L-1B Visa, Intracompany Specialty Knowledge Employee Transfer
This category of non-immigrant visa is designed to enable U.S. companies a method to relocate its foreign employees with specialty knowledge into the U.S. to work in its facilities in the U.S. it is eligible for application of the Dual Intent Doctrine. It is also available to enable foreign companies a method to relocate its employees with specialty knowledge into the U.S. to expand their business here and work in its U.S. subsidiaries. The rotation of these key personnel is designed to have these key people impart their proprietary knowledge to U.S. employees which help foster improved business on a global basis. Business must be conducted with the regular and systematic creation of goods or services.
It may also include non-profit, religious or charitable organizations and full time employment is not required of the transferee. But the employee must devote a significant amount of its continual time to the petitioner.
Dual Intent Visa
Although a temporary visa, L-1 visa holders, while working, can apply for permanent residency (green card) simultaneously without jeopardizing their L-1 visa status.
The employer must have a qualified ongoing relationship with a foreign company in another country for the duration of the employees L-1B visa. This relationship must evidence "corporate control" as partners, subsidiaries or affiliates. Common ownership is a central necessary theme. The company need not engage in international trade. And outsourcing of the employee is prohibited.
The employee must demonstrate a body of specialized knowledge proving;
- The knowledge is critical to the employers competitiveness in its market place,
- This knowledge will contribute to the employer's knowledge of its foreign companies operating conditions,
- Its knowledge is unique to limited top level employees and gained through its experience work assignments.
Also the employee need not have a college degree. But, it must have worked overseas with that body of specialized knowledge for at least one of the three previous years prior to filing.
The application process requires that the employer file USCIS Form I-129, with all accompanying documentation and pay all required filing fees. In addition to the normal filing fees $2250 must be paid, plus a fraud prevention fee, detention fee, Border Security Act fee and possibly a Premium Processing fee. However, in some instances the $2250 is not owing. Only employers with 50 or more L-1 visa holders or 50% or more of their employees being L-1 visa holders must pay this fee. When submitting the application the employer can submit written evidence why it is not subject to this additional fee. It should then be prepared for a USCIS response with a Request For Evidence (RFE).
Duration of Stay
The visa is first granted for 1 year with a new company and 3 years with a U.S. company that has been in existence for more than 1 year. Extensions are available in 2 year increments with the total permitted stay being 5 years.
Family members can also attend on separately filed USCIS Form I-129 with similar documentation and upon paying all required filing fees.
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 can also obtain entry under L-2 visas. Spouses can work by applying for their own work authorization. Children cannot work but can attend school or college.
These visas are best applied for with competent legal counsel. We can provide such assistance and navigate the maize of USCIS requirements for you.
Export Control License
If the employee will be the recipient of information, data, software, technology or products that is controlled under federal law or by federal security the company will need to obtain a federal export control license before such items can be disseminated to the employee. Failure by the company to comply with this requirement can result in criminal fines up to a million dollars, civil fines up to 1/2 of a million dollars and imprisonment up to 20 years in a federal prison.