What is an L-1B Visa and Who Qualifies?
An L-1B is a visa is for a foreign worker coming to the US to perform services in as a worker applying specialized knowledge for a US branch of a multinational company. In the broadest terms, the petitioner must establish i) that it is a qualified organization, and ii) that the worker is occupation requires the application of “specialized knowledge.”
An organization is qualified if it is a US affiliate, parent or subsidiary of a foreign business entity. The terms “affiliate,” “parent,” and “subsidiary” are defined by immigration regulations, and not by their generic meaning. There are additional documentary requirements which the organization must meet if it is a “new office” which has been functioning for less than one year. Some of these additional documentary requirements include production of a business plan and proof of sufficient premises to house new offices.
A worker is qualified for the L-1B visa if the person has worked for the foreign counterpart of the US organization for at least one of the past three years in a “specialized knowledge” capacity. The term specialized knowledge is very different from “specialty” as defined by immigration laws related to H-1B. Specialized knowledge, as defined by immigration laws, can generally be understood as being synonymous with proprietary — something unique about the petitioning employer’s product, service, or management style, for example. This classification was created for companies which require unique in-house training not readily available in the American job applicant pool.