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L-1B Intracompany Transferee Visa for Employees With Specialized Knowledge

The L-1B visa permits a U.S. employer to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge from one of its foreign offices to one of its U.S. offices.  There is also the option for a foreign company that does not yet have an office in the U.S. to send an employee with specialized knowledge to the states to help establish a U.S. office.  Both the employer and employee must meet certain qualification requirements:

1. To qualify for L-1B classification in this category, the EMPLOYER must:

  1. Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate, collectively referred to as qualifying organizations); and

  2. Currently be, or will be, doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States as an L-1.  While the business must be viable, there is no requirement that it be engaged in international trade.

Doing business means the regular, systematic, and continuous provision of goods and/or services by a qualifying organization and does not include the mere presence of an agent or office of the qualifying organization in the United States and abroad.

2. To qualify, the EMPLOYEE must also:

  1. Generally have been working for a qualifying organization abroad for one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding his or her admission to the United States; and

  2. Be seeking to enter the United States to provide services in a specialized knowledge capacity to a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations

Specialized knowledge means either special knowledge possessed by an individual of the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures (See 8 CFR 214.2(l)(1)(ii)(D)).

Length of Stay

If an employee does qualify for and is granted an L-1B visa, he or she will be granted a maximum initial stay of 1-3 years: one year is granted if an employee is coming to the U.S. to help establish a new office, and three years are available for all other qualified employees.  Extensions may be granted in increments of up to two years, until the employee has reached the maximum limit of five years.

Family of L-1B Visa Holders

Spouses and children under 21 years of age may accompany their L-1B visa holder to the US.  Such family members can apply for status under an L-2 nonimmigrant visa and are usually granted the same period of stay as the L-1B employee. Family members that are already in the U.S. may also apply for a change of status or extension under the L-2 visa.  Furthermore, spouses of L-1B workers may apply for work authorization with Form I-765.


To find out if you qualify for the L-1B visa, and how to complete an application, schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation with The Grady Firm’s attorneys; call +1 (949) 798-6298; or fill out a Contact Request Form.


About The Grady Firm

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*This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. This article does not make any guarantees as to the outcome of a particular matter, as each matter has its own set of circumstances and must be evaluated individually by a licensed attorney.


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