The United States is one of the most common destinations where foreign employees are transferred, but before they can enter the country, they will need a temporary work visa. An L-1B visa is reserved for foreign employees with specialized knowledge. Applying for one is a tedious process and should not be done without the help of an attorney. An L-1B may be a temporary visa, but it doesn’t make securing one easy. Like any other visa, there is a grueling process you and your employer will need to go through. The Gonzalez Law Group is committed to helping foreign citizens obtain the visa they desire.
The United States immigration process is convoluted and should be gone through with the help of an experienced immigration attorney. The immigration department at The Gonzalez Law Group will take all the necessary steps to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. The Gonzalez Law Group assist clients with immigration issues in communities across Harris County including Houston, Pearland, Webster, Channel View, and Pasadena. Call (832) 530-4070 to speak with the immigration attorneys at our firm today.
What is an L-1B Visa?
An L-1B visa is a nonimmigrant work visa that allows a United States employer to transfer an employee with specialized knowledge from an affiliated foreign office to an office in the U.S. Before a foreign employee can be transferred to the states; their employer must qualify for an L-1. To be eligible for an L-1, an employer must:
- Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company such as a parent company, branch, or affiliate.
- Currently be, or plan to, do business as an employer in the United States and at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization.
Once your employer qualifies for an L-1, you can petition for an L-1B visa. Before an application for the visa is approved, certain requirements need to be met. For starters, you are required to have worked for the L-1 company abroad for at least a year and possess specialized knowledge. An in-depth explanation of specialized knowledge can be found in the section below.
How long you are eligible to stay in the states is determined by the reason the L-1 company brought you to the country. If you were brought to the United States to establish a new office, you would be granted an initial stay of one year. If you were transferred to the country to work for an established company, you would be allowed a maximum initial stay for three years.
All L-1B employees are eligible to stay in the U.S for up to five years.
What is Specialized Knowledge?
The primary qualification for an intracompany transfer L-1B visa is the possession of specialized knowledge. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, specialized knowledge is an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in an organization’s procedures and processes. It also includes advanced knowledge of the petitioning organization’s products, techniques, management, service, equipment, and other interest in the international market.
To be considered an employee with specialized knowledge, you must possess more skills or knowledge than an ordinary employee. Your skills must be distinct and uncommon compared to what is generally found in your profession.
When you apply for an L-1B, you will be required to provide evidence of your specialized knowledge. You can provide whatever you choose, but statements without documentary evidence will not suffice. Sufficient evidence can include payroll records, resumes, documentation of education, and training that shows how long you’ve used or developed the skills.
L-1B to Green Card
One of the first steps many foreign professionals take in obtaining a green card is applying for a nonimmigrant visa such as an L-1B. Doing so creates the perfect platform for receiving a green card. The process you’ll have to go through is a bit different than the normal naturalization process.
As an L-1B visa holder, you will have to apply for both a labor certificate and a green card under the E2B program. This process is significantly longer than the standard EB1 process and will require your employer to prove there is no other worker in the United States qualified to fill your position. If you plan to apply for a green card in the United States, you should contact The Gonzalez Law Group.
Additional Resources for L-1B Intracompany Specialized
L-1B Intracompany Transferee | U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services – Follow this link to find more information about L-1B visas. You can learn about what an employer is required to prove before opening a new office in the states and if family members can enter the country. The information can be found on the official website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
L Visas – Visit the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services website to learn about the L visa application process. You can find out how to apply, what happens after you apply and the required forms and fees. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is a department of the country’s homeland security that handles immigration and naturalization.
Contact a Harris County Immigration Lawyer
If you are considering applying for an L-1B visa, you should contact The Gonzalez Law Group. We understand how important coming to the United States is to your career; that is why we want to help. The immigration department at our firm has helped many clients successfully obtain a visa, and we will do what we can to help you. Let us guide you through this complicated process. Call (832) 530-4070 or submit your information in the online contact form. We assist clients with immigration issues across Harris County.