:
- Be related to a foreign company, branch, or affiliate in a way that satisfies the visa requirements
- They may do or are doing business in the US and one other country – or more while the L-1B employee remains in the US
If they are applying to have an employee transferred from outside to the branch in the US, the employer should have:
- A physical premise where the offices will be located
- The financial ability for the employee’s salary and running that business
What’s the Difference Between L-1B and L-1A?
While both visas allow foreign employees a way into the US, they differ from each other in some aspects. Those are:
- L-1A has for its candidates, executives or managers who will be starting or running a subsidiary company of the business. L-1B, on the other hand, is for other employees who come bearing specialized knowledge vital to a company’s continued or initial success
- The L-1A is valid for 7 years once it has been extended while L-1B gets an extension of five years.
- L-1A visa holders can file for permanent residency in the EB1 category, removing the need to complete Permanent Labor Certification. They may get their green cards within one year. L-1B visa holders file in the EB2 category, which doesn’t offer them the same opportunity. It may take them years to get a green card.
L-1B Application Process
The employer pays USD 325 (for the application) and 500 (as anti-fraud) and starts the application process with Form DS-160. It is submitted to the State Department online with two clear and current photographs – identical and passport sized and a copy of the US passport. Accompanying it is the Form I-129 and supporting documents about both branches of the company in question, employee’s eligibility, and their nonimmigrant visa. The employer may have to pay USD 2,250 more if they have 25 or more workers with an L-1 visa status.
They will also submit Form I-797 after the Form I-129 is approved. After that, a US consulate or embassy will issue the visa to the employee.
Faster processing requires a fee of USD 1,225, which is an optional part of the L1B Visa Cost.
L-1B Visa Benefits
The benefits allow the visa holder to remain in the US while they work and take their dependents along with them. They may choose to apply for a green card later, as well. For the employer, they have the advantage of establishing a US branch of their company.
A special provision for multinational companies frequently using the L-1 visa program, allowing them to transfer multiple employees under one approval from USCIS.
How Long Can L-1B Workers Stay?
L-1B visa holders begin with a 3-year period initially, but they can be granted an additional year, if they will be working at a new office. They can apply for a 2-year extension until they have completed their 5 years of L1B Visa Duration.
If they choose to stay longer, then the visa holders must switch to an L-1A visa. They can then stay for up to 7 years. But they must do so before exhausting 4.5 years on the L-1B visa.
What About Family Members?
Visa holders could take their spouse and children under 21 to the US. For that, the individuals must apply for an L2 Visa while in their own country. Alternatively, the L1 visa holder can petition while in the US.
In both cases, the process begins with the Form DS-160, submitted online. After paying the fees, the L2 candidates can schedule two appointments. One will result in a consular interview and the other for biometrics.
When going for the interview, they should have the bank fee receipt, the barcode stickers from forms submitted online, and other supporting documentation. On arriving in the US, they can work if they obtain the Employment Authorization Document.
Contact Attorney Eric Price Today!
The L1B Visa Process may seem straightforward at first, but missing out on any documentation can have disastrous results. Therefore, we urge you to get an attorney for a perfect submission. Eric Price has the answer to all your L1-B questions, so call him right away!