The L-1B non-immigrant category is used by individuals who have been employed continuously abroad, in a specialized knowledge position, for at least one continuous year out of the last three years by a parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of a U.S. company preceding the application for admission to the U.S. This category, like the L-1A, is complex, as there are multiple issues to consider, which include what constitutes a qualifying organization and who is considered to possess specialized knowledge.
It’s no secret that the L-1B petitions have started to be scrutinized very closely by USCIS within the last several years. The focus of inquiry by USCIS is typically on whether or not the candidate truly has a specialized knowledge about the company and its products and processes, and/or whether the position is a specialized knowledge role. USCIS has concluded that this category should be used for an organization’s key employees and not simply for those who are “skilled workers”. As such, the cases must be evaluated very carefully prior to filing to make sure that the candidate’s qualifications are truly L-1B worthy. The attorneys at ZE have significant experience in evaluating and preparing L-1B cases.
Like the L-1A, the L-1B can be approved for an initial period of up to three (3) years. Unlike the L-1A, it can only be renewed one time for a two year period (although, different rules apply to individuals being transferred to new offices). As with the L-1A visa, the dependents of an L-1B beneficiary are eligible for the L-2 dependent visa. Spouses of L-1B’s are eligible to apply for work authorization.
Additionally, an L-1B beneficiary may apply for permanent residence while working in the United States. As most of you are likely aware, the green card process can be a lengthy one for an L-1B candidate. This can be a serious issue, as L-1B status cannot be extended past the five (5) year limit. If you are interested in staying in the U.S. permanently, the PERM process should be started once you’ve decided you’d like to stay in the U.S. permanently. In fact, some of our clients who enter on an L-1B visa change their status to H-1B... since the authorized period of stay in H status can, in some cases, be extended while the green card process is in motion.
If you have any questions concerning this visa or require our assistance, please contact our office at info@ZElaw.com